Back to the Future: Prodigy & Online Communities

In all the consumer sites I’ve worked with, we’ve consistently dealt – and re-dealt – with how best to manage and promote “the community,” provide incentive to participate, reward the good, deëmphasize the unwanted.

Prodigy’s early effort to put their employees in charge of specific topics and give those employees the ability to “deputize” their best participants from among the crowds is still a model to be emulated.

Pioneering and unusual aspects

Prodigy pioneered the concept of Online Communities. A Content Department was responsible for creating and developing different Content Areas for specific topics. Each Content Area had a Prodigy Producer who gave contracts to Prodigy subscribers to assist in running the communities in exchange for a small stipend. Each community consisted of a Website, a Chat Area with different rooms, and a Bulletin Board.

Prodigy: Information from Answers.com.

What are the best ways you’ve envountered to “motivate” your audience to participate?