Helpful tips, processes and useful tools I have used in creating and managing a community of over 2,400+ African software design, development and delivery experts/enthusiasts.
Creating and Managing an
Engaged Online Slack
By Osioke Itseuwa
Community Manager, Devcenter
a distributed community of software developers, designers and
PMs across Africa, helping clients build world class software.
Hello, I am Osioke Onoarue Oarue-Itseuwa
● Street Photographer (see https://instagram.com/ganinigeria)
● Life Hacker (see https://spracks.com)
● Explorer (see https://blog.ganinigeria.com)
● Open source lover
In one sentence: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I am Jack.
Me exploring and having fun
Street photographs and
pictures of places I explored
My Community history
2009: Member of the defunct FOSS NG, Founder of the defunct OpenIT
2013: NYSC IT trainer.
2014/2015: Google Local Guide community lead, Open source project community
lead (States & Cities and later Disease Info).
2016/2017: Community manager Devcenter Square, Together with Google
Developer program, and a GitHub Super Fan.
Community focus: Devcenter Square
400+ people talking weekly,
750+ people active weekly,
Screenshot of the Slack
Screenshot of Nov 2017
stats for the Slack
Screenshot of all time stats
for the Slack community
In one sentence: Make your community comfortable.
● Create code of conduct, guides and community docs
○ After creating them, make them very easy to be seen by members. Slackbot
mentions and pinned messages are a good way to help members find these
● Discussions and chats arranged into different channels
○ Multiple channels for different topics helps arrange the content and makes it
easier to read when more people start to talk.
○ It helps reduce a long thread of messages on different topics (which translate to
cluttered information or noise), to arranged information in curated channels on
each topic. This makes following discussions and reading becomes easier.
Starting Out ...
● Moderation should be on fleek
○ DO NOT JOKE WITH MODERATION. Moderation through artful curation and
diplomacy helps reduce noise.
● In the early days, welcoming new join ins, personally. Try to do it from time to time
even as the community goes larger.
○ It helps them bond in faster, and makes them fill more settled.
● Watch out for cross posters, spam, trolling, teasing or bullying. DO NOT ALLOW ANY
OF THESE, NO MATTER HOW SMALL. A little drops of water make a mighty ocean.
In one sentence: Help members learn and connect
● Help members know how to partake in the community properly
○ Build the community culture by being a good example through your
interactions in the community
○ Carefully select the first members who would have the characteristics you
would want the whole community to have
○ Create a norm/culture document to help members see the culture code and
keep to it. Slackbot mentions and pinned messages are a good way to help
members find these documents
Creating Engagement ...
● Create and strengthen member’s bonds. Members’ connections and bonds create
the connections that define a community.
○ Host live online events, as well as offline physical events. Nothing builds bonds
faster than 1 on 1 interactions, and when they happen in person, they are
○ Become friends with the members, so when you invite them for events, or ask
for their help to answer a question in the main channel, volunteer for events
and the likes, they see it as their friend asking them, and not the community
Creating Engagement ...
● Learn/find out the topic/interest your community members are most passionate
○ Communities are a meeting of individuals who connect over an interest or topic
they all like. Knowing the topics, curating and sharing content around this topic
will create discussions.
● Start the initial conversations
○ People are naturally shy in a new environment, seeing others talk helps them
see how to talk and know it is safe and okay to engage
● Mention members in topics or discussions you know they can join in on. This notifies
and invites. It also makes them feel more comfortable joining in on the discussion.
But do not over do this, do it with members you have formed a connection with, so
you do not appear intrusive.
Tools for Slack
○ When conversations go above 10k (and they will), Slarck’s integration helps
view archived messages
○ Most of the important information shared are usually links. Paperbot arranges
links shared in a beautiful and easy to read way.
○ There are a lot of zaps (automated scripts/tasks) that help. Like my personal
favourite, sending a new member a DM. It is helpful in onboarding new sign
● Posts and Text Snippets
○ Slack has an inbuilt docs and editor, use them to share and keep important
messages like Guidelines. They make reading in Slack easier.
Tips and Resources
● Join other online communities, study them, be active in them, and learn from them.
E.g. Feverbee (experts.feverbee.com), CMX Hub on Slack and Facebook
(cmxslack.github.io), Buffer on Slack (buffer.com/slack), Devcenter Square
● Read and research a lot. Favourite places to go to: Feverbee.com, Community
Management videos and Talks by Dan Franc, CMX Hub (cmxhub.com).
○ Books: Hooked by Nir Eyal & Platform Revolution by Geoffrey Parker
Tips & Resources
● Understand a little of User Experience design, how people behave (behavioral
psychology), product design and people management. It will help you create better
processes for your members.
○ Sign up for hackdesign.org’s class
○ Read through productpsychology.com and nirandfar.com
○ Play Interland on beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com to better understand
internet bullying and how bad it can be. Also read through the resources
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