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Take the Google+ Communities 30-Day Challenge

Now that Google+ Communities have been released, I'm seeing a tremendous amount of activity (bad and good). But I'm also seeing ambivalence. The most interesting people I know are holding back posting actively into communities because they don't want to take away from their existing followings. 

Does this sound familiar? We had a way we used to interact on Google+ (through Public posts), and now there's a new way (Google+ Communities). People are nervous to participate in communities because they don't want to abandon all their existing momentum.

Here's what I recommend:

Spend the next 30 days posting the majority of your pictures, video and text into relevant Google+ Communities, and not your Public circle

The Wrong People are Embracing Communities

Although there are some wonderful communities already coming together, I'm seeing lower quality posts in the larger communities. I think this is because the thoughtful, articulate people who have build large followings are sticking to their Public circles, where they're already getting engagement.

And then the spammers are embracing Communities with gusto. They see it as another way to drive traffic to their web pages and projects, so they're trying to hit up as many communities as they can. I'm currently wiping out about 10 posts in the Space community for every post I keep. And I'm probably banning 50+ people a day.

Communities are Going to Thrive Anyway

Google+ has needed a place to talk about the things we love - our common interests - right from the beginning. We've been begging Google+ for it, and they finally delivered it. Some people are unhappy with the implementation, but this is a great start, and will improve as common forum/moderation features are implemented.

But Communities are going to thrive - sooner or later. Instead of there being popular people in general on Google+, there will be thriving Communities with local superstars, who have gained respect and followings because of their service to the Community.

Unless people embrace this new paradigm, they're going to get left behind. I seriously believe this. Public circles will fade, and Communities will take the spotlight.

Embrace Communities 100%

While this is all getting figured out, I highly recommend that everyone embraces this as much as possible. Instead of splitting yourself between Public posts with your existing followings, jump into Communities with both feet. 

Make the vast majority of your posts in relevant Communities.

This will increase the signal to noise ratio, drowning out the spammers, and setting a great example for new members.

Comment, +1 and share other people's posts in the Communities. Take the time to answer questions and be helpful. 

Reach out to your like-minded friends and encourage them to join the same Communities. Then you'll have the best of both worlds. You'll be talking about the stuff you love with the people you already like. 

So, take the 30-day Google+ Community Challenge. Spend the next 30 days posting the vast majority of your material into relevant Communities. Then, if you didn't feel like your Google+ experience didn't improve, go back to whatever you were doing before. 

I'll see you in the Space community (and the Sailing, Vancouver Island, RPG, Android, Photography, Astrophotography, Mountain Biking, Podcasting, SEO, Google+, Web Development, and Video Game communities)
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157 comments
 
Nope.

I post publicly. I want my followers to see ALL my content. They shouldn't have to search me out in communities.
 
so far my only complaint is that i have to post individually to the community and my public account, instead of all at once. hopeful we'll see this change in the future.
 
Great post. I am not banning nearly as many people as you, but my community is considerably smaller too. I also tend to be lenient on people, that is changing as I get more spam.
 
They will see you content if they ask for notifications. 
 
any way to stop the feed scroll out of control I sure it's me or my current settings it makes it hard to read while moving lol
 
+Carl Carruthers But that's still being hesitant. You want your cake and eat it too. Don't double post, just post to Communities.

+Andrew Ledford Ban hard and early. Have a vision for what you want the Community to look like and remove anything that doesn't comply. If a person posts into the community to extract value back out, ban them and remove their posts.
 
Seeing lots of junk postings, including financial come-ons. This all picked up steam immediately after the introduction of communities. Even though I've created a few community groups myself I'm keeping my focus at the public stream level.
 
+Fraser Cain I agree, and since Communities started, I've been posting at least half of my content to relevant communities, and commenting/discussing a lot more than before. It's made my Google+ experience a lot more like the private beta days, which is to say, awesome.

I've noticed an influx of new users to Google+ who post exclusively into Communities, so there are new users using Google+ specifically as a community/forum, which is interesting.

Me, I'm posting directly to communities when it's something specific/relevant toward those communities, and publicly when it's something global. In short, my Public posts are something more like Twitter posts.
 
Agree with +Andrew Ledford very timely and thoughtful post.  Myself, I am posting to communities to the detriment of my main stream on Plus.  Example I posted a review of Women in Black to my Film Geeks community but plan to re-purpose it and post it in the public stream for everyone to see. Anyone else do this?  

Communities encourage content creating and the posts on communities stimulate more participation.  I will need time to absorb your contention that communities will over time make Circles redundant, its worth thinking about and yes this could be true. Community is in Google Plus's DNA. 

I am finding the big communities to overwhelming and prefer niche smaller ones with a more targeted subject heading.  Sure spammers are out in force but I am also suspicious of communities created by companies who are using these communities to subtly promote their own products.  
 
+Alfonso Surroca I think that's the right balance in the long term. I'll probably do the same. But in the short term, I think people need to understand Communities, and over-engage in them until they figure out that right balance. 

+Shane Dillon "Detriment" is exactly the right word. You're Public stream will suffer, but your overall Google+ experience will thrive (over time). It's going to be uncomfortable in the beginning, when nobody is reading your posts anymore, since Communities are so transient. But things will improve over time.
 
+Carl Carruthers Hopefully, they change it or someone figures out a way around it, the same as how people found a way to @reply someone on Twitter while simultaneously posting that reply publicly by simply prepending the @reply with a period so that Twitter sees it as a public post.
 
My G+ experience certainly has improved enormously since communities arrived, but I hope this isn't the end state. I think the solution needs to be personal topic channels, which would allow you to curate your own set of people who posted on a topic of your interest.

Communities are great for some things, I love the Railroad Photography and Good Business communities. They aren't too large, and have some good active members.

But a counter example is the Mathematics community. Too broad, too much variation in quality. It doesn't really achieve anything that searching the stream for a hashtag could do, and has most of the downsides. (Actually, fragmentation can be worse if there are multiple communities). I'd rather be able to follow a few good writers who regularly posted publicly about maths to the stream, but not get their sportsball and cats posts too.

Google people, Communities are a great start, but more needs to be done on the interest graph.
 
Optimistic post but I'm not convinced. Communities may indeed transform the Public area into a self-fulfilling ghost-town, but at the cost of turning G+ into little more than an upgrade to the old TheSource, CompuServe or TalkCity failed models.
 
+Bruce Goren thats a risk but I think a way will be found to balance the public and community streams so that one does not eat the other.  However as +Vic Gundotra would say much of what happens on Google Plus does so behind the curtain; we post direct to Circles, one to one to people and in public now we have communities.  The public stream might not be as busy but behind the curtain its a hive of activity. But agree you do highlight a risk worth discussing. What do others think?
 
+Fraser Cain i'm not hesitating, since i'm still posting to both. just grumbling when i do it twice. :O) +Alfonso Surroca , yup. it'll come. just waiting for someone much smarter than me to do it.
 
I get it and it makes sense, but wouldn't doing this essentially turn G+ in a message board? Granted, a message board with millions (potentially) of topics, but still a message board nonetheless. 

I'm already posting topically to my communities and not posting to public the same posts. That just seems silly to do anyway (and would be quick way for me to remove you from my circles if we participated in the same community).
 
I'm not joining any more communities until I can stop their posts showing up in my main stream.
 
A quick reminder, if you remove a post from a community, you don't delete that persons post, you just remove it from your community. And I completely agree with +Fraser Cain regarding being super harsh on removing "spam", and where necessary, banning users. The trick to this is to try to get as many moderators as possible that you trust with a similar vision. 

