We’ve got some big changes coming your way (we think for the better!) we need to share with you,
so grab a cuppa coffee because this is going to be a long and important update
We’ve decided to change our technology and move to a new Co-Creator forum solution
This decision wasn’t made lightly. We understand that most of you are now probably comfortable with the current technology platform we’ve all taken time to learn. But there are glaring technical issues on the current platform we feel are taking away from the Co-Creator experience, which need to be addressed ASAP. So we’ve decided to move to a new solution while we’re still early in the Co-Creator program.
Why move to a new platform?
Well, in a nutshell the current platform lacks sophisticated features required to administer an enterprise forum and make for a rich and effortless discussion experience. Let’s explore some of the issues we noticed and why we’ve chosen to switch:
Many found the mobile experience cumbersome to navigate. While it was mobile-optimized, it lacked a dedicated app. There were some bugs like posting topics wouldn’t let you add photos easily, or html links at all. Polls were hidden, and most people never saw the sidebars with the Questionnaire widgets, or the countdown timers on mobile. Our new solution provides a dedicated, downloadable app for an improved and simplified experience to post and review topics. As a result, it’s fast, and it just works.
Options for controlling which categories, topics, and posts you want to watch and how you’re notified are currently very limited, resulting in either an overload of notifications or not enough. For example, say you posted in Jade Rollers one time. Well, you would be notified of every comment about Jade Rollers in the future. Sure, sometimes you want to get every comment because you’re super interested in a particular topic (or category), but other topics you might not care about that much, and would prefer to only be notified if someone quoted you or mentioned you directly. Well, our new platform let’s you do just that.
Creating posts is limited in that you can’t embed YouTube videos, and in general it’s a pain to upload pics and generally to create engaging, content-rich posts. Our new solution provides website snippets based off a single url post so you don’t have to manually upload pictures as often. For example, if you have a product suggestion and want to list its Amazon page, just paste in the product url in your post and the new platform will magically include a small snippet for you (most of the time) no image upload needed! It’s so much faster and easier to create better, more intriguing posts, this alone was almost worth the switch.
Quoting other peoples posts is error prone in the current system, the default is the entire post and there’s no option to quote just a portion - not cool. The new system will let you quote a portion in addition to the entire post very easily.
The badge and points system in our current platform is rudimentary. Our new platform is considerably more sophisticated in it’s implementation, encouraging forum exploration and high quality contributions.One of the major differences you will notice is the points system is gone, and we think this is an improvement. In lieu of points is a comprehensive badge system which does a much better job of helping you explore the forum and rewarding you for quality contributions. At the end of the day, it’s not about chasing points, it’s about great information and discussions, this helps us to achieve that.
Messages about posts were horribly delayed in the current forum, sometimes taking upwards of 19 hours before you were notified of a new forum topic or message. The new solution is instantaneous.
It also notifies you of Likes, which the old system did not do. It’s a bummer when you don’t know when people like your stuff, and this solves that problem.
When you finally did receive that delayed message, the email would simply say “you’ve been quoted”, and then you have to log into the forum to view the message and reply. Our new platform shows you the replies to your posts in your email, and even lets you reply to posts from your email!
The new platform recognizes new posts which may be similar to existing ones, and alerts you in realtime, so it helps keep everything neat and tidy, avoiding duplicates.
Posts like the Blog wouldn’t properly notify you or allow for quotes or mentions in the comments, so people often missed out on any discussions occurring in our weekly updates. This won’t happen again.
Our current solution has a lot of cute widgets like Chat, Discussion Board, Questionnaire and many other options we never enabled because they were either too basic or confusing to use. Having to switch us from one conversation over here, to another conversation over there is just frustrating to figure out. The meat of our discussions occur in the forum, so it makes sense to ensure that the forum is an excellent experience. Polls and questionnaires will work a little differently in the new platform, they will be embedded into the posts themselves. This is great because it allows us to introduce concepts in the same place as you provide your thoughts, and allows you to then chat about them after.
