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Mean GuyYesterday, I spoke to a group of moderators at Australian National University. My talk centered around the nasty things that people say to community managers and moderators and my strategy for dealing with them. It was really lighthearted with many funny stories featuring real things that people have said to me.

Though funny to discuss, it is a real thing that happens and a point of stress for those who work in this space. Those funny stories served as the narrative for the practical lessons that I have learned over the years. Some of which I’ll write about soon. I also identified common themes that exist within abusive messages, such as negotiation and bargaining, threats, accusations of bias, accusations of corruption and comparisons to Hitler, the Nazis, Stalin, etc.

If you’ve been been moderating for a while, I thought you might enjoy having a look at the slide deck, if only for the entertainment value. I purposefully skipped over the types of things you need to report to authorities, like specific threats to your well being, and stuck with things people try to say to make you feel lesser or to intimidate you in doing what they want.

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You Use the Same Forum Software as Nazis

Posted by Patrick on September 5th, 2013 in Humor

Facebook Community Manager ProfileYou have something in common with Nazis. I’m sure this isn’t a shock to you. If you manage an active online community, you’ve probably been compared to Hitler and this is what your Facebook profile looks like.

You and Nazis, you do a lot of the same things. You both eat food, you both shave parts of your body, you both use the internet. But something more devious is also true: you both use the same forum software. No matter what forum software that is, Nazis also use it.

Does this betray a deep connection between you and the Nazis? Well, that’s what a certain political club suggested on their blog on Monday. Seriously, read the article. It’s hilarious.

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The ReplacerThe social media team for popular video game franchise Call of Duty has been replaced. That’s OK, though, they asked for it.

The Replacer, introduced prior to the release of the first downloadable content pack for “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” specializes in replacing you in your day to day life, freeing you up to play more Call of Duty. Now that they are releasing their download pack, he’s made a triumphant return. Family commitments, doctor appointments, your day job, whatever – he can step in and do the job.

Sort of.

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Experienced community managers will have seen this scenario play out so many times: A community member or visitor posts something that you have to remove because it was vulgar, inappropriate, disrespectful, inflammatory or just downright nasty.

Later, they send you a message. Or you see them complaining somewhere – another community, a social profile, etc. They are talking about how you removed their post, but wait, they can’t be, because what they’re saying isn’t actually what happened.

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Forums Are Dead: The Memes

Posted by Patrick on January 3rd, 2013 in Humor, Thinking

Two years ago, I answered a question on Quora, “Is the time for forums over?” I’m sure I answered “are forums dead?” type questions like that before.

Here we are, two years later, and what I said then is exactly as true now. I’ve been asked this type of question many, many times and I always give a similar answer. Two years from now, I expect my answer will still be as true as it is now.

I’ve tackled this topic seriously numerous times here at ManagingCommunities.com, talking about how forums evolve and why this question isn’t helpful to your efforts. I’ve talked about platform death and said that there isn’t enough time in the day for me to tell you that forums are not dead.

I’ve also had fun with it, posting an obituary for forums on April Fools’ Day and launching areforumsdead.com. That last link, though certainly facetious, is also helpful. Keep refreshing. You never know. If forums do die, the page will say yes.

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When you manage an online community that has standards or guidelines of any kind, you’ll have to ban people. You can only warn people so many times before their actions lead to that result. I don’t ban people, people ban themselves.

When people are banned, or even when they are simply told that they can’t do something, they can look at the community manager in an odd way. They’ll call you names, compare you to some of the most brutal dictators in the world’s history and make judgments on your quality of life and systems of belief.

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Masks
Creative Commons License photo credit: OC Always

You may have run into a member of an online community, either as the manager or as a fellow member, that made, or attempted to make, a dramatic exit from the community by posting a colorful goodbye message. According to Urban Dictionary, this is sometimes referred to as a “flounce.”

If you manage a community for a while, there is a good chance that you will have a member attempt to do this. It may be harmless or it may violate your guidelines – especially if they are condescending or disrespectful, as is sometimes the case.

Earlier today, Lydia shared a link with me on Twitter that was originally shared by Jen Kramer. It was the “GOODBYE I HATE YOU ALL” post generator.

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Fall scene in Forest Hills Cemetary, Madison, WI, October, 2011
Creative Commons License photo credit: ra_hurd

I like Quora. I really do. But, why is it that I can’t go more than a few days without seeing someone asking, on what is essentially a forum, why forums are dead, how forums can be saved, why people don’t use forums or something similar?

I can only answer this question so many times. There is not enough time in the day for me to tell you that forums are not dead. I have other things I want to do.

That may be one reason I created areforumsdead.com. Day or night, 365 days a year, you can check to see if forums have died yet. It’s updated in real time.

Jokes aside, forums are not dead and they are not dying. Forums will only die when we no longer wish to have threaded, text based discussion. Since that is part of the backbone of most community and social platforms, forums are doing fine.

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Keep Calm and Manage Your Community

Posted by Patrick on December 12th, 2011 in Humor, Managing the Community

DSC_9494
Creative Commons License photo credit: M.M.Meeks

Like any management role, when you manage an online community, you’ll be faced with challenges on a regular basis. You’ll have to put out a lot of fires.

Some will be like blowing out a candle, but in other cases, a part of your house may be on fire. You then can choose one of two paths. Either you try to put out the fire or you let the house burn down.

Whatever the challenge is, as the administrator or manager, it is your responsibility to remain calm, think about the issue objectively and make the best decision that you can.

Back when Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter was the president of Def Jam, a song by Young Jeezy, one of his hottest artists, leaked to radio. An emergency meeting was called, but Mr. Carter didn’t see it as an emergency. The song, he said, was a club record and radio wouldn’t be so inclined to play it.

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Based Laughter
Creative Commons License photo credit: mboperator

I have a fun idea. As you know if you’ve read ManagingCommunities.com for any measurable amount of time, I like to sometimes share the funny or absurd things that my members have told me. Whether that’s being called Hitler or people who are both wrong and rude, I share it in small doses.

Sometimes, we get gold from commenters of the blog. One example that comes to mind immediately is this comment by MsMod:

One of my favorite attacks ended with, “no doubt Hitler would embrace and adopt you as one of his own.”

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