The Evaporative Cooling Effect in Social Networks: Creating Quality Communities


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 17, 2023

4 min read


The Evaporative Cooling Effect in Social Networks: Creating Quality Communities


In the world of social networks, there is a phenomenon known as the Evaporative Cooling Effect. This effect describes the situation where high-value contributors leave a community because they no longer see any benefit or value in their participation. As a result, the quality of the community decreases over time. With the influx of new members, the rate of high-quality contributors becomes diluted, further exacerbating the decline in community quality.

Slowing Down the Evaporative Cooling Effect:

While the trend of Evaporative Cooling may seem inevitable during the expansion of a community, there are ways to slow down this downward spiral. One effective method is through the implementation of Social Gating. Social Gating involves setting up barriers that prevent users without relevant basic knowledge in the area from entering the community. By doing so, the community maintains a higher level of quality, as only those with the necessary expertise are allowed in.

Another method to combat the Evaporative Cooling Effect is by frequently removing inactive user accounts. When users become inactive for an extended period, their contributions to the community become obsolete. By regularly purging inactive accounts, the community ensures that only active and engaged members remain, thus preserving the quality of the community.

Charging a membership fee is also an effective way to maintain the quality of a community. When users have to pay to be part of a community, it filters out those who are not genuinely interested or committed. Only those who find value in the community and are willing to invest financially will remain. This not only helps sustain the community financially but also ensures that the members are genuinely passionate about the community's purpose.

Recognizing and rewarding special contributors can also slow down the Evaporative Cooling Effect. By giving high status or special privileges to those who have made significant contributions, the community incentivizes continued engagement and participation. This recognition can be in the form of badges, exclusive access, or even increased visibility within the community.

Plaza vs. Warren: Scalability and Stability

In the realm of social networks, communities can be categorized as either plaza or warren-like structures. Plaza-like communities are public and easily expandable. People can observe the activities and content within the community and make informed decisions about whether to join. However, this ease of expansion also makes plaza-like communities more susceptible to the Evaporative Cooling Effect. As more members join, the quality of contributions may decline.

On the other hand, warren-like communities are more personalized and private. They do not have the same scalability as plaza-like communities, but they are often more stable. Warren-like communities tend to have a tight-knit group of members who are deeply engaged and committed to the community's purpose. While they may not experience rapid growth, they are less likely to suffer from the effects of Evaporative Cooling.

Creating Exceptional Onboarding Experiences

In the world of app UI/UX design, creating a seamless onboarding experience is crucial for attracting and retaining users. Here, we will explore four apps that have excelled in providing exceptional onboarding experiences.

  • 1. Reflectly: This app focuses on providing a soothing onboarding experience. By guiding users through a calm and relaxing interface, Reflectly sets the tone for a stress-free user experience. This approach showcases the importance of understanding the emotional needs of users during the onboarding process.
  • 2. Duolingo: Known for its gamified language learning platform, Duolingo offers an onboarding experience fit for a king. By incorporating micro-interactions and engaging challenges, Duolingo keeps users hooked from the start. This demonstrates the power of micro-interactions in creating a core user experience that is both educational and enjoyable.
  • 3. Twitter: Twitter takes a different approach to onboarding by displaying follower counts when showing user accounts. This clever design decision taps into the bandwagon effect, encouraging users to follow accounts with higher follower counts. This insight highlights the role of social influence in shaping user actions during onboarding.
  • 4. Shazam: Shazam focuses on providing a quick and efficient onboarding experience. With a time limit of 15 seconds to a few minutes, Shazam ensures that users can complete the onboarding process swiftly. This emphasis on speed demonstrates the importance of respecting users' time and attention.


In a world dominated by social networks and apps, it is crucial to create and maintain quality communities. The Evaporative Cooling Effect poses a significant challenge, but by implementing strategies such as Social Gating, account purging, charging fees, and recognizing special contributors, communities can slow down this trend and preserve their quality.

Additionally, exceptional onboarding experiences play a vital role in attracting and retaining users. By understanding the emotional needs of users, incorporating micro-interactions, leveraging social influence, and respecting users' time, apps can create onboarding experiences that leave a lasting impression and set the stage for long-term engagement.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Implement Social Gating: Set up barriers to prevent users without relevant knowledge from entering the community, ensuring a higher level of quality.
  • 2. Regularly Remove Inactive Accounts: Purge inactive user accounts to maintain an active and engaged community.
  • 3. Consider Charging Membership Fees: By charging a fee, you filter out users who are not genuinely interested, ensuring a committed and passionate community.

By following these actionable advice, communities and app developers can create and sustain quality experiences, counteracting the effects of Evaporative Cooling, and fostering long-term engagement.

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