Community Building January 16, 2021

A very simple community platform


Hi all! I wanted to share the progress I've been making putting together a very simple community platform.

My background is offline/online (mostly online these days!) communities, I've been building/working with a few for about 7 years now - is the big one. We've been through a bunch of community platforms over the years - right now we primarily use Slack + Mighty Networks, alongside more one-way communication tools.

I like MN, but I've had a lot of feedback from our community that they really dislike the interface - in fact they much preferred using Google Groups which we used for ~5 years before. I tried to get to the bottom of why, and it feels like there's two things:

  1. I think MN (and many modern community platforms) have borrow much of their design from existing social networks - creating a bit of a feature heavy/information overload + an attempt at infinite scroll.
  2. They felt like every interaction with MN is pushing them towards the platform (IE click on this link to get the full info!) - great for our MAUs, not so much for their experience. Their preference was to get as much information as possible to their inbox, without being overloaded by emails.

So I did what I think many of you might do, and built my own tool. It's primarily built for smaller communities like ours (in the hundreds, not thousands) and is effectively a discussion, events, profiles, and the ability to create smaller, niche groups. I wanted our community to be able to see everything that is going on within one screen, and get relevant info direct to their inboxes.

Still very much in beta - I'd love any feedback. If you want to join a dummy community, you can sign up here, and if you send me any feedback I've got a handful 50% off for life vouchers I can send you.

Edit: I should add, you'll need to register via a real email address - there's an approval system for each Set to help community managers make sure the right people are joining, and you get your confirmation to your inbox.

Thank you!

  1. 1

    I'm really liking the minimalistic look of the platform. Is there a writeup on the build of it? How long did it take to get the platform to beta? Well done @oliphant

    1. 1

      Thank you! The design definitely still needs a bunch of work, but I have a designer waiting for the first bit of revenue to bring in and smarten it up.

      I haven't done a write up, but I started in November. I have a full time job so it was mostly evenings and weekends, and a bit of a burst of activity over Christmas. I built it in the NoCode tool Bubble, and am going to put out a more general my-experience-of-nocode-mvps blog post in the next few days.

  2. 1

    I really like the simplicity of this. It looks very good.

    1. 2

      Simple is what I'm going for, so thanks!

  3. 1

    Looks interesting!
    Just created AnimationCPU community
    Improve color theme and fonts, thanks :)

    1. 2

      Excellent, thank you! I think I want to keep it mostly black and white, but I think I might add a few colours for people to pick the highlight colour from (kind of like Twitter I suppose).

      1. 1

        Yeah, dark and light mode looks good :)

  4. 1

    looks so good! very cool.

  5. 1

    I think it's great. I'm going to spend some time playing around with it! Just signed up and created a set (cybersecuritycareers). Great work!

    1. 1

      Nice! Let me know if you have any questions :)

  6. 1

    Hey there! Congratulation on making simple. If there's anything I've learned building, it's that a community is all about the people within it. The tool, as fancy as they are, are secondary.


    1. 1

      Yes! I love it - super simple, can see what's going on in a few seconds.

  7. 1

    Hey very interesting idea. There's definitely lack of community tools in general.

    Also would love to connect and learn more about your experience of community management offline and online!

    1. 1

      Hey, absolutely - send me an email! Happy to chat.

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