There are many people who love their stamping communities.  They make great friends and have fun swapping, sharing and chatting.

But many sometimes look for other communities when they notice that theirs is becoming stale, boring, and there is little to no activity because members leave and don’t come back.

So here are reasons why communities begin to fall apart.  This article is written from my dozen years on the net dealing with groups/communities, as a moderator/manager and member.

1. Managers expect members to run communties while they just sit at the controls.  Most times, managers are not even participants.  In some cases, managers do not add/change/update whatever info they have.

2. A manager may feel powerful and want to control and manipulate all members to her standards.  In some cases, if you post something that does not agree with the management, you risk being deleted instantaneously.
(True case: Question about a swap (hostess was the manager) to the main board when everyone sent in 100 technique pages with real samples (all paid by swappers) but got only 80 back.  Anyone who raised this question was deleted as a member and never came back.  Meanwhile, the hostess thought it was a swell deal she had 20 extra tech books to distribute as RAKs.  Most in this swap felt the pages if not used for another swapper should have been returned since the swappers paid for them in the first place.)

3. Managers have squabbles and sometimes this can lead to the instant deletion of a community.
(True Case: A group was started by one gal, the owner.  She assigned moderators without asking them.  The moderators were not happy and did not want this job but said they would stay till someone else came along.  The owner needed help and was extremely delighted and relieved when I volunteered (as a member) to help develop the site for the good of all members, one of the assigned moderators went ballistic and started flaming me just for offering help, resources and suggestions to gain more membership.  The owner decided to leave after a short while due to “drama”, then another gal took over but became frustrated and deleted the group instantly.)

4. Managers start off with a bang offering contests and prizes but once they are gone, so are the members.
(True Case: I belonged to a few communities that started off this way but the contests fizzled over time (prize issues) as well as members.  Contests were the only times the majority of members would be active but the rest of the time, only a handful of posters were around.  No one was helping new members and then they left the group.)

5. Managers abandon the community without any notice to members.  No one can take over or change anything without being authorized.
(True Case: This happens over and over.  Sometimes by no fault of their own, managers get locked out of their own site with no access.  This is why most managers need to have several accounts and assign themselves managers.)

6. Managers cull membership lists and get rid of bouncing emails, or who they may consider “inactive members”.  This can leave a community with a bad reputation that down the line, no one will want to join.
(True Case: One group I was in did this.  They even kicked me out after all the help I offered. LOL — however, over time, people just got fed up and members left the group, never to return (like me).)

7. Some communities have too many rules or expect too much information or demands just to become a member.  People find some info requested “intrusive”.
(True Case: One group requested personal info besides full name, address, phone, and ISP server and no free email accounts allowed.  The group died.)

8. If managers bow out (real life, time elements, lack of interest, illness), they may hand over the community to some interested dedicated members however, in most cases, these members most likely, have no website development skills so the community may thrive for a while, but then things fall apart due to overwhelming issues and lack of experience.  Often times, due to frustrations, the community gets closed down.
(True Case: This has happened too many times.  In one case, the manager died unexpectedly but did not have a backup plan in place for the remaining members.  The group still exists but members are limited to what is there for no more can be added.)

9. Members may belong to many communites and spread them selves thin in most communties they belong in OR do not participate on any level (known as a “lurker” in any of their communities.
(True Case: Some groups allow lurkers, others don’t.  Lurkers risk being culled at some point.)

10.  Members no longer show any interest in the community by not posting or sharing yet they they get info and they use info from that community then share it with another they are most active in.  This brings to mind the question of ethics.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many groups.

11. Members quit the hobby and have no need to belong to any community.

Managers are volunteers.  They do not get paid.  Good managers work very hard on trying to keep things together for members but it is the activity of the members that drive the success of a group.  Managers become frustrated with lack of member interest.
Managers thrive on the positive feedback they get to make improvements in a group.

In the end, it is best to stick to a group or two you really like because you will get more out of it in the long run if you actively participate.