I would also recommend removing posts that are simply links (with no text), as it defeats the whole purpose of a community. If people are sharing links, you'd expect them to share an opinion/query/thought when doing so...

Having launched a number of communities, I can tell you that the most important factor that prevents spam is the creation of examples of what content SHOULD look like. If you let two people post "spammy" comments, you'll see that within a few hours, the entire stream will be filled with similar comments.

These thoughts are my own.
 
+Don Burnside touches on an interesting point regards communities turning into message boards. Often you want to follow the topic and the individual, and get one person's take on that topic over time.

IMO communities work where either this isn't important (e.g. Cat pictures) or where the community is small enough to allow you to get to know it's members. The large and unruly communities risk losing the link between individual and topic.
 
+Fraser Cain there may be quite a number of people who don't want to participate in an Astronomy community, but value your posts on the subject as an 'expert overview'. If you drastically cut down on posting to the stream these people would lose the benefit of your contributions. G+ should allow you to set up +Fraser Cain's Astronomy channel, and allow people to subscribe to that. This wouldn't preclude you keeping your community for real Astronomy fans who also wanted to contribute to the topic themselves. 
 
+Rob Ferguson Many people were lobbying for that kind of functionality - the ability to categorize your posts. It would have served essentially the same task as Communities. But now the decision has been made, and we're going down this path. Embrace it.
 
Your statement up front is EXACTLY what I have been experiencing and the reason I dropped notifications from the few communities.  I was losing the quality that my stream has enjoyed for over a year now!  Here's what you said +Fraser Cain

"The most interesting people I know are holding back posting actively into communities because they don't want to take away from their existing followings."

And this is what I have found for myself and for my special contacts built carefully into circles this last 19 months.  So far my Communities posted so much spam and low-quality posts that it flooded my email and my stream.  So much so that they crowded out a beautiful stream until I took action.

I just wanted a way to keep like circles/contacts/posts together when I want to concentrate on that theme or group.  For instance I have entirely different friends in a circle for Geeks than in one for Japan Photographers.

So, if communities are "the future" of G+, I'll have to wait to see if the implementation features are improved.  Thanks for posting this and I'll follow up with other posters and posts here.
 
+Fraser Cain I haven't read anywhere that 'the decision has been made', so I'm hoping that Communities are just one of many steps in the development of the interest graph. Do you know different?

Both features have overlaps but in some important ways can't substitute for the other. 
 
Hm. If I view my profile and view it as someone else not part of the community I posted to (using the view as feature) I still see the posts.

Because of that I assumed that all community posts were also public posts. If that's not the case I'll stop posting to communities altogether because everything I post I want to appear in my stream. Communities are always optional targets.

In short: Google has to allow us to target public + communities. At least if they want me to bother to use them.
 
+Bj Bolender I think most people are going to wait. And I think they're going to regret that they waited. It's better to get started now and work through the issues as Communities evolve.
 
+Rob Ferguson No, I don't know any different, but that would create an overlapping feature set. I think they're trying to make G+ more simple, not more complicated.
 
+Stefan Hacker This is the core issue I'm talking about. People don't want to post to Communities because they don't want to turn their backs on the followings they've already created. But the people who have you in circles don't want to see everything you'd like to talk about.

Post topic specific stuff into Communities and then put general interest stuff into your public stream.
 
One thing that is big for me is that photographers are splitting their shared photos with some into streams, some into Communities and then some into BOTH.  There were many many times I kept seeing the same image in my stream.  And then too, photographers don't have an easy way to post the same image into the Community unless they upload it again if it was previously in a post.

Maybe it is only artists and photographers who are having some of the major issues with the implementation of Communities?  I like the idea of conversation threads within a Community but so far the active communities post soooo many photos and conversation replies that we really see the problems immediately with this implementation of Communities.
 
+Bj Bolender No, the photographers are trying to get the benefits of Communities without losing their public followers. Double posting is a mistake. Only make one post, either to a Community or into the Public stream.
 
So then the photographers have to choose between letting their "followers" see their images OR only those followers who are in Communities.  To my taste, only the doers not followers are best to join Communities.  For example, those great with Macro images are in a Community for that.  But now to see all the images of a favorite photographer, a follower who does not post quality macro images will also have to join.

And thus, the followers or beginners I've seen posting in Communities are dragging down the quality of the Community images.  Hmmmm.  Trying not to be divisive here, but gosh there must be a way to allow Communities to be very very specific about images that are posted.  A space Community can easily delete posts and members but a photography Community gets massive and the numbers of posts quite unwieldy.
 
+Fraser Cain I love the concept behind Communities. But agree with some others who've said that there needs to be a way to tune what appears in a user's main feed. I'm happy to have notifications on for one if I can turn it off from appearing in my stream. Then I'll see the notification and go check the Community feed.
But right now the larger Science and Space Communities are just drowning my main feed and spoiling my G+ experience.
I'd go further with the feed tailoring too (if the Google gods are tuning in here): I'd allow tuning individual Categories under the Communities to be tuned in or out.
So for instance I'm doing Intro Astro through Coursera right now. Our private community has categories for the homework and others for general Astro posts. I get those elsewhere so would prefer to tune them out and just have the Homework category posts appear in my main feed.
The reason people are flocking to G+ is because Facebook give no control over what appears in their main feed. You can dial individuals back but unless you are seeing them in the first place you can't see to dial them up.
G+ needs to be everything that FB ISN'T, and it will flourish.
The above customisation of feeds will really make Communities sing. Right now though I am considering whether to drop out if the big ones. Including regrettably Space...
 
+Fraser Cain I like to think that if people would disagree with my mix they would simply uncircle me.

Sure. I'd like to offer a way to filter stuff. But communities don't work that way. If people follow you they usually do it because they think what you have to say is interesting. That doesn't mean they want to read all of a fifty thousand members community's stuff. Heck. You can't even assume that they are able/willing to follow which communities you are currently participating in. Even if they could it's not like there's only one community for each topic.

Communities I currently follow mostly exhibit horrible signal to noise ratio to the point I don't bother reading most (the problem you described). I'd be willing to contribute in the form of specific posts I consider interesting for the community but not if that means not being able to reach people who circled me.
 
"Post topic specific stuff into Communities and then put general interest stuff into your public stream."

+Fraser Cain, so I should share my art ONLY in art communities, but not in my public stream?

boggle

What qualifies as "general interest" only?
tim hem
 
+Stefan Hacker  as best as I can make out, if you post to a community, your post will be publicly viewable on your stream, but it wont get fed to the streams of those who circled you - they would have to go directly to your stream to view such posts.
 
+Aaron Wood How you want to mix it up is your call. I'm not forcing you to do anything. I'm saying that I think your Google+ experience will improve if you put your efforts into Communities. Take 30 days, try it out. If it works, great, if not, go back to your old methods.
 
Great post. We're learning as you do, Fraser - really interesting to see what's going on in Space. Thanks for sharing.
 
No, you're not forcing me to do anything.

I already put my effort into my stream over the year and a half I've been here. Now they want us to change gears and use the communities too/instead?

It's a hastily tacked on addition to something they wanted us to use (circles.) Apparently the circle method didn't work out so now it's "community" time.

What's next that they can throw at us?
 
+Aaron Wood Yes, this is where we're going next. This is the feature that G+ should have had right from day 1. The way we were using Circles was a hack to connect with like minded people, but Communities are a better way to do it.
 
+Brian Glick was there any rationale for preventing one from posting to a community and circles/public at the same time? Will it be possible in the future?
 
+Fraser Cain, well you have fun wherever you're going next. Infinity and beyond, or whatever.
 
