Understanding Your Engagement Levels: The Building Blocks of Community Growth


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 08, 2023

4 min read


Understanding Your Engagement Levels: The Building Blocks of Community Growth


Engagement levels are crucial for the success and growth of any community. It is essential to understand the different shapes that engagement levels can take and what they mean for your community. In this article, we will explore the various shapes of engagement levels and how they connect to the concept of first-principles thinking. By incorporating first-principles thinking, communities can unlock their creative potential and overcome challenges to achieve sustainable growth.

Visitor Heavy:

Every community starts with visitors, but if your engagement levels chart consists mostly of visitors, it indicates a lack of value that keeps people from sticking around. To address this, communities need to consider what they have to offer beyond transactional support. By focusing on providing value at all levels, communities can encourage visitors to become more engaged members.

Core Heavy:

On the other end of the spectrum, having too large a percentage of your community as core members can be problematic. This suggests that your community may feel out of reach for those who are not ready or able to become core members. To overcome this, communities should strive to be more welcoming to casual participants and one-off contributors. By creating an inclusive environment, communities can attract a broader range of members and foster growth.

Participation Bottleneck:

A common situation in healthy communities is the presence of unseen bottlenecks that prevent members from progressing to the next level. These bottlenecks are noticeable in the engagement levels chart when there is a significant difference between two levels but smooth transitions between the others. To address this, communities must identify and remove the barriers that hinder member progression. By addressing these bottlenecks, communities can create a smoother and more rewarding experience for their members.

Contribution Bottleneck:

In user-oriented communities, a bottleneck between participants and contributors may indicate a lack of skills or access needed to make a contribution. To overcome this, communities should empower their members to provide support themselves and ensure that potential contributors have the necessary tools and processes to contribute effectively. By unlocking the potential of their members, communities can foster growth and innovation.

Core Bottleneck:

Reaching the core level requires significant time and effort, making it a small part of the overall community. However, if there is a bottleneck at this level, it may indicate issues with the contribution experience. Communities should evaluate the tools, processes, and people involved in the contribution process to ensure a positive experience for first-time contributors. By removing unnecessary obstacles, communities can encourage members to continue contributing and fuel growth.

Ideal Distributions:

A healthy community will have a relatively consistent difference between the number of members at each level. This indicates that members are progressing at their own pace and to their own limits. Striving for ideal distributions can help communities maintain a balanced and sustainable growth trajectory.

First-Principles Thinking:

First-principles thinking is a powerful approach to problem-solving that involves breaking down complicated problems into basic elements and reassembling them from the ground up. By removing assumptions and conventions, first-principles thinking allows us to see the essentials and avoid being led astray by analogies. This approach can be applied to understanding engagement levels and developing strategies for community growth.

Socratic Questioning:

Socratic questioning is a disciplined process used to establish first principles through stringent analysis. By clarifying thinking, challenging assumptions, seeking evidence, considering alternative perspectives, and examining consequences, communities can uncover foundational truths and separate knowledge from ignorance. Incorporating Socratic questioning can help communities gain a deeper understanding of their engagement levels and make informed decisions for growth.

Focus on Existing Customers:

To grow a community, it is crucial to focus on existing customers and provide them with exceptional experiences. By thrilling existing members, they will become advocates and spread the word about the community. Treating customers well and exceeding their expectations is key to sustaining a successful community.

Thinking for Yourself:

First-principles thinking encourages individuals to think for themselves and question the thoughts and ideas of others. By breaking free from conventional wisdom and framing thinking based on someone else's perspective, individuals can explore new possibilities and seize opportunities that others may overlook. Empowering individuals to think independently is vital for the growth and innovation of any community.


Understanding engagement levels is essential for community growth. By analyzing the shapes of engagement levels and applying first-principles thinking, communities can identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to foster growth. By incorporating Socratic questioning, focusing on existing customers, and encouraging independent thinking, communities can create an environment that nurtures engagement and leads to sustainable growth.

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