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Film director Quentin Tarantino held a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. He was asked about the possibility of his movies being re-released as director’s cuts or with added footage. Seeing as all of his movies are the director’s cut, he wasn’t really a fan of that idea.

However, he talked about how he has 90 minutes of footage from Django Unchained that has never been seen. He said that “the idea is to cut together a four-hour version, but not show it like a four-hour movie,” adding that he could “cut it up into one-hour chapters like a four-part miniseries and show it on cable television. People love those!

With binge watching – for example, watching all episodes of a show on Netflix at one time or in a short period – being such a common thing these days, Tarantino added that people would “be dying to watch all four episodes in one go.”

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Bob, a member of my staff at KarateForums.com, recently shared a heartwarming story on our community. It involved his son, Nathan, whose bicycle had been stolen – taken right off of their front porch.

The theft was reported to the local police in Owasso, Oklahoma. The next week, several police officers showed up at his house with a gift: a new bike (and a lock for it). For Nathan, a special needs teenager, the bicycle represents freedom and his means of transportation to work. The police department used money set aside in a Cops for Kids fund to purchase the gift.

The local news covered it. Watch the clip below, including an emotional Bob.

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Facebook allows you to download an archive of  content you have posted on their platform. Google allows you to do the same with many of their services. Twitter will also provide you with an archive. As will many other social media platforms.

And yet, I don’t know of a single community or forum software application that allows members to do this. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an option or two that does, but we need to do better and I want to push for that change.

I can think of reasons why it hasn’t been a priority. Posts in an online community are seen more as being part of the whole, so there isn’t necessarily a strong desire to download content separated from the larger conversations. In my 14 years of managing online communities totaling well over a million contributions, I have never once had a member request that they would like an archive of their posts. But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a welcome feature.

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Link Walk And Tabletop Track
Creative Commons License photo credit: huskyte77

The whole Comic Book Resources story has me thinking about the proper way to close an online community.

All online communities eventually come to an end. I’ve launched many communities and I’ve experienced unique longevity. I’ve managed KarateForums.com for 13 years, PhotoshopForums.com for more than 11 and phpBBHacks.com for 11 before I gave it away to a member. All of these communities will eventually come to an end – whether I am at the helm or someone else is.

I’ve also closed communities. Because the time had come. They were inactive, it felt like an uphill fight and I wanted to spend my time elsewhere or they had run their course. Whatever the reason – and there are many – your online community will end. For this article, I am going to presume that we have explored the alternatives to closing and decided that closing is the appropriate course of action.

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Split Down the Middle
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikecogh

In my last piece, I discussed Comic Book Resources and their decision to delete their 7+ year old, 12.9 million post forum. It’s a complex story and one that responsible minds will disagree on, as far as the handling of the situation.

I don’t want to rehash the story too deeply, but the crux of the issue was that the community had been allowed to go in a direction that the founder was not proud of. From what he said, it sounded like it was a very vocal, loud minority that was saying terrible things that were racist, misogynist or otherwise intolerant or hateful. Awful stuff. So they opted for a clean slate, which is a reasonable option.

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Comic Book ResourcesComic Book Resources (CBR) is a large, long-running and influential comic book website, featuring news, reviews, blogs and an active community. Created by Jonah Weiland and launched in 1996, the site’s media kit reports that they receive more than 24 million pageviews per month from over 6 million unique visitors.

On Wednesday, Weiland announced that CBR’s current forums would be closing and would remain online for 14 days, in order to allow members to retrieve old content they wanted to save. The old forums have 12.9 million posts, with public discussions going all the way back to 2006. In their place, a new community was launched. None of the old content, nor membership information, was preserved. I learned of this story through Mark Wilkin.

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Don’t forget that, when you are dealing with someone who is stressed, who is struggling or who is just angry, you have the chance to influence their situation in a positive manner.

I was reminded of this a while back when I was on a trip with my parents and brothers, coming back from visiting my grandparents. We were checking out of the hotel and it was unseasonably (very) cold. With 5 of us piling into one vehicle, we had to pack light and, not expecting this weather, didn’t bring any heavy coats.

My Dad went down to start the car and (literally) melt the ice off of the doors so they would open. Meanwhile, my brother went down to retrieve a luggage cart so that we could bring the bags down as quickly as possible, so that Dad wasn’t outside in the cold any longer than he had to be, in the light coat he had brought.

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David DeWald and #CMGRHangoutHow do you welcome new members to an established, active online community? That was the topic of last Friday’s #CMGRHangout, a weekly Google+ Hangout presented by My Community Manager.

The panel discussion featured hosts Jonathan Brewer and Sherrie Rohde, alongside Brian Fanzo, David DeWald, Whitney Klinkner and me. This was my second time on the program and, once again, it was a pleasure.

By using different strategies and tactics, you can definitely have an impact on the percentage of people that join your community, that choose to contribute and that stay. There are many different ways to go about that and we discussed a lot of them.

In order for you to know what to expect, here are the questions that the panel answered:

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“Self-praise stinks,” my grandfather used to say. He said it countless times during my childhood. I don’t think I really appreciated it until I was older.

The message is that no one wants to hear you praise yourself. Praise is always best when it comes from other people. When the best community managers receive praise about their community, they masterfully redirect it in another direction.

When I’m in that mode, when I’m in that community manager mindset, my job is to shift praise away from me.

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Periplaneta americana, Face, MD, Prince Georges county_2014-02-27-15.31.28 ZS PMax
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sam Droege

When members of your community defend you, it’s a great feeling. You could run a forum and a member defends your moderation efforts. You could host a show on YouTube and a subscriber defends you against a personal attack. You could be a major brand and, during a crisis, you have overwhelming support through your Facebook page.

Whatever it is, it feels good.

However, when this happens to me, after that initial wave of gratitude, I often feel something else. It makes me uncomfortable. Because, quite often, the person that they are defending me against is not worth speaking to. They aren’t good people and they aren’t commenting in good faith. They just want to cause harm.

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