Reputation Building in Online Communities

In Characteristics of Successful Online Communities, Andrew Cohen has written some very interesting guidelines for successful online communities. He emphasizes the need to plan for success, make people feel at home, rule with benevolence, encourage personal relationships, and facilitate reputation building. I found reputation building to be the most interesting of all his guidelines. I traditionally think of reputation building as something a company would do, but Cohen is talking about allowing community members to build their reputations within the community. When frequent and high quality participation is acknowledged, not only is the community as a whole bolstered, but individual community members develop and build strong reputations within the community. Cohen suggests several ways to do this. Frequent participation can be rewarded with a virtual ribbon once a community member reaches a threshold. Active participants can be publicly acknowledged by featuring them in a spotlight or by interviewing them. Finally, allowing community members to rate postings and comments rewards quality, and members with high ratings can be given more privileges within the community.


One comment

  1. andrewhernandez80

    Hi Ann,
    What a great post and great summary of the article. I also enjoyed reading this article because he touched on some really interesting and important topics. I too believe that building you online reputation is one of the most important aspects of an online community. Community members need to be able to trust and believe the information on the site and by creating a good reputation, this will help in that process. Thanks for the read and keep up the good posts.


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