Launched the thruhikes forum and got 26 members :)

thruhikes.net is a collection of long-distance hikes around the world. when I shared it on Hacker News, it got to the top of the page and I got a LOT of traffic as a result. Over a hundred people emailed me - people who love hiking - and I ended up having many conversations with them via email.

It was great to connect to so many on a personal level, especially over a topic that I'm passionate about.

I decided that I wanted to turn this into a community, but it had to have the following features:

  • Small (for things to stay personal and intimate)
  • Supportive (many hiking forums can end up being a group of people on ego trips)
  • Slow growing (this might sound counter-intuitive, but I believe that a good way to keep things personal and build a strong community identity is to cap growth)

Over a couple of days, I created forum.thruhikes.com (using Discourse - thank you to those who recommended it on here). I updated the settings to make it invite-only so that I could control growth and vet potential members. I invited all of those who emailed me and out of 102 people, 26 joined :)

My plan for the next month is to seed the forum with interesting topics, further get to know new members and invite 2-3 new members per week.

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    Also big shout out to @adriaanb from our very own IH community who has been very helpful and supportive :)

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      Thanks, @oguzcanhuner! Looking forward to starting planning my new hike on the forum. Nice to have a place to share and get inspired.

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    Very cool! Thank you for sharing this, @oguzcanhuner. I'm planning a thru hike of the Colorado trail right now and definitely will check this out.

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      Thank you @bobburch! That's awesome! When are you planning on doing it? We're locked down right now but I'm hoping to go on the West Highland Way (in Scotland) in April :)

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    It looks very nice, congrats! What stack did you use to develop the website?

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      Thanks! thruhikes.net is built with NextJS and deployed on Vercel. There's no backend and all of the hike data is in one json file.

      forum.thruhikes.net is using Discourse and is deployed on Digital Ocean (who have a handy guide to get it set up on there)

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