Online Moderation Best Practices (OCRN Interview)

Posted by Patrick on May 31st, 2008 in Managing Staff, Managing the Community

My friend Jake posted the video below, which is an interview (for the Online Community Research Network) with Joe Cothrel from Lithium and Jay Bryant from LiveWorld. Both had good points, but I thought that Cothrel made some very great and strong observations and ones that I certainly share. Check it out below.

Video: TV Appearance on WITN (NBC) in Greenville, North Carolina

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

Last Friday, I had my first ever appearance on television, appearing on the Early Sunrise show on WITN, an NBC affiliate located in Greenville, North Carolina.

It was a live interview and it lasted about a minute and a half. So, my focus was on giving short, but descriptive answers that did the book justice. The interview was just after 5:50 AM and I had to get up at 4:00 AM. Let’s just say… that’s not the time I usually wake up. That said, I had changed my sleep pattern a little bit in the days leading to the interview and I slept… well, let’s go with “half way decently.” So, I was feeling alright and I think the interview went well, all things considered.

The anchor’s name is Heather King. She was very nice and was the person at the station who expressed interest in the book, first and foremost. Thanks, Ms. King.

The clip is below, posted on Yahoo! Video (it’s also posted on YouTube). Please take a look and let me know what you think. Thanks!

TV Appearance in Greenville, NC on May 23

Posted by Patrick on May 22nd, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

Programming note (hehe): I’ll be appearing on WITN 7 News Early Sunrise sometime between 5:40 and 6:00 AM ET on Friday, May 23. WITN is an NBC affiliate located in Greenville, North Carolina. It will be a 2 minute (approximate) live interview.

They have told that that, although they post videos on their site and have a YouTube account, morning show segments are currently not posted online. However, I have some people recording it for me and I will try to see if I can get the OK to post it. I hope so!

But, if you happen to get the station and also happen to be one of the 3-4 people up at that time, please watch if you can and tell me what you think. :) Thanks!

From the “Some People Just Don’t Get It” Files

Posted by Patrick on May 19th, 2008 in Humor, Managing the Community, Thinking

I have a story to tell. So, I run a community and there is this other community on the same subject. The owner of it posts a spam thread on my forums, acting like he isn’t affiliated with the site. This post is removed.

Before I saw this post, the person e-mailed me and asked for my advice in developing his forums. I answered and did what I could for him. And, after that, I saw that a moderator of mine had removed the post he made.

After a period of time goes by, he e-mails me again, asking for my advice. Once again, I helped him, but I also mentioned that you don’t want to spam forums, especially in such a devious way.

In response to this, he acted as though his community being spammed on other ones was something that has happened before because he allowed someone in his office access to his account to “promote” his site. That person had been dealt with, he said.

That’s fine and dandy, but I reminded him that whatever happens under his account, he will ultimately be held responsible for.

A couple months later, what happens? Someone from his group with an e-mail at his domain made 25 junk posts so that s/he could use our private message system. And then that person sent approximately 50 different members the same PM. Any guess as to what they contained? Worse yet, it was signed by the same guy, even though the username didn’t match his name.

I deleted most of the PMs before anyone had viewed them.

Four days before this PM spamming, he had again e-mailed me asking for assistance and I had, again, kindly assisted.

At this point, I took a look at the site and noticed they had ripped our forum descriptions. I once again told him what happened, gave him the details and then I didn’t hear from him again.

Until recently when he e-mailed to ask if he could buy a paid advertisement. That wasn’t going to happen. I took another look at his site and saw that, while it appeared the descriptions had now changed, they had now stolen our rank images! These are unique and were created specifically for me.

I informed him of this. And I haven’t heard back. But, he has now marked his forums as private. Ha. Marking your forums as invisible is not an answer to copyright infringement. The files are still on your server! I plan to file a DMCA notice soon.

Anyway, how much can one guy do? Some people don’t get it. Not everyone is cut out to manage forums or manage people. Maybe he’s listening to some really bad advice. None of these things are particularly unheard of, if you manage forums, though it’s rare when they all come together in a great synergy for one person or one site.

Sometimes, we can learn a ton, not just from the people we want to be like – but the people we don’t.

“Managing Online Forums” Featured in Website Magazine; More Interviews and Reviews Online

Posted by Patrick on May 15th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

I gave a number of interviews recently that are now online. On the text based end, I did an interview with Website Magazine that is on their website and featured in the May issue of their print publication. I did a live chat (sort of) interview with Forum One’s LIVE Interviews Online. The transcript has been posted.