+Stefan Hacker +Brian Glick I'm not sure about their rationale, but I think that would increase the noise, with repeated posts. We want less noise, not more.
 
+Fraser Cain -- what's the difference between G+ Communities and Google Groups? or any other forums?

forums can valuable, but they're very different from G+ public and circle posts. putting forum-like capability in g+ may mislead a lot of the G+ faithful, not to mention the newcomers. 
 
+V.D. Veksler It's the same functionality fundamentally. It's a way that you can post 10 times in an hour about the latest episode of Walking Dead without pissing off your friends and family who don't care. 
 
so, are G+ communities going to replace google groups? 
 
As a photographer, I have to agree with a lot of what +Bj Bolender has been saying in this thread. Perhaps it's that the moderators of the Photography Communities are allowing way too much spam/garbage, etc 

I find myself not going into the Photography communities any more. 60 plus really poor, "look at me, in skimpy clothes" photos is not helping the community. 

I understand what you are saying +Fraser Cain. Essentially, you are asking us to "take back" communities. But, I don't think I can get behind some of that. Some of the communities truly need to whither and die.

As an aside, I am not sure how effective a community with 10,000 members is. Some of the most effective, and vibrant communities I belong to are 500 or less people. GOOD content, quality discussions (including healthy disagreement and debate), well moderated, and much more respect for each other. 
 
+Fraser Cain your spam whack-a-mole struggles and user banning adventures suggest that actually Communities aren't the be all and end all of interest sharing on Google+. And I don't see why embracing them should mean turning your back on the your own personal following, the benefits of the latter will be too compelling for many to leave behind.

The photographers +Bj Bolender mentioned who double post both to a community and their own followers may be doing us a service. I may want to see Joe Bloggs' train photos in the Railroad community, but others may want to see all of his work via public posts.

It all comes down to having using the right mechanisms in the right contexts. Some of the issues people have with communities are because communities aren't the right mechanism for some of their current uses. They are often being used as an improved workaround for interest sharing, rather than being a true solution.

The complexity and feature overlap arguments against content channels are a bit of a red herring. The benefits of them are too powerful to ignore, and without them the scope and usefulness of G+ will be drastically constrained. 
 
I think this is the first time I've disagreed with you on G+ tactics, Fraser. Even if you get a handle on the spam (which I doubt will happen without technical changes on Google's part), the quality level in communities will be the average of the people in them, while the quality level of the best people in those communities is much higher. I'd rather follow just the best of the best and skip everyone else in the community (I know, I'm being selfish).

By posting to the community, you're diluting your own personal brand. Why not post to both it and your own stream, so that you support the community but the selfish readers who want your stuff without all the extra dross of the community can still have it?
 
+Alan Davidson That's why I'm suggesting a 30-day challenge, not a permanent switch. But I really think the Communities are going to be the primary feature new people joining G+ will be using. And so we as the old guard of G+ need to figure this out and get moving. By posting into Communities and bringing the higher level of quality, we'll create better connections with people who share our interests.

Don't judge Communities based on what they are right now, consider what they'll become 2 years from now.
 
What about pushing G+ to let there be some kind of input for members to comment on posts? As a member, I want the moderators to crack down on the garbage. I know this is a very part time thing for them, so how about some way for members to provide feedback. Perhaps some number of votes down and a comment or post gets put into a moderation cue?
 
+Greg Poulos That would be absolutely fantastic and go a long way to improving things. It should be crowdsourced. This problem has been solved by other communities like Reddit.
 
+Fraser Cain I think in 2 years time we'll have content channels, improved profile functionality allowing us to showcase our various facets (professional, social, interest, G+ local reviews, film and book tastes etc) as the content channels would allow, and communities as a great feature to enter into collaboration or even projects with small groups. 
tim hem
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it seems to be moving the other way on youtube Rob, and thats been around for a lot longer than 2 years - what their issue is with allowing people to browse categories I have no idea, but they clearly dont want you to be able to
 
+tim hem I'm not a hardcore YouTube user, but I am aware of its limitation of one channel per account, and it does make my optimism look like it could be misplaced.

I too don't know what their issue is with allowing people to browse categories. It can't be complexity, after all they allow us to apply labels on Gmail.

A single YouTube channel isn't much use if your two strongest interests are Early Childhood Education and 80s Slasher Movies. I think it's ingrained in human behaviour to classify speech, we want to say the right things at the right time to the right people. If that's not possible, we clam up. Users lose and Google loses. 
 
+Fraser Cain I applaud the effort, and I hope you succeed in making the Space Community into something better. Right now the noise level is very high, and there isn't much that I really want to read. I poke my head in periodically, and what I see is mostly re-shared photos and videos. Three is very little in the way of interesting posts or discussion, so I don't stick around.

I hope you can draw into the Space Community some high quality posters like +Philip Plait and +StarTalk and +The Planetary Society and heck even +NASA and +Astronomy Picture of the Day (APoD).

It would also be nice if you could add a Category for "Featured Content" so we wouldn't have to wade through all the noise to try to pick out the interesting posts.
 
we can now publish to a community, but still miss an easy way to post as GPages+.
I have created many pages to serve specific contents, so that those that follow me, can pin point the exact kind of content.
alas, i cant +1 to a page 
but i can to a community.
i've used one my pages to setup a community and started doing a test by sharing my GReader shared posts there.
it now has a few followers that are more or less active. at least. less noise on my Stream. still, it's not the ideal way to push content, a Page would suit it much better.
 
+Fernando Miguel are you seriously going to start this self-promotion bs in here?
If he can do it, I can do it too.

#captaincanada  is me on google+
i am the king of the internet space
no lies
space king dot net
 
I believe Communities should be SMALL and PAGES should have huge following. Until Google+ allows people to change the privacy settings of their groups and allow community moderators to be able to control who is allowed to post and what types of posts are allowed in communities, a lot of people will not try communities. Also, people are tired of all the post showing up in their regular G+ stream. Most people HATE that posts from communities show up in their regular stream and on their profile "post" section. Maybe a community stream and a community tab on people's profiles with the settings to hide the tab if people choose to do so. I wanted groups on G+ for a long time, but it's extremely hard to get people to join my communities because I'm not a SUL member or an Elite G+ person. I have to work soooooo hard to get the small amount of people in my groups/communities and other people have 2,000K people. I would like to be able to tag communities by a list of major topics and have a good directory of communities so people can have an easier time at searching for communities. 

Also, people lurk in communities. It's hard to get people to post b/c they don't want anything to show on their profile. Some groups that are small would probably like the options to allow moderators to approve posts before they are pushed out to all the people in the community. 

There is no easy way to search for ALL the photos from a community or even a file section for surveys. Communities can't pin posts. Moderators can't notify group members. I like communities but they need a ton of work. I've suggested tons of improvements over and over again. Since I'm a small voice, I hardly think anyone cares what the regular G+ user needs. Again, I think communities should be small and Pages should have had a section for people to write or discuss posts. Some groups don't need to be communities/groups. They should be pages. 

Honestly.. who the heck can handle a community of 3k or 8k or 20k members. That's nutty. 

Groups should be between 10 - 500 members. Anything over that amount is insane. <-- my personal opinion. 
 
+Marc Belley ugh? Self promotion!? I was just stating that Google is promoting Community while losing the ability to improve Pages+ to do exactly the same.
If G+ is meant as a distribution channel and a discussion medium, the best tools have to be used. And I believe Pages+ deserve more attention from Google team. That is all. No self promotion here. I'm sorry if I offended you in any way. It was never my idea, other than to show my POV
 
+Fraser Cain I hadn't been on g+ for months, I'd never found a use for, except the obvious direction that Google will go with favouring it for SEO purposes. As an individual none of my friends were here and stuck with FB. Then they introduced communities and suddenly I have a reason to be here. Communities are brilliant - they are the ability to set up a forum without out the hassle of dealing with the software plus the ease of people finding it and joining. 

