I Don’t Report Inappropriate Content, But Still Complain You Took Too Long to Remove It

Posted by Patrick on August 30th, 2012 in Interacting with Members

Recently, a new member posted a request on one of my forums that violated our guidelines. Suffice to say, the request was inappropriate.

It was available for viewing for a few days. As soon as I saw it, I removed it and handled it appropriately.

A veteran member of the community had replied to the thread, remarking in disgust at the request. I went ahead and sent that member a private message to let them know that the thread had been removed and, more importantly, to encourage them to report posts of that nature to me, should they occur in the future.

Their response was one of surprise. They were surprised that I “let it go as long as it has.” Let’s review:

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No, I Won’t Close a Forum Thread Because You Don’t Know How to Act Responsibly

Posted by Patrick on August 27th, 2012 in Interacting with Members, Managing the Community
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Creative Commons License photo credit: rmartz

There is a particularly sensitive discussion being had on one of my communities right now and, as you probably know from dealing with sensitive discussions, they tend to take more attention from moderators than your average thread. This one is no different.

With that in mind, this thread also hasn’t been that bad, either. Most people who have participated in the thread have done so in an appropriate manner, with respect to our user guidelines. But, it is rare when you have a sensitive thread where there aren’t at least a couple of people who run into trouble.

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Seeding Your Online Community Without Lying to Your Members

Posted by Patrick on August 23rd, 2012 in Community Cultivation, Developing Your Community

Last week, I wrote about the practice of creating fake accounts to seed a community and why you should never lie to your community.

But, “getting a community going is hard,” some might say. “You need activity to entice people to join,” they might also say. “If I can’t lie to my potential members, what can I do?”

In short? Actual work.

It isn’t easy to get a community going. That’s true. It’s also true that one of the factors that determines the attractiveness of your community is the activity that people see when they first visit it. There is nothing wrong with seeding, as long as you treat your members with respect. Let’s talk strategy.

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Scaling the Management of Your Online Community (SXSW Interactive 2013 Proposal)

Posted by Patrick on August 20th, 2012 in Managing the Community

I have had the good fortune of speaking at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive for the last 5 years.

Only a small percentage of people who apply to speak are accepted, so I am very grateful for the opportunity and have worked hard to offer solid programming for attendees to the event.

For the next iteration of the conference in March of 2013, I have put forth a proposal that I am really excited about: Scaling the Management of Your Online Community.

More than a year ago, I asked you what an advanced community management presentation looked like. I received some great answers, but one particular theme developed: it was all about scale. It was all about how you change as the community grows and the demands increase.

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Don’t Create Fake Accounts on Your Community and Don’t Lie to Your Members

Posted by Patrick on August 16th, 2012 in Community Cultivation

Posting on Branch, Geoff Stearns started a discussion titled “Seeding a new online community.” In his post, Stearns asks for ideas and practices for getting a new online community started.

He specifically references the video embedded at the bottom of this article. In this clip, Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman says that he, and the other co-founder Alexis Ohanian, grew Reddit by submitting content under many different usernames.

He explains that, when he or Ohanian visited the submission page, they would see an additional field that other users wouldn’t: a user field. In this field, they could enter whatever username they wanted and, if it was available, it would then be registered and the content would be submitted under that name.

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Online Community Feature Overload and the Cost of Spreading Your Activity Too Thin

Posted by Patrick on August 13th, 2012 in Community Cultivation, Developing Your Community
Creative Commons License photo credit: LOLren

As people endeavor to add more features and sections to their forums and communities – more than “just” discussion threads – there is a great opportunity for additional value for all parties involved. But, in the thirst to be “more,” it can be easy to forget the cost that you may incur.

This can include things like articles and dedicated editorial, product reviews, Facebook-like profiles with comments and a wall, member blogs, chat rooms, wikis, photo albums and plenty of other dedicated sections that receive top billing, or close to it, on your community.

These sections can all be great, meaningful parts of your community. So, what’s the problem?

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Getting Started With Premium Memberships on Your Community

Posted by Patrick on August 9th, 2012 in Generating Revenue

This is a guest post from my friend Scott Fox, who runs, a lifestyle business community. He is the author of “Click Millionaires: Work Less, Live More with an Internet Business You Love.” Scott has developed successful premium membership programs for others, and for himself.

Online forums are great. They can provide friendly gathering places for people worldwide to meet and share information, build relationships, and have fun together.

Unfortunately, many forum owners find themselves challenged by the amount of time it takes to moderate a community to keep it friendly and welcoming for new members. Since most online forums are supported primarily by advertising, a question I often get is “How can I make money by charging for memberships, too?”

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Methods to Consider When Monetizing Online Forums

Posted by Patrick on August 6th, 2012 in Generating Revenue

As we put together “Monetizing Online Forums,” we focused on identifying all of the potentially appropriate ways that you can monetize an online forum.

I think that a lot of people who run an online forum and want to monetize it aren’t fully aware of the options that exist. There is a lot more out there than just banners and display ads. I mean, those things can be great, but you don’t have to use them. If you do the research, you’ll find so much more.

In this post, I am going to walk through them. If you want to go into detail on any of these methods, learn who they are right for and how to integrate them in the right way, the book has all of those details.

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Community Managers Should Read “Thank You and You’re Welcome” by Kanye West with J. Sakiya Sandifer

Posted by Patrick on August 2nd, 2012 in Resources, Thinking

I’ve had a copy of “Thank You and You’re Welcome”, a small, spiral bound book, on my shelf since it was released back in 2008. It was authored by Kanye West with J. Sakiya Sandifer. Recently, I had reason to pull it back out and I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the “Kanye-isms,” as the book’s description on calls them, apply really well to community management.

For example, the title of the book. A “Thank You and You’re Welcome” moment is when both parties involved in a transaction give and gain. West refers to his early work with rapper Common and how working with an established artist improved his credibility. At the same time, Kanye produced hits for Common that helped him reach new audiences. Both sides gave, both sides benefited.

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