You want to build an online community but you don’t know how to guarantee your success? You can always take a page from history and emulate the shrewd dictators who managed to create a mass of people who followed their dictates blindly, even though most of them violated legality, decency and even common sense. Every dictator in history from Napoleon Bonaparte to the little Austrian-born lunatic with the funny moustache who turned out to be anything but humorous has used this ploy to great success, and that’s only because it works. This strategy can be summed up as the “persecution” angle. If you can identify a group of people who feel outraged against any particular real or imagined slight, whether it be discrimination against 600+ lb. airline passengers trying to squeeze their ample behinds into a 16.5 inch seat or feline lovers who take offense to common sayings which condone cat abuse such as “more than one way to skin a cat” or “you can’t swing a cat in here”… then you’re well on the way to your creation of a community of extremely active and possibly even enraged individuals. It may be unfair, but hey, it works!

Locate an unserved oppressed group
The preferred way to become a persecuted community’s lightning rod is to capitalize on a deep vein of pre-existing frustration and seething anger. As the community leader-to-be you have to identify the policy or situation which is triggering the bellyaching among a minority sizeable enough to form the basis of your community. If you pick something that only affects a very small number of people, such as the lack of properly hued cosmetics for Albanian albino supermodels, you’re likely going to not attract flies. However, if your community is built on too broad a base such as the American citizens affected by age discrimination in the workplace, then your efforts are already duplicated elsewhere by other community builders who have a much greater resource budget than you will ever have. The keys to becoming a successful lightning rod is to locate an unserved or completely underserved group of people who feel that they are being oppressed for whatever reason by some force outside of their individual control, and then wave the banner of obtaining justice by banding together with your community as the primary driving force.
A place where they can wail Woe Is Me
Keep in mind that you don’t have to guarantee that your group will actually achieve justice as that may very well be outside the capacity of any community leader, all you have to do is to provide them a forum to air their grievances and commiserate with like-minded individuals. If your community is based on the left-handed people who are outraged by the positioning automotive shift levers on the right side of the driver you don’t actually need to petition the United States government to facilitate the sale of British or Japanese imports with the entire driver control array in the right-hand side seat. All you need to do is to provide that translucent level of activism wrapped around the essential value of your community which is to serve as an online version of group therapy. Giving the members of your community a place where they can wail “woe is me” to sympathetic ears is the fundamental building block to the desired critical mass achievement of a community.

It may seem unfair to target a group of people who have a somewhat legitimate grievance without any realistic expectation of ever “righting the wrong” but many other communities numbering in the millions have done just that. Anyone who has been an American for more than a week has to realize that there will never be a day when the very last gun on the continent is crushed into a billet but that doesn’t stop the anti-gun groups from organizing en masse. Similarly, all of the popular anti-carbon efforts will never achieve a day when all transportation is by bicycle. Provide an online location where people can champion their cause celebre and you’ll become the leader you’ve dreamed you can be.