+Margie Hearron  speak for yourself - I LOVE that community posts I make show up in my profile - that's where it should show up, so anyone who'd checking me out can see what I'm posting and what I'm about and join the communities I'm in if they have similar interests. It's so much better than circles - when someone follows me - I rarely know which circle to add them too unless they've done a lot of foccused posting, it can be hard to guess their interests. 

I think now that FB is making it harder and harder for pages and groups to have their content show in followers newsfeeds that G+ may be onto a winner here - though I agree a sticky post functionality would be nice, sure it will come, Google has demoed over the last year that g+ is important to them 
 
+Elisabeth Sowerbutts -- I was speaking for myself and what I've experienced with my communities. You don't have to agree with my assessment. I think I have hundreds and maybe thousands of other G+ users that would agree totally with what I said about communities. Let's not tag people and be rude about how they have experienced communities. Thank you.  We are different people and we all will have different perspectives on G+ communities. Ok. Yeah. that's nice and settled. Yay!!
 
+Margie Hearron You're absolutely right, they should have implemented many of these features right away. These problems have already been solved on the internet more than a decade ago.
 
Communities are about communication, dialogues not monologues, people not numbers. Yes, I think they are the way forward. I’m absolutely amazed at how my own +Ireland   community is buzzing already with people chatting away, listening to Irish music, swapping stories, sharing photos, I’m loving it! 
 
One feature of Path I like is that the number of people in your network is capped. So you need to choose wisely. In that spirit Community Admins should have the option of capping the number of members. A drop down option could let you choose between 50 or 500. The result

1. Reduce the number of mega communities that drown out the information with the sheer number of posts.

2. Improve the quality of members and you get quality posts.

I like my film community it's got about 159 onboard its a tight ship but good quality.

I like on Quora that you can vote up (and down) posts. This could work on communities. Also if admins could curate and feature great community posts. I really like communities and the more I think about it I we will circle less and community more in 2013

 
I am not sure I like the cap.

The issue with capping is that sometimes the number needs to be larger. Also, if we did that, I'd want a way for there to be "read only" members. Those that can view and not post. 
 
+Greg Poulos read only members, interesting. If my memory serves me their is a cap on the number of people in your circle. So why not communities? So their is a precedent. 
 
I'm only a complete novice on G+ and I've just started to post fairly recently, but I thought that the only community posts that show up in the main stream are those from peopĺe which you have in your circles. At least that's how it is working on my G+ account, and I think it's the ideal way. So, if I post something in a community, everybody who already has me in their circles is going to see the post in their stream. Or have I completely misunderstood the system?
 
I guess the issue is, who picks the number? 50 is too large for some communities, 500 can be too small for many.

If the goal of Google (after all, as much as we want something, it has to fit Google's plan) is to make G+ the Social stop for all instead of all other social media, then, it needs to be usable for us all. A cap means that we cannot build a community, long term. It means we have an end, as opposed to having a goal to strive for.
 
+Guido Bibra thats incorrect. If someone posts in a community you belong to, no matter if they are in your circles, it will show in your stream
 
+Greg Poulos That's strange - if this would be the case, my stream should be full of community posts, but it isn't. I see just the community posts from people in my circles. I wonder what's going on there, some kind of malfunction?
 
No idea. I have very few in my circles. 
Yet, many things show up in my stream.

Could be that the groups you post in are not showing publicly. Or some other setting...?
 
Well, I'm in the big Photography Community and the HDR Community, amongst some others - I already had some of the members in my circles and their posts from the communities show up in my stream, but no others. Although I don't know if their community postings would show up in my stream if I wasn't a member of that particular community. But I think this is exactly how it should be and I wondered why everybody was complaining...
 
I utterly disagree with you, +Fraser Cain and I seriously hope your predictions will be proven wrong as I find communities anathema to the G+ experience. If I wanted the community function, I'd go to the hundreds of already existing online forums, each with thousands of active members. I'm here because I'm interested in people, not topics, and I don't want to scroll through contributions from tens of people I've got no interest in just to see the posts from people I've already circled.

The most important thing here is that communities are severely restrictive. I follow people because I want to hear everything they have to share and say. If I go to communities, from the outset I'm saying I only want to hear about X, Y and Z. I don't. I want to hear about things I don't usually think of, or have never even heard of before, and that will only happen if I can follow interesting people.

If communities rule, I'll have no reason to stay. 
 
P.S. In case I didn't state it clearly enough, I want to rebut you quite directly in saying that this is nothing to do with followings, this is a more fundamental concern about effective, enjoyable, open-ended content discovery. 
 
+Callum Hackett You don't want to hear everything I have to say on every subject. For example, do you really want to hear me ranting about the weather in my small town, or 10 posts about the latest episode of Walking Dead? You'd probably remove me from your circles pronto.

So, I'm stuck being the space guy. If I post stuff that isn't about space, or Google+, I get complaints.

Why go to other places on the internet when I can turn G+ into the mother of all forums?
 
Is there a chance you live in my small town, +Fraser Cain ? 'Cause, then I'd listen to the weather. But Walking Dead?, No... that's crossing the line into 'spam' (Don't tell my wife I made a joke about Walking Dead, please)
 
+Greg Poulos Exactly, so we'll talk about the weather in the Community we share, and your wife and I can talk about Walking Dead without judgement.
 
(without judgement?)
Me thinks, thou dost not know me very well!
 
BTW, I have some former work colleagues/friends based in Burnaby! Hearing the weather means I can ask them about the 'nasty rain last night', etc!
 
+Greg Poulos --I just gave example numbers. The numbers could be lower or higher. The moderators could determine the max. But anyways groups are usually smaller and Pages usually have bigger following that may or may not allow page followers to post. Facebook does it better. They even have group chat and you can message all your members. It is really ok to admit that FB did a better setup with groups and learn from the parts they got right and the parts they messed up.

(general comment to everyone) Please be respectful and don't mention me in Facebook hate. I think any social networks can learn from other networks. Most of the UI on G+ right now is from http://Chime.in (and FB) and I mentioned that network(chime.in) to G+ over a year ago. I wanted G+ to have similar features but not the look of that network.
 
One more thing: Communities that have members approved by Owner/moderators more than likely will have better quality comments and posts. (Those groups can determine a limit on members or cap their members. They choose who they allow as members.)
 
+Fraser Cain You're right, if you posted like that, I wouldn't circle you, but that's not how the most interesting people post. The alternative to specialisation is not inanity - typically, the people I follow devote 80-90% of their stream to a particular subject, e.g. space, but then spend 10-20% of it bringing up other things, say art, politics, media, or just other science. They don't waste it talking about trivial things. If we all devote ourselves to communities, we will lose that 10-20% of unpredictable variety unless we join so many that it is overwhelming and we never see everything from the people we're most interested in.

But let's say there has to be compromise - what are we getting from communities in return for this sacrifice? We're getting spam, we're seeing our favourite posters buried, we're seeing comment threads getting long and out of hand, and all that's in the best managed communities, so the inanity you're afraid of is hardly mitigated. Where's the good stuff I'm missing that I positively cannot get from people-centred circles? Even by calling yourself the space guy, you've practically set yourself up as a person/community hybrid without the need for the siphoning off of content that communities are sadly fostering. 
 