Also, as you continue to contribute to the community and build trust in the system, you will eventually be allows to create your own polls!
Our new solution supports logins from Facebook, Google, and Twitter for your convenience.
There are a couple of other tech things I’d like to mention about the migration…Our new solution is going to look and feel different. The look and feel is going to be more of a forum, and less of a “step inside our curated experience”. While we actually prefer the “curated feel” of our current platform, a pretty picture
can’t be at the expense of creating a rich environment for exchanging ideas. Our new solution has a clean design, and is a much more powerful platform with more features to support what we make the most use of, which is the forum.
Please be patient with us as we work to provide the best Co-Creator experience possible, and part of that means working with technology which empowers us to quickly and easily contribute to discussions. I
mentioned earlier the new platform will not support points, so say your goodbyes now. We think this is in the best interest of the forum, as points only seem to encourage low-quality responses and “me too” “thanks for the information” or “I don’t know” replies which don’t elevate the discussion. Rather than points, you will earn badges through a more thoughtfully inspired system, designed to encourage quality topics and replies.
Please don’t feel required to post on every topic because you are checking the participation box! If a topic doesn’t interest you, or you don’t know something, best to leave it be. If you agree with a comment, use the Like button to express your sentiment (There is no downvoting in this platform) instead of replying.
Likes work differently on our new system, carry actual meaning, and should be used more often… furthermore, you also get notified when people like your stuff, so that’s motivating
The new forum enforces some modest character limits for topic titles and replies: you will be alerted if it’s not long enough. If your reply is less than the minimum character limit, consider whether you need to reply, and instead offer a Like.
At the end of the day we’re more interested in quality participation than quantity.We are migrating the data
from this platform to our new platform, but not everything will be carried over.
All of your topics and replies moved over to the new platform, so it won’t be empty when you arrive in the new world, and so far everything in the migration is looking great. Our old poll and questionnaire data are not coming over. As we’ve mentioned, your points will not transfer, and we’re moving to a new badge system, so those will not come over either, nor will Likes - all of these will be new. Rest assured, if you’ve been an active contributor we know you (as do your fellow co-creators) and you will have no reason to miss your old badges or points. If you haven’t been very active, here’s an opportunity to get back on the wagon New user accounts will be created for you.
We will email you with more details, but all you will need to do is hit the “Forgot Password” button to create a new password and gain entry. Note, this is a more secure platform which enforces stronger passwords.
You will also need to re-add your avatar (profile picture), and I encourage you to review your profile as well.
We’ll be enhancing profiles as we progress, but please fill it out as much as possible, including a pic and your birthday… it’s so much more fun this way. By the way, the new system recognizes birthdays along with the day you joined the forum. The old system will be accessible for a short while, but read-only starting the evening of the 2nd of July.
The new forum will live on our domain, and we will provide you a new link to use, along with instructions on how to access.
Something we’ve not yet covered with everyone is what happens when this Co-Creator cycle is over. Do we part ways and catch each other later? Well, we’ve been giving a lot of thought to what the passing of the baton looks like, from all of you to the next generation of Co-Creators. We’ve arrived at what we think is the best course of action to take and would like to share it with you, covering the following components of a community along the way:
Establishing the Community
Growing the Community
Enriching the Community
Leading the Community
Rewarding the Community
Integrating the Community
Establishing the Community
It’s hard to start something from scratch.I don’t care what you’re doing, when you completely start over you have to throw everything away and rebuild.Typically, this is done when you don’t have a foundation established, or anything good to work with, and must try again.Well, there is no need to re-establish our community all over again.We have a wonderful group of people right here, and we don’t want anyone to feel like they aren’t welcome after Co-Creating our products.This was one of our first challenges: understanding how we say goodbye. Our solution is: We don’t.Communities don’t kick out their members when they’re done. They celebrate them! So we’d love for you to stick around as long as you’d like and continue to be a member of the community without having to maintain the same level of commitment as an active Co-Creator.Can you become a Co-Creator again? We hope so! We cover that
Growing the Community
Over time, members of communities lose out to attrition as a natural course of life. In order for communities to remain healthy and survive, be they virtual or the local community in which you live, they must always be recruiting new members to replace the ones who leave.Rather than having the community dwindle in size and interest as we move through product creation modules, we strongly believe it’s important
to open it up to people interested in testing products and participating in our forums, welcoming new members as they would like to join us. But new members won’t start as Co-Creators, they’ll have to earn that right (more on this later).
