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Community Week

Introduction

The Groups system has made it very easy for members of fandoms and mediums to come together, and whilst members are what makes a group work, sometimes smaller groups seem to lack the attention that the larger ones get. A small group can be just as fun and rewarding to be a member of as a large group.
This article has a couple of ideas for how to keep up interest in a smaller, more niche group. Some ideas may also be useful for medium to larger groups.


Shirobako -Donuts by Khallandra

Folders

Making the group easy to navigate and understand can be done with thoughtful use of folders. In most groups the folder types are governed by the group content and purpose. The default folder in all groups is the 'Featured' folder; often this is used to showcase certain submissions rather than being the folder everything goes into. One can use the Featured folder to highlight a examples of what the group is about or to reward members who joined a group activity by featuring them. Adding thumbnails or 'SitBack' to the main group profile will showcase these deviations to existing and future members.

When starting out, think about the group folder structure; what would be the best way of dividing up the submissions? For example, a fanart group could be divided up into two different folder structures, character-based or medium-based. Having both at the same time may be confusing for members to choose where to submit their work. Clearly make the folder names descriptive and concise, add additional information blurbs into the folder descriptions to guide the members.

With a smaller group it is easy to redirect incorrectly selected folders; with fewer submissions it is often easier to move a submission manually than it is to decline and force the user to try again. If the group is rather small with a very small number of submissions, maybe have a 'submission' folder that is open and then move into the correct folder after accepting the submission.

Note: If the notification the member receives about group submission does not list the folder, often they will not know it has gone into the wrong folder.


Customising without being a Super Group

Often with a smaller group it is hard to get the funding to support being a Super Group. Members can still enjoy a group that does not have journal skins and lots of fancy widgets, however there are a few options available that may assist. A non-super group can display the Featured folder as the 'Gallery Folder' and one Custom Box.

The custom box, whilst it is not as customisable as on an individual profile, can use thumbnails, icons and dividers to add flair to the group profile.

Journal Skins are not available, however some clever custom box code can provide a simple background and content area. Whilst it does not have the features of a proper journal skin, it can add a little bit of distinction to the group. Like a custom box, don't forget that the background needs to be large enough to cover the entire journal content.

Countdowns are very useful, but alternatives are websites such as www.timeanddate.com/ where an off-site Countdown can be maintained and linked to.


Useful Deviations


Custom-box Background Tutorial by CypherVisor MORE Journal 'skins' for NON-CORE users and groups by UszatyArbuz Journal 'Skin' Blue for NON-PM users and groups by Inconcabille PE: Profile Presentation: Tips and TricksProfile Presentation: Tips and Tricks
Your profile page can say quite a bit about what kind of person you are, and having a well-designed profile page will help ensure that your visitors leave with a good impression of you and your work. And if you do a remarkably fabulous job at designing your profile, people will not only be impressed, but they will also keep coming back to take another look. In this article, I will go over some useful tips and tricks for making your profile look professional but also personalized! :heart:
This article is mostly directed towards Premium Members, but non-Premium members can still use some of these concepts to personalize their page.
:note: In addition, for those who are new to profile decoration, I highly suggest reading my Decorating Your Profile tutorial first, as it goes over important basics of profile decoration. 

Basic Design Concepts

Before we get started,
Custom Box - Troubleshooting + FAQCustom Boxes
Quite a few people still seem to have issues with getting their custom box backgrounds to work correctly so I thought I'd put this little troubleshooting guide and FAQ together to help. If you follow the instructions closely, you shouldn't have any problems.
If you encounter any issues that aren't explained here, please let me know. I will update this guide with any extra info or solutions as they are requested.
You can read more about customising your profile page here.
The Basics
<div class="popup2-moremenu"><div class="floaty-boat"><img src="http://website.com/image.png"></div></div><div class="gr-box gr-genericbox">sample text</div>
Copy the code above and paste into a Custom box on your profile page. Replace the green text with your background

Pixel - Small Bow Divider by firstfear Bear Divider by lexypuppy228 Cute Ribbon Divider by micojards 4 Animated Cog Dividers by Gasara F2U: Macaroon Pixel Dividers by LilMissSunBear

Contests

Running a contest in a small group can be beneficial in not only gathering the interest of the current members, but attracting new members. Try to make the contest very descriptive, if the wording is too vague the members will find they can not decide what to do. Too specific, and they may find it too difficult to get an idea. More detailed and useful information on running contests: PE: Contest Pointers.


Cat Sitting in Chair by Khallandra

Activities

Often with small groups it can be a long time between submissions and even with scouting and inviting submissions it can seem like the group is 'dead'.

Activities can be a way of giving the members something to participate in, but without the overhead and stress of a contest. The themes can be specific to the group, for example a character week theme in a fan art group.  The activity can offer features or even small prizes to one participating member or to all participants (e.g. small amounts of points). Scheduling can be regular (weekly, monthly, etc) or on a schedule of activities at a particular date/period of the month, eg. a character week on the first week of May.

Keep a list of the current and upcoming activities in the custom box widget and use journal updates to inform members of upcoming activities and when they are finishing. Uncheck the 'This edit is minor (your deviantWATCHers will not be notified)' option to push out updates instead of having to code up a new journal entry each time:
Editjournal by Khallandra




Questions for Group Members and Admins:


  • What things do you like about a smaller group?
  • Do you prefer formal contests or informal activities on a more regular basis?