I appeared on the Meet the Experts, phpBB Weekly, Way of the Geek and JKT Network News podcasts. The hosts of the middle two shared their thoughts on the book during the show. The JKT Network News show featured a rebroadcast of the interview I did on the phpbbireland podcast.

The book was recently reviewed by Miranda Marquit of Yielding Wealth and Gary Pollock of James Fintel of Cult of Cheese also gave the book a quick teaser review, with a longer one planned soon.

Thank you to everyone at these publications, podcasts, etc. for their interest in the book!

Are Moderators Born or Made?

Posted by Patrick on May 11th, 2008 in Managing Staff, Managing the Community

In a recent interview I did on Forum One’s LIVE Interviews Online, Dave Witzel submitted the question, “Are moderators born or made? Do you do much training for moderation?”

Born… or made. I’d like to think they can be made through training and experience. At the same time, there are personality traits that are not ideal for someone in a leadership or managerial role. Some people simply prefer being a participant, rather than being someone given a responsibility for watching that participation. The same way that some people are happy with a normal 9-5 job, rather than being a manager or a supervisor. They are happy with their life as it is and there’s nothing wrong with that.

There are also people that don’t deal well with upseting people or having people be angry at them. That’s just not a trait that will work for a moderator. I don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t want anyone to be angry at me. But, I realize that what I want in that area doesn’t matter. Included in the responsibilities of managing a community is removing content and telling people they can’t do things. If you are the one that has to tell people no, you are also the one that people will direct their angst at, if they don’t like being limited. A staff member must be able to handle this and not get upset by it.

Training wise, my system was pretty well outlined in the SitePoint article I wrote recently

What do you think? Are moderators born or made?

Darren Rowse on Forum Giveaways

Posted by Patrick on May 8th, 2008 in Promoting Your Community

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has a great post on forum giveaways, talking in detail about one he ran recently. He definitely an interesting take on the pluses and minuses of running one.

Book Featured on MarketingSherpa and; Upcoming Live Appearances

Posted by Patrick on May 6th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

“Managing Online Forums” was reviewed by MarketingSherpa as part of their regular book giveaway. Ken Davidoff of Newsday gave the book a mention on his blog. Douglas Bell of and phpBB Weekly reviewed the book on his site. Miranda Marquit of WorkShak reviewed the book, as well.

I recently did interviews with the Alternageek Tech Show (features a review from the hosts) and Inside Digital Media.

Finally, I have a couple of live appearances coming up soon. On May 7 at 2:00 PM ET, I will be doing a live chat interview with Forum One. Questions can be submitted on their website. On May 10 at 12:00 PM ET, I will be going on the phpBB Weekly podcast. So, if you have a chance, please tune in and tell me what you think.

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed the book or expressed interest in some way.

Heading to NYC: How Can I Promote the Book?

Posted by Patrick on May 4th, 2008 in Managing Online Forums (Book), Press

I’m going to be visiting New York City, for a few days, at the end of May and start of June. I have decided to make Monday, June 2, book promotion day in NYC. I am going to do whatever I can, while I am there and specifically on that day, to promote the book. Whether that be giving interviews and/or talking to bloggers, journalists, podcasters, etc. or meeting people, speaking, signing books, whatever. I want to do whatever I can.

With a book like this and one day in NYC, what should I do while I am there? Where should I go? Who should I talk to? I’m totally open to recommendations and ideas. If you know anyone who would fit into the above categories, I’d definitely liked to be introduced to them and would appreciate it.

I am pretty well aware of general book promotion and I know how to use Google, MySpace, Facebook,, et all and how to search for people on there. I can look up newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, etc. etc. I’ve reached out to probably 200+ people at various publications and outlets. We’ve sent out over 100 review copies, we’ve booked 30 plus interviews online, in print, on radio and on television, the book is being promoted through my network, etc. etc. So, I’m not looking for general suggestions like “e-mail the top NYC tech bloggers” and the like.

What I am looking for is very specific information. Specific people I should talk in NYC, specific journalists in NYC I should talk to, specific organizations in NYC, specific venues in NYC, specific in NYC. That’s what I need help with.

I would definitely appreciate any suggestions or ideas. Thanks.