OJR's Robert Niles on "fake grassroots"
“If you build it, and don’t staff it, at best, a few wackos will show”, writes Online Journalism Review editor Robert Niles. Again, a sane voice pointing to the importance of guidance, leadership and dialogue in media (“new” or “old”) forums and blogs.
The most successful and profitable community websites demand every bit as much work as goes into producing a daily newspaper of similar income. Readers do not long contribute smart copy to a website for free without substantial encouragement, guidance and affirmation. A site template and comment algorithm won’t provide that. A community website needs people, leaders who can find the most knowledgeable sources, ask the right questions and elicit thoughtful responses.
Niles also points to an old post by K Paul Mallasch on “growing an Internet garden” on community building. Well worth a read.