Issue 2

Welcome to the second issue of conduit -- an interactive newsletter for individuals interested in online community, the latest trends, news and opinions. It is our goal to bring you the latest information, interesting articles, humorous entries, reader's opinions and the most recent site question and answer.
Thank you for subscribing!! Enjoy!
In this issue of conduit:
1) Featured Question and Answer: "What measures can I use to predict with a reasonable error margin the success of a new/young online community? What are the relevant indicators of future success?"
2) Your Community Answer: "How do you gauge community success?"
3) Community Wire: Community Site Scoops Coveted Web Award
4) Community Voice: "Refereeing the Online World: Dealing with Online Community Difficulties."
Featured Question and Answer
This issue's question and answer addresses the topic of how best to gauge a community's success; "What measures can I use to predict with a reasonable error margin the success of a new/young online community? What are the relevant indicators of future success?"

To view our suggestions, please visit "Gauging Success?" 

~If you are in search of a particular question and answer, please do not forget to check our searchable archive of past question and answers.

Your Community Answer
To share your opinion on how to gauge a community's success, please visit this issue's poll; "How do you gauge community success?"
We want to hear your thoughts so please vote!
Community Wire
Community Site Scoops Coveted Web Award

A local community site in Scotland recently beat off some illustrious
competition to be entitled the Site of the Year in this year's prestigious awards in the UK.
Goliath competition in the form of the BBC, Sainsbury's and Egg was swept
aside in true David style by, because according to
adjudicators it captured the "true spirit of the internet". The site, which
features, news, weather, events, chat and message boards as well as an
ex-pats section, succeeded in engaging with an entire community which
otherwise was impervious to the internet. 
Runners-Up for the Best Community Site award were; and
Congratulations to all!!
For more information on the awards, please feel free to visit;
If you wish to submit an article or comment to be featured within conduit's CommunityWire,  please do so by using our online submission form.
Community Voice

Refereeing the Online World: Dealing with Online Community Difficulties.
If you have ever read the article by Joe Queenan in the November 27, 2000 issue of Forbes ASAP, you will have found that he ranked being a "chat room monitor" as one the "Five Crappiest Tech Jobs". He said, "Being a chat room monitor is like being a referee in a basketball game pitting inmates from the local prison against inmates from the local insane asylum. Ostensibly, your job is to ensure that a civilized level of discourse prevails in an environment dominated by perverts, sociopaths, lunatics, and teenage boys. It's like trying to referee a polite nuclear war."
Has it truly come to this?
It's true, being a community moderator or community manager is a difficult job from time-to-time. Dealing with disagreements, deleting posts or removing boisterous members from a chat room does not immediately strike one as a fulfilling set of responsibilities.  However, if it were not for community managers and moderators, community sites would lack dimension and quality content. They would not be safe and viable environments for communication. In a nutshell, online communities would fail miserably without the presence of individuals who dedicate their time and passion towards building engaging and respectable places for like-minded people to share thoughts and ideas. Despite having to take control of difficult situations, moderators and community managers often gain immense respect, forge great friendships and have a lot of fun through their participation and evident care for their community.
OK, so what do you do when you feel as if you are standing in mid-court watching the asylum patient bite the ear of the prison inmate? Rest assured there are constructive and even fun ways to deal with online difficulties between members.
First, it is important for the moderator/community manager to stay as calm as possible. Stepping away from the computer before dealing with a caustic situation often helps to provide a clearer and calmer perspective. The more levelheaded a moderator/community manager remains, the easier it will be to deal with any difficulties that may arise in a constructive way. It enables concentration on the issues rather than the personalities, and it also sends out a message that discussions can and should be conducted in a calm manner.
Second, and in conjuction with remaining calm, is remembering to deal with issues proactively rather than reactively. We all know when someone comes into our space and makes a mess of it, causing disturbances and throwing toys about, the knee-jerk reaction is often to throw some toys back at them! "Knock the crap off. If you cannot behave in my community, I will kick your backside out of here!" While that may feel great in the short-term, it certainly will not help diffuse the situation - most likely it will inflame it. Instead, one should assume that the person is simply having frustrations or is seeking some attention and that the moderator/community manager is going to do their utmost to help them get over it. Remember, it is OK for a moderator/community manager to let members know that they understand their difficulties, that it is acceptable for members to share, but it is not acceptable to take those difficulties out on others. It is paramount to make that clear in a consistent fashion to any disruptors.
Third, one should be positive and have fun. Fun is contagious; if the moderator/community manager is having fun others will want to participate. Have you ever noticed that it is really hard to be in a bad mood when someone around you is upbeat?  It's also very difficult not to laugh when someone else is making light of things. One should see the difficulties as a challenge that can be conquered and have fun turning them around! There are great rewards all-round when a previously difficult community participant becomes an active and positive contributor.
Of course, if all else fails and troubles become serious and hard to manage despite the most valiant attempts, it is then time to use administrative powers. If a moderator or community manager must do so in the form of a deletion or a ban, it is important that feel they have tried all they can to avoid the option, and are doing what is best for the community and its members. Being firm, but fair, and above all consistent will help to resolve the issues at hand. In addition, a moderator or community manager should use the opportunity to educate the troubled member by letting them know what they did and what is expected, in the form of an e-mail communication making reference to community guidelines or other terms of service where appropriate. The moderator or manager should also signal that they are there and willing to help. One will often find that the most troubled member, when approached constructively, will turn their behavior around and become a member who helps uphold the sanctity and peace of the community.
Community moderators and managers, at their best, have their bad days and show their feelings, and in many senses they are unsung heroes and heroines because of that. However, when push literally comes to shove they should be able handle the difficulties thrown at them with visible character, a sense of fairness and positive approach. Their skills should be valued, for their presence makes successful online community what it is: interesting, engaging and involving, and above all, a place where whistles are not heard at every turn and where sin bins are not necessary!
You can contribute to and gain valuable insights by asking a question right now:

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