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
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
3) Community Wire: Community Site Scoops Coveted
4) Community Voice: "Refereeing the Online World: Dealing
with Online Community Difficulties."
Featured Question and
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
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 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
Yell.com awards in the UK.
Goliath competition in the form of the BBC, Sainsbury's and Egg
aside in true David style by caithness.org, because according
adjudicators it captured the "true spirit of the internet". The
features, news, weather, events, chat and message boards as well
ex-pats section, succeeded in engaging with an entire community
otherwise was impervious to the internet.
Runners-Up for the Best Community Site award were; netdoctor.co.uk
Congratulations to all!!
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.
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 communityanswers.com and
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