There are some users on a site I moderate that participate but I don't consider to be in the core user base.

How can I get them to care about how the site operates more? Whenever discussing something about the site's future/how to handle something, I get the same users discussing it. I like that some users have an opinion, but I would like to see some new faces. Maybe the other users don't see the discussion going on, but I'd like to make sure the community is strong by having more core users.

I don't have any control over the site's inner workings. I think that if this happened, our site would be much better. How can I encourage more users to be interested in the behind the scenes stuff to let the community flourish? I know not every user will be interested, but is there anything I can do?


I recommend a two-pronged approach:

  1. Choose the issues that are most important to get broader input on and publicize those in whatever general ways are available to you -- links in newsletters or blog posts, the Community Bulletin on Stack Exchange, "featured" lists/tags, etc. Asking people to dig through a pile of such discussions (like, say, by visiting a meta site on SE) might overwhelm some; pick some important items and ask people to look at those.

  2. Targeted invitations. Pay attention to your users as individuals. Is Joe really active in reviewing and closing questions? Ask Joe, specifically, to weigh in on guidelines for closing questions, which is being discussed at this link. Is Sue giving a lot of feedback via comments? Ask her for input on this discussion over here about how comments should be moderated. Does Lee care deeply about a particular topic that could fall on either side of the on-/off-topic line? Ask him if he would consider making a post to explain the nuances of the topic, as a way of educating other members in evaluating questions.

In my experience, broad calls for input or volunteers don't net a lot of response (but they net some, so don't ignore them), and people are much more likely to respond to individual requests for small-enough chunks of work that they can do.

And you'll know you're making real progress when you see 2A: other users asking specific other users for this kind of help. It's a community, after all; this can't come only from moderators.

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