Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

building a community

I am wondering how did Joel built a community around this site. Suppose you wrote a couple of wonderful essays on software, put them on your web page... What now? Sit and wait for community to grow? I believe this is not a case here. So, there was some kind of promotion. Can anyone point how?

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I have not seen any ads for Joel on Software. I heard a friend of mine rave about it, and decided to check it out.

High quality articles, and an intresting discussion forum is what keeps me here now. I got to know about this site through word-of-mouth.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Get slashdot to link to your site.

The Raging /.'er
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I originally got here through the source of all good links -- a Slashdot comment.

Troy King
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I got here from a link in a Borland newsgroup.

I liked the articles, I liked what people were saying in the discussions, and I get back whenever the workload allows it, which is too seldom :)

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")

Paulo Caetano
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Joel's site is brilliant.  He first attracts people to the site with his essays and weblog, which get linked on various other sites; he kept them coming back with his discussion board.

The discussion board keeps the site interesting, even if he has not posted for a few weeks.

I learned about the site through an in-house discussion board where I work.  I am constantly referring to something I read on Joel's site -- things he wrote and things other people post -- in conversations with people I know.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Was mentioned once in Dave Winer ( ) weblog, and I keep coming back.

Robert Chevallier
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

For me it was the usability book, which was linked to from another site.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Word of mouth (programmer friend/co-worker).

Dunno Wair
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I found this site through Slashdot. In fact, I still remember the link:

What kept me coming back were the amazing articles and this forum (arguably the smartest on the Web).

Chi Lambda
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Prakash S
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Saw a comment on

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Searched for a good ui design tutorial and found a link to his book on google.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

If you're interested in building web communities check out Derek Powazeck's FABULOUS Design For Community. Start with the web site and then buy the book.

Walter Rumsby
Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Heard about this site from a friend, and that too with reference to "Peopleware". And found that the articles  / discussions out here were fantastic too !

Well, what Joel has done here is create a forum for like minded (mostly !) people to discuss ideas. He has just set the ball rolling and with time this has grown to a big community, with religious followers. Right folks ?

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

I heard about it from the systers discussion list
(women in CS).

Lauren B.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

ok, here's a related question...

How many readers do you need to support a meaningful discussion forum? 

I ask because our startup has a frequently updated "resources" section.  (not quite a weblog, but it is frequently updated and linked to a biweekly newletter).  Our email list started at 100 users, and has slowly climbed to almost 900.  (mostly through word of mouth-based subscriptions). 

I'd like to start a discussion group, but am concerned that there first exist a critical mass of participants.  We've arbitrarily set a trigger of 1000 newsletter subscribers before we open the forum.  Does that sound right?  I want to be sure that we have a good critical mass for discussion when it opens.  (Perhaps Joel might weigh in on how many he had when he started this group?)

Incidentally, I find it amusing that so many sites have 20 different categories, but with only 1-2 posting each.  Joel's design (one forum) makes the most sense and we'd probably follow a similar path.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

> How many readers do you need to support a meaningful discussion forum?

1 to 30 regular posters perhaps: I know a (unadvertised) newsgroup like this one, now with about 30 non-lurkers, which has been running for years (we migrated off Compuserve after they closed our forum there). "Meaning" is what you put into it...

Christopher Wells
Thursday, September 19, 2002

This site is really useful especially for inexperienced programmers,with wonderful articles on software.

rajesh choudary
Friday, September 20, 2002

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