Captain's log, stardate d590.y39/AB
We have been running an online community for entrepreneurs and tech people in Barcelona since 2015, called Startups BCN. We are applying a few changes from now onwards that you should know.
In 2015, we decided to launch a community of friends of MarsBased and like-minded companies.
We wanted to keep a direct communication channel with our friends and colleagues from the industry, and also with people we met at our monthly Startup Grind Barcelona events. There was no reason to speak only once a month. We could continue the conversations that started in the events on an online community built on Slack.
We piggybacked on Slack because it was trendy but also because it was free and it covered 80% of our needs. We had a bunch of people joining in. First, 20 users, then 50, then we grew to a hundred and nowadays we've got more than 2000 registered users.
Even though only a fraction of them are active, as it happens with every online community, we still find it comfortable and convenient to remain on Slack. We've analysed Telegram and Discord, among other options, but the benefits don't outweigh the cost of switching.
As of the beginning of 2020, we felt an abrupt increase in spammers joining the community just to mass post their job openings or offer their services. Spam is explicitly prohibited in the code of conduct of this community, but most people never read the codes of conduct, and spammers don't give a motherfucking flying fuck.
The first change rolled out is a one-off fee of 99 euro for new members, so that only truly committed people will join the community. Existing members won't be charged and they have their membership for life for free, for helping us to keep this community alive for many years.
New members will have to pay the price of joining the party when this has already been going for years.
Part of the money collected via this one-off fee will be donated to charity through Stripe's partnerships with global charities.
New spammers will be prevented, most likely, with the one-off fee, but there might be a few dormant in there. If they ever wake up and start polluting our channels with crap, we will have to apply the strictest measures with them and boot them into outer space.
Also, we have been enforcing some rules like not posting the same content in multiple channels, which even well-behavioured people do. Put simply, people will have to abide by the code of conduct and we will make it even more explicit and visible to everyone.
The one-off fee will also be used to pay for content and a new profile to help us to moderate the community.
We're also working with more integrations to pull content from local publications such as Barcinno and other newsletters, like Startup Digest, to provide more value to our members.
We're working on bringing other communities to join us online with dedicated channels and try to aggregate more people on our platform, so we can profit from mode nodes in the network, and thus be able to attract even more interesting profiles.
Expect more dynamics with offline communities, covid permitting, in the coming months, such as networking events or all-hands sessions offline over some refreshments & good food.
Open to feedback & suggestions
And, of course, we are (and have always been) open to hearing new suggestions to improve the community. Be it changes to the signup process, new channels, integration of certain bots or apps, inviting some key people into the community or what have you. Kindly contact us and we will make them happen!
If you're interested, join us at https://startups.barcelona.