New SitePoint Article: Develop Effective Forum Leadership

Posted by Patrick on April 30th, 2008 in Managing Staff

I wrote an article for SitePoint that they just published. It’s called Develop Effective Forum Leadership. Please give it a read and tell me what you think. It closes with:

I’ve used this system in my own communities, and I’ve had success with it. Pick good people, give them what they need to succeed, and monitor them, assisting as appropriate.

As I said earlier, staff members play a vital role in the success of a community. You can’t do it all, and you shouldn’t. You need a good team so that you can step back, take the lead, and focus on other aspects of the community. You can’t be there all the time. I always say that you know that you have a good staff when you can go away for a while and not worry about your community — well, not too much, anyway!

WLKF Radio Appearance Pushed Back

Posted by Patrick on April 28th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

My appearance on WLKF will not be happening tomorrow morning as planned. I believe we’ll probably reschedule and I’ll post something when I have the new date. Sorry for the confusion.

The Book’s Publication Date Arrives

Posted by Patrick on April 28th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book)

It’s not really all that meaningful, since the book has been available for almost a month now, but today is the book’s official publication date: April 28, 2008.

Though not in function, it’s still a meaningful day in sentimentality, I suppose. I had the idea for the book in 2003. I signed with my agent, Neil Salkind at Studio B on October 10, 2005. I signed with AMACOM to publish the book on May 4, 2007. And the book is officially published on April 28, 2008.

It’s been a long road and I’m thankful to everyone who has helped me to reach this point. Now, we need to get it into as many hands as possible!

RSVP for Free Teleseminar on May 1; Plus “Managing Online Forums” on the Radio and More Book Coverage

Posted by Patrick on April 27th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

On May 1 at 1:00 PM ET, I’ll be doing a free live teleseminar with Thomas Myer of Triple Dog Dare Media. The registration deadline is April 30, so if you’d like listen in, please RSVP now.

I’ll be on Mayhem In The AM on the Talk 1430 (WLKF) radio station out of Lakeland, Florida, on April 29, somewhere around 8:10 and 8:20 AM ET talking about the book, as well. You can listen online on their website. The link is about half way down in the right menu.  Look for “Click the meter to listen to Mayhem in the A.M.”

I’ve done a bunch of podcast interviews in the last week or so and they are all online now and available for listening. I appeared on Copyright 2.0 (one of the co-hosts, Jonathan Bailey, posted about it on his blog), The Interactive Internetphpbbireland and System Showdown. I have to thank all of the hosts for having me and for the warm reception that they gave me and the book. It was a lot of fun!

Ethan Kwassman of myEDI Media and co-host of System Showdown posted a review of the book on their website. Thanks again, Ethan.

Finally, Wendy Piersall, CEO of Sparkplugging, gave the book a nice plug (pun intended!) on her blog using the terms I created for the book, “adverquestions” and “introtisements”. But, that’s not all. She recently gave a talk on “Building a Community” at the Small Business Marketing Unleased Conference in Houston, Texas. She told me that she talked about the book during her presentation and, according to David Wallace at Search Engine Guide, she used the terms during her talk, as well! Excellent, that made my day.

I met Wendy at SXSW (thank you ProBlogger Beer Bus and b5media Blog Network Camp). Super nice and I greatly appreciate the support. She’ll be posting a review of the book on her blog, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for that. Thanks, Wendy.

Interview Update

Posted by Patrick on April 23rd, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

Just a quick update: my interview on System Showdown is actually at 6:30 PM ET and not 7:30 PM ET. You can watch live video on

Why Don’t You Just Edit The Post?

Posted by Patrick on April 23rd, 2008 in Interacting with Members, Managing Staff, Managing the Community

On my forums, it is our policy that we don’t edit member posts. When a post violates our User Guidelines, it is removed. Even if it is one line out of a long post. Once in a while, we do have a member who will ask, “why didn’t you just edit that post and leave it?” I can understand this question, certainly, and I always answer it, of course. Here are our reasons:

Sloppy Documentation

Editing posts makes for sloppy documentation of violations and actions taken. When you remove the post, you have the entire post as the member made it – forever. This includes the time stamp and the IP attached to it. It counts as irrefutable documentation in that this is the actual post, this is not the staff member quoting the post or saying that someone said this – this is the very post that violated the guidelines.

