Enticing new members

DaveK's picture

I want to capture two ideas that I think would help us get new members. One of mine was to reduce the number of critiques needed before a new member could submit a story. This would only be for the first submission and would be limited in time until we build up the membership.

Another idea, but I forget whose, is to allow non members to read this forum (or parts of it, keep some secrets to lure them in) but not to post.

Finally, for those of you who remember, how did you find SFWW and what enticed you to join?

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Re:Enticing new members

Reducing the number of crits isn't a bad idea. Just have people do one and then they can put one in the queue. This is basically how Critters works.

I looked into having "guest" reading privileges for the forum. I couldn't see how but I didn't have much time to look at it. I will look some more, however I'm not crazy about the idea. I like the idea of the forum being for members eyes only.

I found the group through the website, but I was motivated enough to look around. I found Critters but it was too impersonal. I found some others but they met locally, not over the net. SFWW looked more for me. Then the contact links on the website were all busted so I had to be persistent.

So here is a radical thought... how badly do we want new members?

I favor a small and active core. Most of the members we have now don't send stories or do crits. As several of us have commented, it's the same 6 or 8 people that do it all.

I figure if the website is updated regularly and shows the promise of an active and helpful group, the right people will find it. We don't need to go recruiting. It's free to join, after all. If they join and don't like what they see, they can leave.

I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.

camidon's picture

New members

Having been around when there was lots of participation, I have to say, I would rather be able to submit somthing say, once every 3-4 months, then only receive 1-3 critiques on a given submission. Many different viewpoints about a specific story, to me, is more important than a narrow viewpoint on many stories. Along with this, there are people who would not be happy with even 6-8 crits s and thus would not stay in the group
Second, I really miss our old structured chats where we discussed a particular story in a contolled chat format. Chats about a story submission were one of the most useful aspects of the group when I was first starting, um, like six years ago. To have these, we need more members.

This is not to say that I don't like the small niche that's formed within the group. I do. To those involved, it creates a great feeling of ownership and belonging, but to those that are not, it may drive them further away. Also, when a few of that core group get busy, then suddenly the critiques plummet, as they have recently. I can deal with 4-6 critiques happily. 1-3 is bordering on a waste of my effort, when I get so little effort back.

Another radical thought is this: A handful of us can always spin off and form a smaller group within the large group. In this manner SFWW could once again have many, many members, utilize the chats, the large base of critique responses (I'm talking 15-25) and cater to anyone and everyone, but then a handful of dedicated core members, this niche, could still get feedback from one another once a month or so on anything. Say five people. Heck, this could even be a selling point, if we had a couple of small groups... Just braistorming here though. I'm not advocating rebelling...

In my opinion, the most important thing is to get the website backup and give it some time. If after two months or so, we haven't had success at generating new members, then lets think about 1) changing the critique schedule, and 2) Doing more publicity around the web (getting our group more visible)

As to my opinion about the board: I see merits in keeping in just to members. If, however, after the reconstruction of our website we don't get new faces, then we should lool at opening the discussion board to nonmembers (without posts allowed), if possible.

>>Then the contact links on the website were all busted so I had to be persistent.
Finally, this statement speaks volumes to our current lack of new faces. Your immediate involvement with the group, creation of the discussion board and quality of crits and subs, attests to your determination to join. Most people wouldn't have this. To those less confident, which I would say is the majority joining, a bum link would spell doom to having them join.

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Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.