+Callum Hackett That's why I'm encouraging the elite, long time Google+ users to make the Communities better. You can't hang back and criticize them, you have to wade in and make high quality posts that push up the signal and push down the noise.
 
+Fraser Cain But when people-centred circles were working perfectly well before, why should people want to make a special effort with a mediocre functionality that offers no significant advantages? Perhaps you can help me out a bit - I never wanted or even considered a community function, but you suggested people have been asking for it for a while. Exactly what is it that people want out of communities that they couldn't otherwise get? 
 
Agree, +Fraser Cain  to a point... I'd like to wade in, and push the signal up. BUT, I want G+ to provide a way to minimize the noise.
 
+Callum Hackett - I get more interaction in communities than I ever did on posts in my regular G+ stream. Communities are great for people like me that don't have 50,000+ followers. Communities that are small are great to get posts seen by a group of people that care about the topic. The topic can't be so broad that anything goes and it can't be so narrow that you have exhausted the conversation about said topic. I don't think people put enough thought in the name and description of their communities before they allowed members in them. Now a lot of communities are overrun by spam and crappy sub-par quality posts. 
 
Thanks, +Margie Hearron I hadn't thought of that. In that case, is there not an argument for the most highly followed people on G+ staying away from communities? What benefit is there to them, or to the people who already follow them? Perhaps communities should just be the province for people who otherwise wouldn't be noticed. 
 
+Callum Hackett This is what will happen. The old timers aren't willing to step away from their big followings to contribute to communities. So we'll get the public posts from established veteran G+ers and gongshow Communities with the spammers and new G+ users.

So, established users need to be willing to step away from the old way of doing things and embrace a new way. I've got more than 640K circlers, so I'm taking as big a risk as anyone.
 
Well, I'll watch developments with interest, but I'm still concerned about the nature of content discovery and do not see how G+ will be any different from online forums.. Thanks for the discussion anyway! 
 
+Suggested Users List I think it'll be a blend. It all depends on the quality of the Communities. If they're great, people will flock to them. If they suck, people will avoid them. But it'll take people willing to take risks to make the Communities great.
 
+Fraser Cain Since some people have a zillion followers, of course it matters not if they end up joining Communities.  When you have far far less, but they are valuable and quality is good for you and your purposes, it is hard to think of "taking a risk".  It is not a risk to try to increase your quality of communications with others, but it is a risk to fall away from your present and happy stream as it is.

Were I here for the purpose of commercial endeavor or public acclaim,. sure the Communities would be a good thing.  But that's not where I am at.

What I will regret is that my discovered contacts in Science of all sorts and those who have esoteric fields of study will "disappear" to me into Communities.  There is now no way to "discover" people other than use of tags and to follow posts where interesting folks make powerful comments.  Once those folks put their efforts to Communities and not their streams,. there would be a distinct draining of quality throughout G+.
 
+Bj Bolender I think it's just the opposite. I see the communities as a place that concentrates good people into one place, so you can skim through and collect them for your circles so easily.

You could go into the Astrophotography community right now and create a much better circle than the feeble 60ish people it took me almost two years to pull together. It's a massive time saver.

In the end I think there'll be a balance, between public posts in the stream and community involvement. People will gravitate to their natural happy place. But I want to encourage people to try out Communities - give them a chance before writing them off.
 
I've been drawn back to this conversation as I've been thinking about it some more. +Fraser Cain, even with your dedicated efforts, the Space Community is currently averaging 276 posts per day. To someone who goes looking for all kinds of content all across the web each day, it's unappealing to be presented with 276 posts on a single topic to wade through, so there's no avoiding the fact that I will not see many things I would find interesting, while I will see a lot of unappealing stuff. One of the reasons why I like G+ so much is precisely because I have been able to slowly cultivate a select group of friends who I can have thought-provoking conversations with, without regard for how many people are watching.
 
+Alan Kerlin - I respectfully disagree with you about Facebook. You have tons of control over what you see in your newsfeed. You can hide people from the Newsfeed. You can subscribe to only photos or only status updates or only videos or "likes or comments" any combination. You can block apps or hide applications. You can get notifications from when a friend posts. You can hide people in the newsfeed and then place them in Interest lists (which can be shared to your FB friends) or you place people in custom Friend lists (you can post to these like you post to circles). You can Follow or Unfollow a post you haven't commented on on Facebook. You have settings that allow you to tweak your Newsfeed. There are more settings on Facebook to tweak what you see than what we have on Google Plus. 

Google Plus has hangouts. :-) 
 
+Callum Hackett I suspect the 276/day is pre-filter. We're allowing 1-2 posts to slip through per hour.

I currently see the Space community as a magazine, and my role as a managing editor, using my judgement to decide what makes the cut and what doesn't. 

I'm doing everything I can to encourage better behaviour, but I'm not super concerned with letting everyone have a voice. That's what the public streams are for.

But I think you underestimate my imagination and willingness to make the Space community become something amazing. We're seeing glimpses of it already, like a tinder that's just starting to catch fire.

Judge the experiment after a year, not after 3 weeks.
 
The issue is that we can't autopost content from blogs, etc. to Google+ Communities via RSS feeds. Other platforms--twitter, facebook, linkedin--allow for RSS posting...why should we waste our time "manually" posting content to G+? The idea is to post it once somewhere and then have it distributed to the outlet of your choice.

For those that say, "G+ Community is not an outlet, it's a watering hole, a place to gather," we all live busy lives and can't spend our time on G+ 100% of the time simply because Google won't take care of the APIs for others to connect to.
 
+Miguel Guhlin Can you imagine the scale of the spam problem if people could autopost to G+ from RSS feeds, etc? Yikes. 

Then I would throw in the towel.

I want those spammers to have to waste their precious time posting the crap by hand, so I can delete it.

If we let it autopost, it'll eventually be robots talking to robots.
 
+Fraser Cain I certainly don't want to judge communities too quickly, and I even made my own specialised one to see how things go. But just as we should give them time to grow, I would equally say that you should not be so quick to embrace them with such unreserved enthusiasm while characterising the 'old' method as out of touch! ;)
 
+Callum Hackett I just think it's important to embrace change. And the main complaint I'm hearing is not that the feature sucks. If Communities existed from day 1, we'd be all over it.

The main complaint is that people don't want to step away from their existing followers. They don't want to lose their existing engagement.

But I'm seeing that there are brand new friends to be made in the Communities. The trick will be to find that exact right balance point between your Communities and your public stream. 
 
I read somewhere that there might be some kind of technical impossibility to it (though that's surely an exaggeration), but I would jump on board in a flash if it was simply the case that I could see everything posted everywhere by anyone in my circles without having to join the same communities. Is that likely to happen in the future?
 
+Callum Hackett That would be pretty great. Some way to make sure you see everything that someone posts, even if they're yapping in communities.
 
See, my beef with it is why do people have to choose?  Why can't I just post to both circles and communities at the same time?  I can't see any compelling reason as to why +Google+ is making the restriction.  You said in the comments earlier that this is something to the effect of "wanting your cake and eating it too".... is there a compelling reason as to why that can't happen?    

