Causes of inactivity
“Know your enemy” as an old saying goes. If you want to use the right tool to counter inactivity, you will first have to find out what causes the inactivity and in which area. An example: if your clan members barely visit your clan website and forums, countering this with organising an internal ladder is not the best option: they won’t read the announcement for it. Better it would be to contact a few randomly selected members on an instant chat programme, i.e. MSN, ICQ and the like, and see what his or her personal interests are. With that knowledge, you will be able to group your clan members based on common interests. Thus starting a few forum topics which are related to their common interests usually cures the forum inactivity. Fact is: you will have to be creative to find the cause of an inactivity. Chances are slim a member will come to you with the message: “hi, you can cure my inactivity by installing a blog for me.” If it would only be so easy… 😉
10 tips to keep your clan active
This is probably the part of the text you are actually looking for. However, I would suggest reading this entire article as I cannot guarantee the following 10 tips will work if you simply use them as misguided missiles.
1. Host internal tournaments or ladders
Usually a never-ending, member-only ladder can be used as a preventive measure against inactivity. It keeps both the clan activity in-game and on-site — i.e. clan website — stable. This because members will play ladder games whenever they please, they will upload the result of the match as a recorded game, and they will comment on each others performances, strategies and the like.
2. Have weekly meetings with members
Many clan leaders underestimate the power of common conversation. Having a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with your clan members in a chatroom can do a lot of good to the morale — not to mention the sense of unity — amongst the participating members. Of course, you ought to invite your clan members on a voluntary basis. Try publishing the invitation for such a meeting on a place which your clan members visit often. I.e. if they do not check forums often, use word-of-mouth instead: tell one member you organise a meeting, and he will spread the word to fellow clan members he encounters. Have such a meeting in a chat program or teamspeak, I personally prefer teamspeak above a chat window with my clan members as it raises the “sense of communicating with another human being” rather than reading some text off a chat window from a complete stranger.
3. Have on-going topics in your forums, i.e. “forum games”
Having one or, if you like, a few on-going topics in your clan forums usually causes both site visitors and clan members to return. Just Google for the words “forum games” and you should be finding yourself an ocean of examples. Just to pick one for the lazy ones out there: the never-ending story. One person posts a few lines of a made-up story, the next poster continues the story with his own few lines. This goes on and on. Not only this measure is considered fun by forum junkies and spammers — i.e. people who post awfully much — it also gets your clan members an opportunity to work together on something.
4. Have surveys and discussions
Not every clan leader is as talkative as your aunt is. For those who have no clue on how to start a conversation on a chat programme with your fellow clan members, a survey can be the solution. You could use a survey or a poll to find out what your members like, dislike, adore, hate and the like. All you have to do is create the poll, and design the voting options. If you are not familiar with creating an effective poll, then I would suggest to keep it basic. Give your voters three options: black, grey and white. Black being the hate or disliking something, grey being neutral about the issue, and white being a fan or in agreement of the matter at hand respectively. With polls you can usually launch a discussion to sort out why someone voted on a certain option. This deepens out the poll and can get you valuable information as a clan leader on the likes and dislikes of your clan members. Just make sure the discussion does not go off-topic, though!
5. Encourage the creation of interesting articles
This one sounds harder than it looks like. What it basically comes to is that you reward the members which are active in the game the clan is involved in. Active clan members have their own play-style: they have considerable knowledge of the game they play, they know strategies, tricks and the like. Why not design a system which rewards those members by sharing their knowledge with their fellow clan members. The reward can be a small token of appreciation — usually this already is enough. Its kind of hard to describe, so you will basically have to see for yourself. For Legio Romana, I have such modest award system in place. I combined the Guild Roster with it. A member gets a “medal” next to his name for forum posts, articles written and other in-game achievements depending on the game your clan caters to.