Posted by: Andrew Hemingway | November 23, 2009

Your Community is getting Fat!!

OK…in the spirit of the upcoming holiday I thought a post about Fat would be appropriate. As millions of Americans prepare to gorge themselves I think this is a good time to evaluate your community.

Is your community fat? What is a fat community? A fat community is easily identifiable as such by several things like:

  1. More non active members on the book than active members– It is the battle for many communities to keep members on the books, but it makes your community fat. You have thousands of users  in case management asks, but in reality you have very few active users. I like to keep my numbers trim, and to actively pursue those members that have joined but are no longer active. Many times these members will come back and be active, and you can clean up the list if they are no longer interested. Knowing the real numbers will be critical to your success as a CM.
  2. Lots of dead threads– Clean up your threads. Do not make members wade through thousands of dead threads just to get to the live ones. Many times it is only the experienced members that really know where things are happening, and this should not be! New members should be instructed on where to find the most active threads, and encouraged to participate.
  3. Lots of “lurkers” and not enough members– You know how many people are lurking right? If not click here. Ok…now you know how many lurkers there are at your site, and you know how many members you have in your community. SO…how do the numbers compare? So you have loads more lurkers than members? To have more lurkers is to be expected, but to have this to the extreme is a bad sign of your communities health. Why are these lurkers not converting and becoming members? You need to find out and you need to do it fast. Not sure how to find out? Click here to find out.

Is your community fat?? Deal with it this week and your holiday will be much more enjoyable.



  1. Hi Andrew. Hope you are recovering from turkey-overload!

    I don’t believe lurkers are a sign of a communities ill-health (although link wouldn’t work, not sure what % you mention!). Lurkers still read and consume your content, and possibly recommend the site/products etc to others. They can be valuable connectors/influencers in the ‘real world’. It’s worth trying to convert them of course, but it’s not always possible to do so!

    • Alison,

      I thank you for your comments. You are right, lurkers do have value, what I was getting at was a disproportionate number of lurkers to members. I think this is a bad sign. Do you not see it that way?

      Thanks for your comments, and would love to talk more about this.


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