TownHall

The anonymous board for your company (on web and iOS)

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3921
Tony ShengMaker@tonysheng · Author and Creator
Hello, cofounder here. We released our iPhone app last week. Eager to answer any questions. TownHall is where employees can share openly with their coworkers and leaders can see what their people really care about. People use it to share funny stories, ask questions, comment on company news, and give their feedback. Posts are only visible to users from the same company. Thanks for taking a look!
18280
Chris Messina@chrismessina · Product designer & entrepreneur
This is what Secret was doing with Dens. How does this differ? Why do you think you'll succeed where Secret didn't? TownHall looks a lot like YikYak; perhaps you can provide some insight into some design choices you made that differentiate you from the more general purpose competition?
3921
Tony ShengMaker@tonysheng · Author and Creator
Hey @chrismessina! We don't know a lot about why Dens didn't work, but from what we understand, a big part of it was bad content. TownHall is very young but the culture of our communities has been constructive. Can't say for sure, but perhaps its the context of an app specifically for work versus a consumer app with a work feature. I think success will come if we can keep content constructive and engagement high. As for design, we have additional content types like memes and polls, a sandwich menu to support more ways to filter content, and our communities are organized by company and not location. As we continue to understand our user needs, our design will evolve to meet them.
200892
Jiang LinMaker@jianglin612 · Founder
Adding to it: Our philosophy was to keep it simple and clean and make it as easy as possible for the user to post and view content, rather than go for fancy animations, etc. Thus, by design, we took many elements from popular sites that users were familiar with, to make the switch as easy as possible.
18280
Chris Messina@chrismessina · Product designer & entrepreneur
@tonysheng cool, thanks. How do you maintain the culture of your communities, when your profiles are anonymous?
3921
Tony ShengMaker@tonysheng · Author and Creator
@chrismessina positioning and moderation tools (e.g. flagging) but it's mostly self organized. I think the natural behavior is actually not negative for the work context.
3899
Sam Houston@samhouston · Senior Community Manager, Bugcrowd
How do you plan to limit or protect the communities from bullying and other negativity. With the shared context of a company, it's actually pretty easy to direct a comment at an individual without saying their name (Ex: "The guy giving today's meeting is still in the closet"), which can cause a lot of issues. How do you plan to stop this behavior?
3921
Tony ShengMaker@tonysheng · Author and Creator
Hey @samhouston! We have some basic moderation tools that enable users to flag offensive content. Enough flags or downvotes and the posts disappear. We're also looking into some NLP stuff to automatically flag proper nouns and stuff like that but haven't had a strong need for it yet.
3899
Sam Houston@samhouston · Senior Community Manager, Bugcrowd
@tonysheng As you guys scale and get into different companies or groups of people, you'll start to see moderation issues. At least that's what I've seen in the past, because that sense of what's right and what's wrong (in terms of content) starts to get lost on newer users. I wish you luck. Moderating this sort of content is extremely difficult and time intensive, and this particular product could run into problems with companies/HR departments that don't want people saying bad things about each other, leaking private things, etc. Finding where you want to draw the line for your content policy is hard, but it's worth building a robust moderation policy and system and I urge you to do it sooner rather than later :) Good luck!
3899
Sam Houston@samhouston · Senior Community Manager, Bugcrowd
@tonysheng You may also want to look into staggering out posts over time, to help preserve anonymity of the poster/to cut down on the ability to talk about something in real-time. When people can post anonymous stuff and people see it immediately, it creates an opportunity for people that share that same context (work, location, friends, etc) to know what you're *actually* talking about, even if you're using coded language that a 3rd party might not understand.
200892
Jiang LinMaker@jianglin612 · Founder
@samhouston Hey Sam, thats a really clever thought which we hadn't though about doing yet. Thanks for the feedback, we'll definitely consider it!