I've said this elsewhere in Community-meta posts; I'll say it again: Communities are great for side interests, but when a person is known for what they do, enough to develop a following around the topic, then communities aren't ideal for them.  Take for example my interest in UM football - that's a side interest for me, so posting to a community is great!  But if Coach Brady Hoke were on G+, it would make sense for him to post both publicly about UM football and also to post to a hypothetical UM football community (or communities!).  Take another example of cooking - the video that G+ created to introduce communities was all about a woman who had a side interest in cooking - a place where she could post with like-minded people about a side interest is great!  But suppose Rachel Ray or Guy Fieri were posting on G+?  Again, someone like that would want to post both publicly to their followers AND to relevant communities.  *Why not let them?*
 
There are some people I'd like to follow as experts on the topics they post on, but I'm not necessarily interested in joining the community they post to.  The reason is because then I'm "subscribed" to every other person who also posts in that community.  I like your posts, Fraser, but I'm not willing to wade through the firehose of the Space community - it's just too much to have to look through.  Even if all of the posts are excellent, high quality, and well designed posts, I just don't care to read more than ~4-5 per day.  It is the same thing with some landscape photographers I follow - there are a few I have grown to really admire and I want to see their work, but I'm not interested in every post that might show up in a community like that - it's just too much for me to have the time to wade through it all.    
 
+Fraser Cain +Callum Hackett I'd like that if I could also mute posts from specific communities. If I follow e.g. +Fraser Cain, I should see all of his posts show up in my stream, but when his posts to the Walking Dead community start popping up, I could mute the Walking Dead, and continue to see all the rest of his posts public and community posts.
 
If you are not in the Community that Fraser is in you will not see his "Walking Dead"community posts. Only TOP posts from communities even show up. All posts do not show in the G+ stream of people. 
 
+Fraser Cain "But now the decision has been made, and we're going down this path. Embrace it." - Sorry, but Google does not get a pass on doing naive stuff in social. They clearly are still an engineering company at heart, great at solving problems like Search, Android, and how to scale YouTube. But these are all THINGS. They still don't get how human psychology/behavior scales. You know, human beings...

Every step of the way has appeared haphazard, from 1) the initial #brandgate  and #nymwars  fiascos that gravely damaged the launch good-will/excitement (and especially the former killing off most of the favorable tech news media coverage), then 2) the roll-out of the SUL, partly in response to 1), then 3) the lackluster roll-out of Pages that were basically still-born for all but the SUL-boosted ones.

4) the redesign favoring photo-sharing and Web "meme image" use cases even more than they already were, 5) the similar but even more skewed "Pinterest-ification" redesign of the G+ App, 6) Events-gate (is anyone still using those?), 7) now Communities, once again strangely detached from everything else that has come before. 8) Discovery and Onboarding have also been lacking from day one, with the SUL being an ugly, "hard-coded" hack.

BTW most of these could have been avoided if Google had used the basic tool at their disposal and gotten community input BEFORE taking these steps (this despite the fact that they have made an admirable effort to have their own team use G+ as a Enterprise x Social backbone).

The only way that I see Communites really succeeding would be for Google to course-correct very quickly, and 1) make pushing to the Profile feed a user OPTION (same way that e.g. "In their Circles" users shown on the profile can be turned on/off by Circle), and 2) allow ALL Community posts by people we follow to trickle through to our "Home" main stream (allowing for full discovery), and 3) allow those Community posts to trickle through to our Circles set-ups if we are also members of that Community, which is for now the way it is reserved for the "Home" stream.

This would at least partially satisfy the idea of the following people based on their "Content Channels" as has been requested for a very long time. A sort of Venn Diagram of "I follow user XYZ in principle, and I follow Topic (Community) ABC, so if that user has something to say about it then I most definitely want to hear about it." And if all users knew that 1) their followers could still see all of their activity in their "Home" feed, and 2) the Circles worked as a filter as outlined above, then there would be a lot of incentive to post to Communities, and less to "global" Public posts.

Those could still occur of course, and wouldn't be filtered from your Circles, but they would decrease in number and thus help everyone with filtering. But currently there is next to no mechanism to keep things together and not feel like shouting into a vacuum, or for easy discovery. The only way to approximate what I just described is to massively trim your Circles and "in my Circles" total, and then use the "Home" main stream in this way. Which is kind of what I just did as a general G+ spring cleaning (alas, tons of abandoned accounts once again).

Otherwise one or the other will die off, and so far I've mostly seen "Community Dimes for Circle Dollars" in terms of engagement, so I have my doubts as to whether Communities can make it.
 
i think communities are a wonderful idea, but as you mentioned, +Fraser Cain, they were poorly implemented and there is one thing in particular that will stop me from participating in any community as well as from creating my own ... the fact that everything i post in a public community will automatically displayed on my profile ...

this is an absolute deal breaker for me ... when communities came out i embraced them whole heartedly ... i'd been waiting for something like this for a long time for my chosen sport, finswimming ... i straight away created a community for it and spend several hours, learning, planning, creating categories and writing initial posts for each category so people find their way around the place easier ... when i was finished, exhausted but happy i went back to my profile page to check on things and i saw all them posts clogging up my stream! ... after trying to find out if this could be changed i deleted all those posts and quit communities ...

you see, in my (humble) opinion my profile page is my private page ... i decide what goes on there ... i try to keep it nice and tidy to make it look inviting for anybody who's deciding if to circle me and in what circle to stick me ... suddenly every post i make in a community turns up on my profile page ... i have many interests and would be active in many communities (since i generally agree with you) and create my own, but let me explain why i won't, as long as google won't change this matter ...

just like google i like to compare G+ with sharing in real life ... so let's have a look how we do it in RL and why i can't do that here ... in real life my profile page would be me ... i decide how much of myself i show to the world and what i discuss with whom (circles) ... i then might join clubs where i meet people who share my interests ... a finswimming club, a G+ club, a formula 1 club, a paper model club, etc. etc. ... these would be the communities ... there, in the club environment i'd engage in conversations about the subject of the club ... i'd not then go home and broadcast what i talked about to everybody in my life ... since i'd be in several clubs with various subjects my stream would contain more ballast than anything else ...

i don't know if this has been sorted by now ... i know the issue has been forwarded on to the responsible parties, but since google is rather secretive about their decision making process i don't know if anything came out of it ,.. i was told that posts made in communities can only be seen on your profile page by those who are member of the particular community  ... a test post i did though (you know i like my tests) was visible to people outside the community too ...

i could live with that solution, though i wouldn't like it for aesthetic reasons ... i don't want my profile clogged up with all kinds of stuff ... the ideal solution for me would be that google offers an option to display a community post on your profile or not ... until they come up with something communities are an absolute no-go for me and if i lose out, so be it ...
 
+Jens Graikowski Easy solution for that is to post in Private communities. It's not a great solution, but at least it's a bandaid for now.
 
I post to a mix of public and private communities. So for example if I post to the private online learning community, only those members will see these (relevant) posts on my profile. This has always been an issue where I follow a lot of educators and have previously had no way of viewing education posts only. Now over the last year I’ve got very friendly with a number of these people and I also want to view their posts on other matters so I use circles for this. 
 
+Marc Belley a band-aid isn't good enough for a roll-out at this scale... it's sink or swim. Through this one point alone Google has made people consider their community participation and put a serious damper on things. You don't want a large number of users have a serious misgiving about a new feature, that is madness as it's difficult enough to change ingrained, well-worn (trained) behavior to begin with.

Once again something that could have been avoided had they merely asked... even some of the greatest G+ cheerleaders have found this current state unacceptable for things like Communities in multiple languages they may speak, asf.: They just don't want to clutter up their Profile feed and/or give a misleading impression.

It's not about privacy or absolute discoverability, as Public Communities have by definition Public posts that can be discovered. It is about clutter and Personal Brand presentation, asf.

Here is the comparison I made previously on another thread:
---

"...The equivalent in real world, "atom space" terms to me would be requiring that every single magazine or newspaper/etc. you ever read at the doctors office, or elsewhere, be required to have a replica be stacked formally and visibly in your (front) office, and/or next to your desk. It would produce both horrendous clutter over time, as well as possibly raised eyebrows, and the cause of those needn't be the usual suspects.

