Talk martial arts at

Monetizing Online ForumsMonetizing Online Forums, the ebook that I authored that was published by Skimlinks in July of 2012, has now reached 20,000 downloads.

When I began to work on the ebook (when it was only expected to be 10-20 pages, rather than the 100 it ended up being), I didn’t really have any expectations. I had never written a free ebook and, frankly, I didn’t really want to. Most free ebooks just aren’t particularly valuable.

I don’t write stuff for list generation. I write stuff so people can feel empowered and not need to contact me at all. But Alicia Navarro and Joe Stepniewski of Skimlinks convinced me that I could do what I wanted, and treat it like my second book.

Read More

Locking Up the Rubbish
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikecogh

I’m in the process of trying to slightly improve the security of the logins I use online. Yes, this has to do with the story I told the other day. One of the things that I am doing is strengthening the passwords on some of my crucial logins. This includes the logins for the online communities that I manage.

I thought I would encourage you to do the same.

Use as many different characters as your software will allow you to use. If possible, not just letters and numbers, but also symbols. Passwords like :!kT!vuDl%3qFFKt~|dnYt’xU=KB@v. But don’t stop with your account. Encourage your staff members to do the same for their accounts.

But don’t stop there. Think about how else people can access your account. Likely, the only other means is through the email address listed on your account, through a forgot password form. They hack the email, request a password and they are in. Ensure your email password is similarly strong and that, if your email service offers it, you have two-factor authentication enabled. Suggest that your staff to do the same.

Read More

4x advent (cc)
Creative Commons License photo credit: marfis75

January 27 will mark 6 years since the launch of This year, January 27 is Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD). It’s funny how that works out.

I decided that I would mark the 6th birthday of this website today, rather than on CMAD, so as to not take away from those festivities in any way. I plan to publish a CMAD relevant article on Monday since that is also the day I normally publish articles here. The stars are aligned!

6 years is not a period of time that I take lightly. I’ve grown a lot in that time, as a professional, and the community management space has grown a lot, as well. I am grateful for whatever opportunity I had to help that along and I am deeply appreciative of everyone who has supported my writing here and elsewhere.

Thank you to everyone who adds value in the comments, subscribes to this website, shares my work and finds value it in. It means a lot to me.


SXSW 2014In March, I’ll travel to South by Southwest for the sixth time. From 2008 through 2012, I spoke at the event. 2 book readings, 1 Core Conversation, 1 panel and 1 solo presentation. It’s a great event and I enjoy it. After taking last year off, I’ll be back this year.

One of the big motivators for me going is my brother, Sean, a recent graduate who is pursuing a career in film. He’s excited to go to SXSW Film and I’m excited to spend time with him down there. I have a Gold badge for both Interactive and Film and I look forward to connecting with friends and acquaintances.

I’ll be in town from March 5 through 16 and if you’d like to meet up, I’d love to say hello, talk and look at what you are up to. I plan to attend some panels and take a look at what is on the schedule community wise.

Read More

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Patrick on November 28th, 2013 in

Creative Commons License photo credit: artisrams

Hello and thank you for visiting!

With Hanukkah beginning last night, we are now beginning the winter holidays. Soon enough, we’ll be at the end of the year.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a happy holiday season and a happy, healthy and successful 2014.

Here at, it has been great year of sharing experiences and resources in the field of online community management. It has been a great year for the field, as well, as it continues to grow and mature.

I am thankful for everyone who appreciates my work, whether it be here, in my books, at speaking engagements or elsewhere. I am humbled by the fact that I can help this space and provide value for others and I look forward to continuing to do so in 2014.

Thank you for your kindness and support.

Happy Holidays!


Popular ScienceOn Tuesday, Popular Science announced that they would not allow reader comments on new articles on their website, except on “select articles that lend themselves to vigorous and intelligent discussion.” They will still welcome reader comments via their Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest profiles, in addition to email, live chats and more.

Suzanne LaBarre, the online content director for the publication, explained that comments “can be bad for science,” and that comments were having a negative effect on the work Popular Science tries to do. Namely, science. Unfortunately, when commenting on areas of interest that require expertise to understand, many (some would say most) comments are made by people who lack the experience needed to qualify them to offer an informed opinion.

Read More

Vote for My Session Idea for SXSW Interactive 2014South by Southwest (SXSW) has opened the PanelPicker for the 2014 edition of their conference. It is one part of the selection process through which they decide the content for the event.

I have been fortunate enough to speak five times at SXSW Interactive, the emerging technology and digital focused portion of the conference. In 2014, I’ll be bringing my brother down to the event for the first time. He’s pursuing a career in the film industry, so he’s really excited to attend SXSW Film, which occurs during Interactive.

I’d love to have the opportunity to speak again this year and, to that end, I wanted to ask if you would consider voting for it. The public voting portion of the event, which runs from today through September 6, accounts for 30% of the decision process – 30% also goes to the SXSW staff, with 40% to an advisory board.

You can vote on their website, but let me tell you a little about it.

Read More

"Monetizing Online Forums"As of April 29, “Monetizing Online Forums,” a guide to monetizing online communities the right way, has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.

This is a conservative count that comes from our website and through third parties where the book is distributed. For all of the copies hosted through the website, which make up most of the numbers, we count the downloads in a very conservative way. One IP address can only count as one download of a particular format of a book within a given week.

For example, if you go and download the PDF 1,000 times right now, you’ll only count as one download. If you come back next week and download it 1,000 times again, you’ll count as a second download. If you were to download the PDF, ePub and MOBI versions a thousand times each right now, you would count as 3 downloads. If different people download the book, all from the same IP in the same week, they all count as one. While it’s not quite unique downloaders, it’s not too far off.

Read More

"Managing Online Forums"It was 10 years ago last month that I began writing what would eventually become “Managing Online Forums.” April 28 will mark 5 years that it has been in publication.

Digging through my emails, the earliest message that I can find mentioning the project is in May of 2004. I had told some friends about it before that, but it was via instant message. I kept the whole project very close to the vest, not even telling my family until I had an offer from a publisher. The email was sent to Jared Smith, Chrispian Burks and Stephan Segraves. It was titled “Book/Long Article.” Note that I had not yet committed to the idea of it being a book and was not sure if I could do it. It included this:

“As you know, I’ve been working when I can on a book/long article on Internet Community Development. It is sitting at 38,888 words right now. I wanted to ask you if you might want to take a look at it, read it, let me know what you think and possibly suggest some new things for me to cover (if you had any). No real rush, just when you can.”

Read More

I recently asked you for challenges that you are facing on your community that I could help with. TommyT came up with a good one.

His community is growing and there is an influx of “new regulars.” For the first time since the community launched, these newer members are larger in number than the members who helped get it off the ground. They knew Tommy prior to launching this community and have a strong rapport with him. Unfortunately, there is a growing culture clash between these two groups.

The older members engage in more lighthearted, tongue in cheek banter, including taking good natured jabs at one another. However, the newer members don’t seem to appreciate the humor of the more established members and sometimes will take offense at something that was said. They appreciate the strict policies that Tommy has put in place and want him to be stricter on jokes that they feel are disrespectful or inappropriate.

Read More