What are typical problems in a community of practice?

Originally answered Apr 28, 2017

Here are ten common problems in communities. The first one is the most common.

  1. There is a lack of activity in the community: posts and meetings are infrequent, questions are not answered, requests for help are not responded to, posts receive few replies, and posts are not moderated appropriately
  2. Membership is too restricted (keeping out deserving members), or not restricted enough (allowing in trolls, spammers, and anonymous members)
  3. The community’s topic overlaps with one or more other existing communities, causing fragmentation of membership and confusion over which community to join
  4. The community’s topic is esoteric, uses company-specific nomenclature, is too broad, or is too narrow
  5. There is a lack of interest in the topic, or a lack of awareness about the community by prospective members, and it never achieves critical mass
  6. The community lacks a capable community manager who has the time and passion to lead it effectively
  7. The culture of the community is negative, intimidating, or alienating
  8. There is a lack of diversity of thought and experience among the members
  9. Community posts are not perceived as valuable, are always from the same few members, or are perceived as spam
  10. There are overly restrictive rules about what can be posted

For remedies to these problems, see these posts about communities of practice.