Setting up Discussions
Customize your guidelines
You may already have community policies outlined on a wiki page. Discussions has its own guidelines page where you can call out these same policies or outline Discussions-specific guidelines.
Users will see an announcement about the guidelines the first time they open Discussions in a community app or the first time they post on the web. Discussions are enabled with a default set of guidelines which can be updated at any time by admins. When you customize them, keep in mind:
- The dynamics, tone, and userbase on Discussions may be different from other areas of the community. Some rules that apply to your wiki editors may not apply on Discussions, and vice versa.
- Keep your guidelines as short and to-the-point as you can. This will help ensure users read them all!
- If you find that specific issues keep occurring in Discussions, update your guidelines accordingly. For example, if users start conversations on the same topic repeatedly, you might choose to restrict that topic; or you might add a spoiler policy if spoilers become an issue.
- Many Discussions users may be app-users only and not familiar with the policies and customs of your wider community. Ensure your Discussions guidelines can be read as a completely independent document since many of your readers will not know your wiki rules.
Check out these Discussions guidelines as examples:
Create Discussion categories
If your community covers a range of topics, such as a videogame with several installments, or a franchise with both a show/movie and comic series, you may want to set up categories for the Discussions. Categories are most helpful when your community reaches a high level of activity as they allow users to find the conversations that are most interesting to them.
- The maximum number of categories you can set up is 10 - but it’s better to stick to as few as possible. The more categories there are, and the narrower they are, the harder it will be for your users to pick the right one when they start a conversation.
- The "General" category is your community’s default category and can’t be deleted. If you choose to use only one category for your community, users will not see the category filters or the category selector. When they create posts, the default "General" category will be selected for them.
- Adapt your categories to the most popular topics being discussed. For example, if you notice lots of conversations pit one character against another in a hypothetical fight, a category "Character vs. Character" might be useful.
- Pick a short, clear name. A category name must be 20 characters or fewer, and it should be obvious to users what kinds of posts they can expect in that category.
Help users find Discussions
If your community has an app, users will see a prominent link to Discussions right in the app. To make sure users on desktop and mobile browsers find it easily, too, you can
- add a link to Discussions to your community’s top navigation
- add an element to your main page that encourages users to visit Discussions
- add a link to Discussions anywhere else you’d like on your wiki!
Get people talking
Giving your Discussions a cool look, sensible guidelines, and useful categories is only part of what will make it a great addition to your community. You’ll want users to return often, have great conversations and lots of fun in this space. You can help them along by following these simple community management principles.
Lead with good content
Users will be more likely to stay and contribute if they see great discussions the first time they arrive. Lead by example with some great content and show them what kind of conversations you welcome on your community. Don’t know how to start? These tips may help:
- Bring up topics you know other fans will want to talk about. This includes news about your fandom, fan theories, controversial plot twists, speculations, game tips, in-game curiosities discovered, etc.
- Post regularly. The more often you contribute something interesting yourself, the more others will as well.
- Establish regular topics or activities that users will know to look and come back for. For example, you can make Friday trivia day where you post a quiz related to your fandom.
- Post questions, not statements. By prompting users to give their thoughts on a topic, rather than posting a fact, you’ll invite more responses. For example, rather than posting "I just saw the latest episode and can’t wait for the next one", ask "What did you think of that cliffhanger?"
- Reply and upvote! Just as you’d like others to appreciate good content, give upvotes to the kinds of posts you’d like to see more of and keep conversations going by adding responses yourself.
- Experiment with different topics, times of posting, posting length and other variables to find out what resonates the most with your users.
By adding great content yourself, you can prompt users to keep coming back and contribute. Soon they’ll follow your example and fill Discussions with fun conversations and new ideas. You don’t have to do too much of the posting yourself, but you may want to be more involved at the beginning to get the ball rolling. Once things are going, you’ll witness Discussions becoming a key area for your community members to exchange ideas!
The more active your Discussions community grows, the likelier you’ll also see the occasional troll or spammer. However, moderating Discussions works a little differently than moderating other parts of the community. Here are some tips on making sure things run smoothly.
- Familiarize yourself with the moderation tools available: admin and moderator tools
Remember that you can filter all content by reported posts only - that will make it easier to spot the content and users that need attention.
- Keep in mind that Discussions posts don’t show in Wiki Activity or Recent Changes, so you and your moderators will need to check for signs of trouble directly in Discussions.
Even when your community is small and the volume of posts is low, it’s a good idea to have several moderators keeping an eye on Discussions - the faster bad posts are spotted and removed, the fewer problems they will cause. When looking for moderator candidates:
- Consider promoting active Discussions users into your team of moderators. Someone who is already very active there will have no extra work in checking in regularly.
- Take note of users who report bad posts frequently. That’s a sign they care about the community, know the rules, and have an eye for what’s good and what’s bad content.
- Don’t worry if you only see your desired moderator candidate in Discussions, and they don’t edit articles. Especially if your community has an app, you might find many users who contribute exclusively from their phones, where they are not likely to edit. They can still be great moderators.
We hope these tips will help you make Discussions a place in your community where users have lots of fun and share great ideas with each other.
Global Discussions moderators
If you are having problems looking for good moderator candidates, educating Discussions and Community App users about the nature of the wiki community and collaborative editing, moderating or categorizing Discussions, you could request help from Global Discussions moderators. The focus of the Global Discussions moderators is on community management, community building and social concerns within the Discussions feature specifically.
Further help and feedback
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