Enriching the Community
What makes a community interesting and rewarding are its members, and what comes with them: their stories and contributions. In order for us to thrive as a community we need a fresh influx of interesting ideas and opinions to experience.More active community members means more unique content and insights to explore, and more relationships to build and develop the community. I believe this will make our community an even richer, more fulfilling destination to visit. Besides, I can’t be the only guy in here forever! Our new platform supports the ability for you to bring your friends, so please feel free to invite them.
Leading the Community
As the community grows, I won’t be able to manage the community alone.We’ll need to recruit seasoned, passionate members to help moderate our community and keep it a fun place to explore.I can’t think of a better group of folks to help with this than some of you. We’ll let you know when we need to recruit for moderator positions.
Rewarding the Community
We believe in market-driven forces at Community Cosmetics. What I mean by this, is members earn certain privileges commensurate with their level of value-added participation and leadership within the community. It’s unfair to everyone if people are not participating or adding value to the experience. It’s unfair to the people who only really wanted the free sample in the first place, and didn’t understand the process or level of commitment required to be a Co-Creator. It’s unfair to the people who actively contribute to the community and take the time to compose thoughtful, quality topics and replies. And it’s unfair to Community Cosmetics and our community-driven product development process to have people who aren’t on board with the program. I’ve also had people express to me they want to be a part of the community and contribute, but they can’t commit themselves to our production schedule, so they need to back out. It seems a shame to tell these folks no, and not let them participate in our forums on some level. Considering these circumstances, what makes the most sense is to allow all new members to join our community and participate at whatever level they choose, but they must earn the right to become a Co-Creator (if they want to), based on their degree of value-added participation. We believe this approach allows Community Cosmetics to make sure we’re rewarding the most committed, active members with product testing opportunities, and we think it’s an honest and objective merit-based method of selecting Co-Creators. The beauty of this approach is that, as a current Co-Creator, you may be selected in the future to Co-Create products with us provided you’ve been an active member. Please understand this is not a guarantee to continue to receive future samples, it’s an opportunity, but it’s also not goodbye.
Integrating the Community
As a society, we’ve had difficult welcoming new members into a community. It’s normal to fear change, and to remain suspect of what we don’t know. As the community elders, I would ask all of you to keep your hearts and minds open as we welcome new people who are interested in participating in our discussions. Not all areas of the community will be available to all members. Feedback about product samples and product requirements will remain locked to Co-Creators participating in that module, in fact, regular community members won’t even know a separate forum Category exists to discuss products for which they are not participating. Other areas of our community will be open and accessible to the public to browse, such as our Talk forum.
New product shipment this week
We’ll be shipping a body lotion sample, along with an improved version of 01b for you to test this week.
Please note, if you did not complete your three questionnaires for your body washes, we won’t be able to send you this next shipment to sample - we can’t send samples if you don’t review them. I will be reaching you to you directly this week to let you know if we didn’t receive your questionnaires - but it doesn’t mean it’s over for us. Based on our new approach to the community, you are still welcome to participate in our forums, and may be considered to test another product depending on your participation.
Wow, so that was a LOT of stuff to cover. Based on your feedback to date and our thinking about the Co-Creator experience, we believe these changes will make for a richer experience that’s easier and more fun to engage in. My door is always open, we’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line anytime email@example.com.
Thank you for being a part of this experience and growing with us!