It’s also great to be able to search through posts that have been violations to search for sites that have spammed before, etc.

Harder Mistake Correction

Sometimes, posts do get removed that shouldn’t and those mistakes have to be corrected and I or we have to apologize for them. If you remove the post, it’s very easy to correct the mistake. But, if you edited the post, you have to hope that what was removed was documented very well – otherwise, it’s not going to be easy. Assuming your software doesn’t have some sort of “revert edit” feature that maintains forever.

This would also relate to a situation where you have one member violate your guidelines, supposedly, and then five replies that include that violation by quoting it. You have to edit all of them.

Staff Members Aren’t Proofreaders

If you can violate our guidelines and a staff member will fix it for you, would you care less about violating the guidelines? You may or may not, but at the end of the day, I don’t want my staffers to be looked at like proofreaders, who members expect to read their posts and make adjustments so that they are OK.

Recognizing the Value of Posts

At the same time, and in conclusion, while I see that removing posts is definitely the way to go – I recognize that it is frustrating to spend a lot of time on a post and have it removed for what might seem like a small reason. Because of this, it is included in our guidelines that we are glad to send any member a copy of a post that they made that has been removed, as long as it wasn’t so bad that we wouldn’t just rather them start over. That way, they can retrieve their work and adjust it and repost, rather than creating it from scratch again.

Live Interviews Coming Up: Please Listen In!

Posted by Patrick on April 20th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

Update: The interview on System Showdown is at 6:30 PM ET.

I have a couple of live interviews in the next few days, so I wanted to mention them in case you might be able to listen in. I’ll be on The Interactive Internet tonight at 6:00 PM ET. And then I’ll be on System Showdown at 6:30 PM ET on Wednesday, April 23. The plan for the System Showdown date is to do video, as well. I hope that you’ll listen and let me know what you think. Thanks!

New Reviews and an Interview

Posted by Patrick on April 18th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer and Zack Urlocker of Open Sources (also executive vice president at MySQL) have posted reviews of the book. In anticipation of my live video appearance next week, Ethan Kwassman on the System Showdown podcast also offered a quick review on their most recent show.

Finally, I sat down with Michael Kimsal of WebDevRadio for an interview and it includes a quick review of the book, as well. Thank you to Jason, Zack, Ethan and Michael.

Looking for Community/Forums Related SXSW Panel Ideas

Posted by Patrick on April 15th, 2008 in

This March, I visited South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive for the first time. I spoke, met a ton of people and had an awesome time. I’m already thinking about next year (the dates have already been set: March 13 through 17). I’ve decided that I’d like to try to get on at least one panel. It’s definitely not too early to be thinking about it – they start accepting ideas on June 2 and close on July 11, so we’re not that far away.

I’m talking with Jonathan Bailey of PlagiarismToday about doing something, but I am also talking with Martin Reed of CommunitySpark about putting a panel together, as well. He’s aiming to come to SXSW next year and we share a lot of similar knowledge and experience. I think it’d be great. So, we agreed that we’d put it out their to our blog readers to see what ideas they might have for a panel. What do you think? What would you like us to talk about? It should be community/forums related.

Please let us know what thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Edit: Martin has a post up now, as well.

“Managing Online Forums” Featured in The Daily Advance Newspaper

Posted by Patrick on April 13th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

In today’s edition, the Sunday edition, of The Daily Advance newspaper (Elizabeth City, North Carolina), Robert Kelly-Goss explores the nature of forums, blogs and online communities and how they have changed the way that people communicate. Mr. Kelly-Goss was kind enough to interview me for the piece and featured an image of the book cover in the print article. The article is also posted online at The Daily Advance website.

There have also been a few reviews of the book in the last week or so, from Blake Thompson, Douglas Hanna of Service Untitled and Lee LeFever of Common Craft. Thanks everyone!