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:
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.