Within a very short time the membership shot up to 1500, we had controversies and there were spin off groups who started their own versions. People began discussing research projects involving the issues here. This was all brand new stuff to discuss. It was the hot topic of the day. Within a month after I started this there were four more LJ communities created on the subject.
At that time, one hot topic was the emergence of pro-anorexia communities. Six years later a book has been published examining this issue in depth - The Medicalization of Cyberspace. This community was the catalyst but the discussion has expanded to eclipse this modest forum. It now permeates mainstream media.
While I have diverse interests including a background in crisis and suicide intervention as well as extensive studies in the mechanics and effects of neurochemistry on behavior, one of my main interests in starting this community was the management and building of such communities. Most online communities are started and run by people who have zero knowledge or experience in people management or community building. They manage mostly by kneejerk and often make a mess of it.
However, there are clear things you can do to create an environment that nurtures and encourages useful discussion. In fact there are now companies that professionally manage online communities. I have watched the growth of this with interest over the 20+ years I have been building and managing online communities.
I know there are other community managers and owners in this group. What do you think of the growth of online communities, big and small, as an industry? What issues do you think are most important in community management. What methods work best in growing a community membership? It seems as though FaceBook is dominating this media at the moment. What are they doing right and what is everyone else doing wrong?