I’ve joined my fair share of communities the last 3-4 years. The storyline is the same: A handful of intelligent people come along excited to connect with one another and make an impact.

The community thrives at first as anywhere from 8-25 people start the same old topics you always see… What books have you read lately? What steps do you take to become an entrepreneur? What would you tell a recent graduate?

More people start to come along. They want to talk about the same old topics with the same old comments. The early influencers are bored of those topics. The community starts to get too big. Nobody is capable of effectively creating sub-groups/forums/topics. The noise is overwhelming.

The profiles remain, but there’s little incentive for people to stick around once they’ve outgrown most of the topics. Some communities would argue that fluidity is good, that their members are up, etc. etc. — but the old guard is long gone.

This is why people like Scoble love Quora & Google+ before those services start becoming more mainstream. Sure, maybe part of it is that the circle jerk feeds their ego, but I suspect it’s primarily because the value:noise ratio is pretty awesome before all the “Internet Marketers,” “Social Media Gurus,” and “New Media Consultants” infiltrate.

The community I want to join has the following:

  • A very simple platform.
  • A set # of smart people. Start it relatively small 12-15. Don’t let it grow above 50.
  • A required level of activity. If you don’t make 3 posts a week, you’re out.
  • People from varying backgrounds, but a high percentage of up-and-comers learning together and from one another.
  • Some element of game mechanics.
  • Notifications… that can be turned off.
  • A barrier to entry. An application, a monthly $$$, etc.
  • A dedicated community manager that makes sure every thread has at least once response.

What else would you add? The closest I’ve found to a community like this is the comments sections of some very good blogs.

I genuinely want to have smart conversations with smart people. And I don’t want those conversations spread out all over Facebook and @replies. I want them archived nicely on a forum where I can re-visit them whenever I want.

Does this community already exist? Point me to it. If not, who’s going to build it? You?