Modern Community Platform - Still a need?

Hi fellow founders 👋
I have always loved building communities (online-offline hybrids). Bringing people with the same interests together and participating in these long and motivating discussions and sharing knowledge.
I mostly built communities of founders to share learnings, around Meetups and for coworking-spaces I used to work for. But I was always dissatisfied with the technical solutions in the market. Some were too chat-based (e.g. Slack, Mattermost,..) and lack content/knowledge- and event-features, some were too event-oriented and lack community features (e.g. Meetup) and some started with a pricing model that is not affordable for people who just started their community and don't know if the community will grow (e.g. Circle).
So now I am thinking about building my own platform with an commercial open source model that allows anyone to build communities around the topics they care about, with other people who share the same interests and passions. Let them discuss questions, search member directory for interesting people to connect with, build knowledge-bases together, integrate their events and also allow different membership-levels and maybe even paid membership-levels.

What do you think? Have you faced similar problems? What community-tools are you using that I maybe have missed?

  1. 3

    The biggest problem I run into with using Slack for my community platform is losing valuable product team / customer research discussions. Whether that's due to the message limit or chats not having enough context to be able to search for, it's a problem that I haven't seen addressed. It's something @jasonforrest and I are actually working on with Inter we just launched the first community on PH yesterday called Freelancer News if you want to check out a demo. Happy to show you around as well.

  2. 2

    I have purchased both tribe.so and peerboard.com LTDs because of their promise to provide in-app embedded experience. I wanted to allow the communication to happen inside my web application.
    In practice, both of them did not meet this specific expectation and do not seem to continue development in this direction over the little that they provide.
    From looking at the pace of development on both, and the feedback that they both get from users, I guess it's very hard to build a decent community platform that will even meet the baseline of what people expect as basic service (MVP if you will).
    If you aim to build it, just know that this is not a small side project. It's more long term all-in kind of project.
    One of the hardest things with all of the platforms, as you probably know, is not related to the platform at all. It's actually building a thriving community. If you manage to build a service that actually help people building communities, no matter the technical infrastructure, I think you can have great success. I have no idea how to do it, but I know it's much needed 😉

    1. 1

      Hey, did you try to implement discourse or flarum inside your web application?

      1. 1

        I haven't heard of Flarum, and I think discourse didn't seem to be embeddable

    2. 1

      thanks a lot for you thoughts and the feedback regarding the existing platforms. I think for my needs, maybe tribe.so could work; I will try to use it for one of my communities and test how it works.
      I think you are also right about the MVP - it's hard to find one single feature that solves the problem with current platforms. If you transfer your users into a new platform, it needs a lot of features.
      And also engagement of the members which leads to an active community is a good point here. there are so many inactive slack communities I am in and introducing yet another tool could make it even worse.

  3. 1

    Hi. I've been looking for a platform that supports tiered access but have not found any. I would like a platform that allows users to sign-up at different paid levels and be able to view & interact only with users at their level or below. Do you know of any platform or have any thoughts on this.

    1. 1

      what’s your community about? how big is it?
      maybe circle.so could work for that. or is there a feature you are missing?

      1. 1

        Maybe all is doable with circle but requires effort to integrate no? If I'm using a platform I would like basic stuff like payments and authentication to be baked in.

        1. 1

          I don't understand why building communities are so expensive

          1. 2

            technically, it's always been free

Trending on Indie Hackers
I will promote your startup to 50K+ people 70 comments I made Session, a productivity timer that makes $5K/month in net profit, AMA! 27 comments I built an NFT Guide site. Feedback welcome! 17 comments I'm Rich Tabor — creator of CoBlocks & ThemeBeans (both sold to GoDaddy), and other products in the WordPress space. AMA! 11 comments Only 30 days! We finished a great Etsy products research tool 10 comments #1 on Product Hunt with an open-source project 8 comments