Add a Comment:
 
:iconginger-aid:
Ginger-Aid Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
This is so helpful!

can i maybe get some help on how to use dividers?
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Edited Nov 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love Gasara's dividers and there is a handy guide down the bottom:
Easiest is using multiple thumbnails: Shamrock Divider by Gasara Shamrock Divider by Gasara
Else you can use the direct image src to get the whole thing, only works in a few places though like Journals, not in custom boxes or comments on Free Groups :( < img src="http:// orig04.deviantart.net/98e3/f/2014/076/6/b/shamr ock_divider_by_gasara-d7ajszw.gif" >(remove the spaces around the <> and // )
On Gasara's deviations there are some FAQs, 14 and 15 are the ones on how to get the image src and construct the code with much better examples then I have :blush:
Reply
:iconginger-aid:
Ginger-Aid Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
wait, can i put them in my gallery?
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've removed the reference to Sta.sh as I don't tend to use it as an extension of my main DevArt gallery which can be a little confusing, sorry about that. My Sta.sh is full of stuff from other places in there I didn't create (like all the GIFs and backgrounds) and little things I've created that I don't want to publish to my main gallery that I use in articles and some of my groups.
Reply
:iconginger-aid:
Ginger-Aid Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
..okay, ill just put them in my group
Reply
:iconinconcabille:
Inconcabille Featured By Owner May 11, 2015
Thanks for the mention! Honored and flattered me. :la: :heart: :huggle:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for making them, they are really handy :)
Reply
:iconinconcabille:
Inconcabille Featured By Owner May 11, 2015
You are so welcome! :huggle:
Reply
:iconairukan:
Airukan Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope founders of the small groups (and 'dead' ones) read this :XD: I've seen 'dead' groups with potential but eeeh, they're abandoned! I would have liked to join those!
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah it is a shame when the founders just abandon the group and stop accepting even submissions, especially if they are the only group appearing to be for that function :(
Reply
:iconairukan:
Airukan Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I can understand If the founder can't stay in that position for whatever reason. But I've seen not many handing the group over to a new founder. I'd even suggest myself to be a new founder for the sake of saving the group but then I re-think about it and right now I'm not able to maintain any.
Actually thinking on little challenges for the members as a way to keep it lively is easy. Or someone can just browse the web for some ideas! After all, a group can be a place just to have fun! Besides being a tool for resources or just to show off some art. (respecting it's members obviously) Some journals featuring random art would be nice to keep the group alive aswell. I personally LOVE to read these journals! I barely comment, but it's granted I'll fave some work everyday! (I follow way too many groups, and I don't mind having my inbox flooded with deviations at all xD) So sad to see good groups going inactive =(

If there weren't ways to save those groups... but there are! :icondoublefacepalmplz:
Reply
:iconuszatyarbuz:
UszatyArbuz Featured By Owner May 8, 2015   Digital Artist
Thanks for including ine "skins".. I feel flattered! :blush:
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for providing them, they are very handy to have :D
Reply
:iconuszatyarbuz:
UszatyArbuz Featured By Owner May 9, 2015   Digital Artist
:hug:
Yes I do see that people are using them from time to time :) That makes me happy too :D
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great suggestions, especially declining nicely, always appreciated as a group member :)
Reply
:iconjennystokes:
jennystokes Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
Oh yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Groups that don't do this I leave!
Reply
:iconsinistrosephosphate:
SinistrosePhosphate Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello!

Thank you very much for writing such an insightful article! I like the ideas you've put out in it. After all, having a smaller group means you have to work hard to build it up and continue to absorb new members. But on the other hand it does offer more interaction between the staff and the members. It can be really rewarding if done well. But it also means you do need to invest more time and energy into it.

So, thanks for all the tips and pointers!
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you :D
Reply
:iconstygma:
Stygma Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
  • What things do you like about a smaller group? As a watcher, I like a smaller group because they don't fill my message center as much. As a group admin, I like not having a ton of submission to look over. :XD:
  • Do you prefer formal contests or informal activities on a more regular basis? I prefer fun contests, nothing too stressful.

Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I tend to look at the smaller group submissions more closely cause they don't flood my inbox so much too :D
Reply
:iconkitsune-kreations:
Kitsune-Kreations Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I been needing this all my life, thank you! ;w; 
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome, hope something comes in handy sometime :D
Reply
:iconkhallandra:
Khallandra Featured By Owner May 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The little niche is great :D
Didn't think about the having to wait to make updates to a contest entry, very good point :highfive:
Reply
:iconroguemudblood:
RogueMudblood Featured By Owner May 8, 2015   Writer
Yes it is! I admit that I don't submit to those groups as often as I submit to other groups, but that's only because I'm not producing that material at the time. I have a lot of interests, so my gallery is pretty much all over the place (even with most of it being literature).

Since I enter contests regularly, it's an issue that I frequently run into. Thankfully, most coordinators are willing to let you make alterations up to the deadline, even if you've already submitted it to the group.

Though I'll tell you one thing I came across (and I'm participating, just waiting on the next round to start!) was a contest of "rounds" of writing. It's a lot of fun, and the host (Vaporeonsflame) comes up with a different prompt for each round. I'd love to see more events like that in the community as it does bring together a pool of talent going through several "layers" of elimination.
Reply
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