The simply trivial or mediocre might suffice to cause an unfavorable first impression. But no one ONLY reads/views TED videos, MIT writings, and Nieman Journo Lab posts... everyone has down-time and hobbyist/less-or-non-serious pursuits.

For example our all friend +... and several others on this thread are into "foodie" pictures, themes, and discussions. Not a problem, but if I were to go to his Profile for the first time and happened to see 5 foodie posts in close succession, I might have (falsely) concluded that he didn't have the most interesting things (to me) to say. And this even though I happen to also be into some gourmet cooking myself.

The whole point of filtering and more importantly SURFACING efforts is to cull more signal from the avalanche of noise. And this is not helpful in that respect. Especially in the semi- to fully-professional environment that is G+."
---
 
+Margie Hearron We were talking about WANTING all of someone's posts showing up in the stream, as +Fraser Cain put it, even if they are off yammering in the communities. If I follow someone, I would like all of their public and community posts to show up in my stream even from communities I don't belong to, with the ability to mute posts from communities that I don't want to see.
 
+Alex Schleber I completely agree. Let's forget that it took over a year for communities to come out, something that should have been there from day 1. They still lack a live chat system akin to large hangouts AND they still haven't implemented a "top post" algorithm because right now noise from bad posts covers the good material.

Communities are lacking basic features that UBB boards figured out in '98. It's quite disheartening to see major failures time and time again with how Google is approaching Google+.

It's like they're trying to fail.
 
+Alex Schleber A sort of Venn Diagram of "I follow user XYZ in principle, and I follow Topic (Community) ABC, so if that user has something to say about it then I most definitely want to hear about it."

That's exactly what I would like to see. I would also like to be able to follow user XYZ in a way that I see all of XYZ's posts in my home stream, even on topics (communities) I don't follow, but with the ability to mute specific topics (communities).
 
+Marc Belley I agree about the noise from bad posts covering the good material in the large communities. You have to wade down through large swaths of junk to try to find the interesting posts, and some really interesting posts have fallen so far down in the stream that you miss them completely. Or you just give up and leave if you don't see something interesting within the first few screenfuls.

It would be nice if there could be "featured content" or sticky posts chosen by the moderators, that would stay highly visible long enough for people to find them. Or posts that would filter to the top based on user feedback (the number of +1's a post receives, maybe).

But I disagree that Google is "trying to fail" here. They seem very receptive to suggestions about how to make G+ better, and are constantly tweaking things. I agree with +Fraser Cain that we need to take the long view, and see how communities are doing a year from now. It's a bit of the Wild West right now, but that's exciting. It means we all have a chance to shape out this all works down the road.
 
+Helen Read - I don't like seeing top community posts at all in my main stream. I wanted them turned off as soon as they started appearing a month ago.

I begged and begged for groups on G+ but I want so much more from communities. I feel like we only got an Alpha version of groups.

I'm kinda tired of talking about it. (Sigh) Maybe in 6 months, G+ will get communities right.
 
+Helen Read -- you need a volume post slider to tone down or turn off posts from communities that you have joined and you want to subscribe to posts from an individual. You can do that with subscription circles but you also need a feature to subscribe to the topics that an individual posts to but G+ doesn't have that type of Chime.in and Pinterest/ Springpad subcribe/follow topic feature.
 
+Fraser Cain I'm trying to understand this issue, but I don't get it yet.
You said there's an advantage to posting in communities in that if you want to talk about something obscure (like "Walking Dead")
you can do so without inflicting that on everyone who fallows you.
But I've just clicked on your name, a stream comes up, and it includes posts to communities of which I am not a member.
Just above this post, for example, is one for a "community moderator's" community about dealing with spam.
So how far do community posts travel?
Is the advantage simply that other's community posts don't jump
into my stream even if I fallow you? or do they?
I'm confused.
 
+Sterling Gawthrop The posts I make into Communities will never show up in your stream unless you're also a member of that same Community. You can always browse my public profile to see what I'm talking about, but you have to actively go looking for it. My activity won't be inflicted on you.
 
Thanks +Fraser Cain that makes sense. I assume that rule would go out the window if I clicked the share button on your post about the "Walking Dead" which you posted in your "walking Dead" community, then it becomes part of the streams at large? So there's nothing really segregating community content from general stream content other then where it first appears (and who you allow in your community)?
 
 
+Margie Hearron I get hardly any posts from Communities showing up in my stream. I'd actually like to see more posts from Communities, particularly from people I already have circled.
 
+Charles Carrigan I agree. That's where I'm concerned about Fraser's move to only post (for example) Space topics in the Space community and not in his public posts. Means you subscribe to the while community, with no way to tune what appears in your feed, or you miss out.
We need to be able to customise whether a community appears in our main feed or whether it is inly there under the communities tab with the activity number showing. then we can go dive in when we want. We also need to be able to select what categories we wish to see within a community in our feed.
Even in this thread there is an amazing divergence in people's ways of using G+. So what will make it succeed is giving us the flexibility to tailor it to the way that each of us want to use it. Otherwise it will end up just like a Twitter feed, with the only way to manage your feed being to drop people. Or communities.
That's what I'm facing right now. It's just too much. I'd truly love to just sit here and absorb all the incredible information, but I have a day job and a family...
 
continued:
To an extent then, this invalidates the argument that communities ruin my ability to fallow interesting people in all their quirky splendor. I would just need to click your name
(for example) and all your posts are still viewable community or no, they just wouldn't all automatically dump to my stream?
 
+Helen Read -- I know what you were discussing. I read all the comments on this post. What I was saying was that I do not want to see community posts in my stream at all. I understand that you would like a subscribe feature that will allow you to subscribe to all of a certain person's posts or all of a certain person's post on a specific topic. I think I gave some suggestions earlier about how one could make that happen and what Google Plus would need to do to make that work. :-)  (Yes, there are subscription circles that work sometimes on Google plus. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. I would rather be able to subscribe to topics by individuals)
 
+Fraser Cain  Communities just don't work that way and they will never work that way unless the community is private because of the way Circles are implemented.

One does not have to be a member of a Community to browse the Community or share a post from the Community into the Public stream or into another Community and that is the way it should be. Otherwise Google would be creating an anti-social environment instead of a social environment and we'd have Communities banning all the Blacks or the Baptists or Dan Fogleberg fans.

If that sort of control over a community is desired, one can always build their own web site and forums and assign moderators to ban those that are unworthy so that their Community might delight in their own little corner of the web.
 
+Dirk Talamasca I think you might be confusing my questions to Fraser with some kind of desire for content segregation on HIS part.
I don't think he's advocating private content.
Just convenience as it relates to your stream.
I'm just trying to figure out the boundaries of the community content and how it will travel. I don't twitter or facebook so I'm not approaching
this as someone with social media savvy.   
 
+Dirk Talamasca I'm suggesting that users try Communities 100%, so they can then figure out the best balance. I use the same method with my kids. They have to at least try food before they tell me it's yucky.
 
+Dirk Talamasca By way of explanation, do you mean that by posting original content to communities people are abandoning the single stream model and that THAT is some kind of content segregation?
But if that is impossible, as you say, because of the way circles are structured then why worry about it? 

Whoa! we're on the ground floor of a new science here-
"Stream Theory"!  our whole reality is shifting, everything we know is wrong. :-)
 
+Fraser Cain The trouble is that many people that I circle have many varied interests and more than one community can exist with a similar theme and topic.

If everyone decides to post into the Community that they feel most comfortable with, I then have to make estimations that Sally Brown will be online at a specific time of day and she will be posting on a topic that I like in a community that we both like.

