Before new members can even start making major contributions, they must first learn the norms and form attachments to the community. Unfortunately, many new members tend to leave online communities during this period, which is why it is important to focus on strategies to keep them engaged and committed.
One approach is to lower entry barriers. Although higher entry barriers may seem like a good way to filter out those who are less committed, it can also drive away potential new members. Instead, we should aim to strike a balance between having reasonable entry barriers and welcoming new members into the community. By doing so, we can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages new members to stay and contribute.
Another important factor in retaining new members is their interactions with existing members. New members are often very sensitive to the feedback they receive from the community, whether it is positive or negative. Therefore, it is crucial that existing members communicate with and respond to new members in a friendly and supportive way. This can be achieved through designated older-timers who are responsible for helping new members, as well as through introduction threads in the community
In the context of an online community, "keeping newcomers around" is particularly important given the challenges of building and maintaining a sense of community in a digital space. Online communities often struggle with issues like member churn and disengagement, as members may feel disconnected or isolated from the group. By prioritizing the needs and experiences of new members, online communities can help build a stronger sense of community, increase engagement and participation, and ultimately create a more vibrant and successful community overall.