I got really lucky. As Postman’s technical community manager for the last year, I’ve had the honor of managing an active, healthy, and kind community. The Postman community has been welcoming and warm to me, so I want to share a bit about our official Postman Community forum. Maybe you’ve been unaware of the online forum; maybe you’ve dropped by to search for a question here and there; or maybe you’re reading this post already a super active member like Valentin Despa.
Forums themselves fall into two broad categories: community forums and support forums. Support forums are often staffed and tightly managed by companies, with limited community input. Community forums may be highly moderated but are typically peer-to-peer interactions. Postman Community is a hybrid—employees help voluntarily, not by assigned shift, and our Community members truly do answer each other’s questions, interact with one another, and form friendships. These peer-to-peer relationships are what make the Postman Community special.
Everyone has their reasons for visiting a forum. Support for specific work tools? Yes. A sense of community and belonging around a common interest? Yes (I’m part of a forum for fans of tarantula spiders). Finding content to grow personal or professional skills? Yes.
In my time here at Postman, I’ve noticed a few archetypes on the Postman Community forum. These general categories of how members participate and their subcategories aren’t linear, but all are necessary for the forum ecosystem to thrive. Which type(s) are you?
1. The first-timer
This is the brand-new forum member: Consider this an invitation to swing by if you haven’t already. If you’ve never been to the Postman Community forum before, you can log in or sign up here using your Postman login. When you visit, here are three things to check out:
- The “Just getting started” category page is a warm, safe place to ask beginner questions. No shame, only help!
- You can get help directly on your collection by using public workspaces. There are so many people providing code samples that it spawned its own public workspace: Postman Answers.
- The Community showcase category page is full of collections, blog posts, and videos for the community, by the community.
2. The seeker of help
Most Postman Community members come to the forum because they are actively looking for help with a specific issue. Beyond one-off help, their questions serve as a repository for answers, get conversations going, and bring issues to the attention of the Postman team. They also guide our FAQ material, such as the Postman Answers public workspace. Here are a couple different subcategories of this member type:
- The One-Post Stand: Sometimes you get stuck. A certain problem is tricky, something just isn’t working, or you don’t know where to go from here. We’ve all been there. You come to the forum to ask one specific question and might not return regularly.
- The Repeat Visitor: When a forum has proven useful, you then know where you can go and what kind of help you can get from other real humans. You might recognize some of the key players.
3. The casual Q-&-A-er
This is the Community member who occasionally drops into the forum, asks their question and answers another, and then leaves again—and they are absolutely crucial to the forum ecosystem. These users offer a diverse perspective and lift the pressure off of the forum MVPs and Postman staff. Brief, occasional interactions keep the momentum going. Their topics and replies are like arteries, keeping the lifeblood of the Community forum pumping:
- The Fly-By Visitor: Comes to the forum to ask a question and addresses something they can answer easily; might have some insight on threads they read. They might see something pop up on the recent posts list and take a peek. There is an air of reciprocity–”I got my questions answered, so I’ll chime in for one too.”
4. The highly involved regular
And then there are the Community forum members who keep coming back regularly. These relationships build organically, and they wax and wane. Some days, you’ll log on and see the same profile picture answering all the recent posts, and other days you’ll see a mix of people. When very active users take a step back, others step up to carry the torch. These MVPs feel a sense of ownership in the Community.
- The Knowledge Sharer: Our highly active Community members follow the ethos of “each one teach one.” Every single person that I’ve talked to volunteers their time for this reason first. Regardless of secondary motivations, lending a hand to fellow developers drives these users. We all know the feeling of getting stuck and hitting a wall. Digging through old threads, finding only semi-relevant answers from 2016 on an eliminated feature, knowing you’re close but not quite there yet—these can all be super frustrating. Peers helping peers is a large part of what makes the forum an actual community.
- The Relationship Builder: Being a leader in the Community forum means you meet people. Your network grows and you establish yourself as an expert. If you’re a regular on the forum, you’ll see familiar profile pictures and names. These relationships can move beyond the forum to social media, events, and sometimes true friendship. When looking for job opportunities, or asking for a promotion, having proof of your expertise, and a network of contacts, helps.
- The Challenge Seeker: Honestly, sometimes work gets boring when you reach a plateau with your knowledge and interest. You want to level up your Postman game. Helping others on the Community forum is like solving a puzzle: You get the reward of figuring out the answer and sharpen your Postman knowledge along the way. Knowing what you can do with Postman opens doors to be better at your job, too–you don’t know what you don’t know–and you ultimately build self-confidence.
Come hang out at your own pace
Sure, there are many clichés about community, like “It takes a village.” But it’s true—a community is stronger when it comprises all of the above types of contributors. Choose your own adventure when participating in the Postman Community forum, and know we’re always here for you.
What do you think about this topic? Tell us in a comment below.