We may have similar passions in three or four other areas of interest and she may once again post into a community of her own choosing; this time, the community she has chosen may not be the one that I prefer when posting on the same topic so I have to join another community If I want to comment on the things that she posts and vice-versa.

That is Sally Brown sorted. Now I can move on to the rest of my comrades; making notes in their profiles of what Community I might find them in and the dates and times when they are likely to post.

We are both distressed if there is a private community where only one of us is accepted.
 
+Dirk Talamasca But it's going to end up being a balance. If I want to geek out and access the talents of a community, I'll post there. If I want to share stuff that reflects my personality in general, I'll share stuff publicly. We'll figure out a balance. 

But public posts don't let me express myself. I seriously get complaints when I "don't post enough about space". And my friends and family have long since abandoned me because I "post too much about space".
 
+Fraser Cain I totally understand! You want a filter so that you still make Public posts but filter out friends and family.
 
+Dirk Talamasca And this creates an incredibly complicated interface. Can you imagine managing your exact relationship with every and every person? I think that Communities were the simplest possible implementation of this requested feature. It should have been rolled out from day 1.
 
+Fraser Cain I definitely see the complications. I can see how such a filter might be used for abuse. You could simply delegate a group of people as friends and family to prevent them viewing your Public posts and the anti-social aspect that Google wants to avoid becomes the issue.
 
+Fraser Cain +Dirk Talamasca
Okey, now I'm running to catch-up again.
Doesn't having circles already give you the kind of filter Fraser is talking about. Can't Fraser (or whoever) just share space news with his space circle and not his family circle when he posts the post? Also, since he has a "Universe Today" account as well, couldn't you/he simply use that for your/his space posts and reserve your personal account for other posts?
Why use communities to do this?
 
+Fraser Cain I didn't touch on the aspect of some users refusing to use communities, but I have seen that to be an issue; mostly with photographers. It appears many of them remain hesitant and/or are no longer posting at all because of the community tags that are affixed to their work once shared into a community.

They don't feel that they should be forced to endorse one community over another by posting their work into Community X vs Community Y and I cannot say that I blame them.

Some photographers decided to stay on course and post publicly as always but then gave up on that as well. The reason being is that a public post can be shared into a community by anyone and the tag of that community is retained upon successive reshares.

Playing on a scenario, a very realistic possibility exists that someone may have one of their posts passed into a community that they find reprehensible. They may be viewing the public stream moments later or even days later to find their post has been reshared and is resurfacing in the Public stream tagged with a social, religious or political theme that is disturbing to them.

You might argue that we can already do this with others posts by resharing them and including text of our own. But in those instances, it is clear that the additional text is the work of the person resharing the post. A tag, once affixed to a post is persistent and gives no indication that the author of the post desired their post be associated in such a manner.
 
+Sterling Gawthrop Indeed, he can post only to circles that he has dedicated toward certain topics but that limits him from reaching others outside of that circle that may have a genuine interest in what he has to share.

In other words, using circles to prevent friends and family from strangling him over another space post has another set of drawbacks and limitations to overcome.
 
"Until Google+ allows people to change the privacy settings of their groups and allow community moderators to be able to control who is allowed to post and what types of posts are allowed in communities, a lot of people will not try communities."   

very true ... I say this as someone who has been running a site with  forums for many years. 
To me it looks to much like FB pages - another silo that would need to be looked after and no way to federate discussions with my existing forums. (as in posts going both ways - To expect anyone running an existing forum to hand over complete control of who can join/ comment/discuss on their own websites is expecting way too much)
but a lot of us would probably quite happily set up federation between a forum and a G+ community as a nice way for G+ users to participate in discussions if it were possible to do that.
 
I am reluctant to jump in head first for a couple of reasons. One is Most of the Big Names dont want to post and then have to post again to get their current hard earned following to be able to comment. We need a choice to post just to the community or to both public and community.

I currently co-moderate a most excellent community of nearly 13 000 members. We have very little spam. Why? We require approval to join and we check every profile. Yes its work. Yes it works. One of the reasons I dont post more in communities is because of the spam. That is up to the moderators to conrol. We could easily boast about having 20 or 30 000 members or more, but we only approve those profiles that have current relevant personal posts.

Communities create a great place for unique interests, communities that just repeat what I already have in my stream are redundant. I have circles to control the content of my feed. One real pain is I can't even get back to a post through email notification, that just takes me to the community and not the post I'm interacting on. That must be fixed before I even want to post or comment. Scrolling through posts to find where you've engaged is defeating.

Are communities to replace good circle management? I sure hope not. Circles are a brilliant idea that seem too complicated for the average new user.

I'm not trying to be negative. I belong to and moderate a vibrant and engaged community that is doing very well. I also visit a couple more but until some basic functionality is addressed, most of my posts will be in my public stream
 
I can tell that community activity made my stream dry out. If people follow this 30 day invitation probably I will see my images showing up in my stream and only few from others. I don't want to post images for myself :)
I post to daily themes regularly - and I love that system, but to do the same things by joining to several communities.... no.
I liked G+ better without communities.
 
Can someone help me out? If I join a community and post something will it show up in my friends' streams even if they are not in that community? When I view my profile as public it shows posts that I posted in a community. Why is this? I do not want my public profile to show posts I've made to a community.
 
+Barrett Hollis They show up on your Profile but apparently don't post publicly.  Others visiting your profile will see them but may only comment if they are part of that community.  If they area part of that community, they will see it and be able to comment on it in their stream
 
+Ron Clifford Thanks, that's good to know. Looks like I won't be making any posts to communities anymore.
 
+Barrett Hollis You are making the same choice many are.  Would you continue to use communities if you had an option to post publicly OR to post just to the community?
 
+Ron Clifford Absolutely. I really look forward to using them once they fix this problem. At the very least give me an option. That was the reason I came here in the first place, better control over my content.
 
visipix| Maps, Imagery, and Publications
worldwide collection! ...>>> W E L C O M E ..
I am currently looking for new ideas to help keep this
amazing communities organized and flowing smoothly.
I advice my following recommendation:

On your G+ [Intro] Shared with other users > in which
Google+ Photo Communities you take part!

> visipix | Maps, Imagery, and Publications
> visipix | Printerest
> visipix | 500px

Communities for all Google+ members interested
in fascinating Photo Sites worldwide!
Cheers!
+Beat Meier
 
+Michael Shillingford If you saw the kind of stuff hitting the Community, you'd be cheering me on. Seriously, it's internet scams, naked girls, payday loans, etc. All the usually spam. Any community that doesn't manage this aggressively gets overwhelmed instantly, and the whole community looks terrible.
 
+Fraser Cain Just read this post from a share by +WBHPhoenix.  I started 2 communities, and one is doing really well.  The other, however, is a Vancouver, British Columbia community that is pretty much dead.  Any advice on getting this baby ramped up? 
 
+Sally Weatherley You need to get the community to reach critical mass, and that takes reaching out to people one at a time and connecting with them. Once your community becomes the obvious default place to talk about Vancouver, it'll be self sustaining.

Invite me to your community, I'll join it.
 
+Fraser Cain Thanks and that's great advice.  I was reluctant to send invites to people I don't know, for fear of being "spammy".  Appreciate your support and will send you an invite!  Then I think I'll be up to 4 members - ha ha!
 
This has been very helpful. Thanks for the post. I love communities and embraced it right away and saw the potential. I joined two then four now six. They are the areas I love the most and it has made social network fun again. I'm connecting with people who have common interests. Good job on clarifying this +Fraser Cain 
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