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Help Wanted
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ManagingCommunities.com is regularly visited by community management professionals of all experience levels. Many of which are in need of employment or looking to further their careers.

If you are looking to hire a community management professional and find qualified candidates, the people who read ManagingCommunities.com are who you are looking for. Whether it be a Moderator, Community Manager, Senior Community Manager, Director of Community or some other role.

So, today, I am launching the ManagingCommunities.com Jobs section. For just $99, job posters will receive the following:

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Saturday will mark four years since the official publication date of my book, “Managing Online Forums.”

I wrote the other day that one of the things I love most, as someone who has been managing online communities for 12 years and regularly writes about those experiences, is when people utilize my strategies in a thoughtful way that leads to success. For me, the book is the greatest example of this.

The way in which the book has been received has been humbling. I’ve been very fortunate to receive praise from people who are new to this space and from people who have been doing it longer than I have. When you put as much time into a project as I put into this book, you know you are doing the work to make it the best it can be. But, what you don’t know is if that will be good enough. So, to have received praise from so many people and so many people that I respect, it is something that I truly appreciate.

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Heart
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I’ve been writing about online community management for a long time. I started writing my book in 2003, launched this blog in 2008 and published the book in that year, as well. Before the blog, I wrote about the topic sporadically elsewhere, including SitePoint.

I love community management and I care about the space, which is why I enjoy writing about it and sharing my experiences. I don’t really do consulting, but I always listen to people who want me to consult. Not long ago, I turned down a reasonable gig because the person I was consulting with wanted to own the ideas that I gave them. I could have used the money, but I objected and that was the end of that deal. My ideas are mine to share.

In writing about community management and sharing thoughts and conversations with those who read this blog, my ideas spread and beautiful things happen, that I am proud of. This builds community around my writing. I thought I would share a few of the things that I love to see.

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Tall bar
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I think there is this temptation with some community owners and administrators to select moderators and then not monitor them closely; to let them do what they think is appropriate without any sort of review of those actions.

Whether they are volunteer moderators who help out for a few hours a week or paid moderators for whom it is a part time or full time job, you can’t set and forget them.

This post was inspired by a comment by Rebecca Newton on the e-mint list.

Think of a restaurant. You have servers and they interact directly with your customers. They are front line representatives and have a powerful ability to directly impact how the customer thinks of your business. Not just in how they act, but in how they communicate things that are out of their control.

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The sixth post ever published on ManagingCommunities.com was about “brain crack” and the importance of doing, care of some magical words from Ze Frank.

By the time I wrote that post, in February of 2008, Mr. Frank had ended “the show with ze frank,” where those words had come from. More than 4 years later, at the end of February, Mr. Frank launched a Kickstarter campaign to “bring back the show.” The result? $146,752 pledged by 3,900 people (including me) – almost 3 times his goal of $50,000.

I could say something here about the power of community and about how community builds around quality and that being why people couldn’t wait to support him in this new venture. All of that is true.

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I have been thinking a bit about the design of the block feature on some platforms. Let’s take Twitter as an easy example.

When you block someone on Twitter, they don’t notify the person you block, meaning that they don’t specifically send them a message. But, when the person notices that you are no longer showing up in their timeline, they may go to your profile and try to follow you again. At that point, they are notified that they can’t follow you because you have blocked them.

Personally, this means I will never use the block functionality. Even though I might otherwise like to filter some people out of my streams. If I want to do it, I’ll need to use a third party application (like TweetDeck) that allows me to filter out tweets from specific people. I won’t bother to do that because the list only works in that app.

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463 GTS & DA5 B7M - 4
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I run into people who say that the guidelines for your community don’t need to be anything more than “don’t be a jerk.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the most efficient use of guidelines and, even if you think it works for you, it likely doesn’t work as well as having a simple, though more defined set of expectations would.

It doesn’t work for the same reasons that the laws of a country aren’t simply “don’t be a jerk,” or the rules at the swimming pool aren’t simply “don’t be a jerk” or the employee handbook at a random company doesn’t consist of “don’t be a jerk.”

It isn’t defined enough to be helpful. It lacks any real meaning.

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Leader lock
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Your community is a brand. And it’s a brand worth protecting on third party communities and social platforms, especially the ones that you may one day engage in.

In other words, secure your username. I run KarateForums.com. What is the ideal username, on a platform I don’t control, for KarateForums.com? karateforums. If that isn’t available, then I have to settle for a much, much weaker second one. Try to be consistent on your fallback username.

No matter how great your fall back, people will always first guess that the ideal one is what you have. This impacts you when you go out to build outposts and community outside of your site. On Twitter, for example, they might guess that you are @karateforums, for example. It creates more work (and more missed opportunities) for you if you don’t have it.

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Yesterday was April 1 – April Fools’ Day for those who celebrate it. For me, it is a tradition that I do something to celebrate the day on some of the communities and websites that I manage. This year was no different!

Here at ManagingCommunities.com, I wrote the obituary for online forums. They are everywhere and, yet, they are dead. How’d it happen? areforumsdead.com even confirmed it by saying “YES.”

On phpBBHacks.com, we launched phpBBHacks.com By Mail, a new service that provided complementary paper prints of phpBB hacks, styles, graphics and other packages available on our website. The prank came complete with working order forms! I teamed up with my friend Jared W. Smith to make it happen.

On PhotoshopForums.com, we announced that, in order to keep up with the latest trends in communication, we would start limiting posts to 140 characters. Because, after all, no one wants to talk about things in detail anymore. A former member of my staff, Matt Whiting, suggested it.

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Update: This was an April Fools’ Day joke.

I am deeply saddened to announce that online forums have died, as confirmed by areforumsdead.com. They passed away quietly in their sleep last night at an unknown age.

While it may be unclear when online forums were born, from the moment that people were able to discuss something with another human over the internet, it wasn’t long before they were having threaded discussions.

Online forums and the format of threaded discussion served as a cornerstone of the social internet and what would one day, many years later, come to be known as social media.

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