Could the United Kingdom Block “Web Forums” by Default?

Posted by Patrick on July 29th, 2013 in Thinking

Creative Commons License photo credit: dno1967b

Glenn Pegden shared an interesting link with the e-mint community recently. It was a blog post on the Open Rights Group website by Jim Killock, focusing on efforts in the United Kingdom to launch an ISP-based network filter that allows parental controls to be enabled, which block certain types of websites.

They allege that, according to ISP sources, the system may function like this: a customer will be required to denote whether they want a parental filter set to on. Those sources indicate that it will be on by default. Then they are allowed to select specific types of content that they would like to block. All of which would be on by default.

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Those Small Things You Do to Make Your Community a Better Place? People Notice

Posted by Patrick on July 25th, 2013 in Interacting with Members
Creative Commons License photo credit: gurms

Community management is about the small things and, at times, that can make you feel like people don’t notice. Then there are those moments that remind you that they do. I received a funny comment from a viewer of my web show, Soda Tasting, that did so.

With the show, I have created a community that is very respectful and I work hard to exemplify that. In the comments of the show on YouTube (and elsewhere), I work hard to treat everyone with respect, regardless of how serious they appear to be or what they call themselves. I kick out anyone who doesn’t at least pretend to do so.

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Jay-Z on Navigating Egos: “You Allow Their Ego to Live in Its Own Space”

Posted by Patrick on July 22nd, 2013 in Interacting with Members

BBC Radio’s Zane Lowe conducted a fascinating interview with Jay-Z over the weekend and I think there is a lot to learn from it (I’ll embed the three parts released so far below). One of those lessons has to do with egos.

Jay-Z discussed how a falling out with music producer Timbaland led to a divide between the two and how it was driven by Timbaland’s ego. Timbaland apologized and the two reconciled and collaborated on Jay-Z’s new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” This led to the following question: what’s your attitude towards the egos of others and how you relate to it?

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Moderators Make Mistakes, But Dishonesty Betrays Deeper Issues

Posted by Patrick on July 18th, 2013 in Managing Staff

Bar Rescue

Bar Rescue is a television show where Jon Taffer, a bar and nightclub consultant, tries to help bars that are struggling financially. I was watching an episode on Monday about a bar in Raleigh, in my home state of North Carolina.

The manager of the bar did numerous things I’d never tolerate, from a moderator or a bar manager, but most of these actions were simply unprofessional behavior that the owner seemed to be aware of, but just didn’t care. They weren’t dishonest, not if the bar owner knew about them.

There was one thing, however, that stood out because it was dishonest. Taffer noticed that there was tape over stickers from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) commission. Taffer suggested that the reason that the manager had done this was so that the stickers wouldn’t wear, which would make the bottles appear older. Why would he want to do that?

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Community Management is About Kicking Field Goals

Posted by Patrick on July 15th, 2013 in Thinking
Billy Cundiff fieldgoal_3203
Creative Commons License photo credit: hoyasmeg

Community management is about small stuff. It’s about a lot of small actions adding up to a bigger goal. It’s not about home runs, it’s about base hits. It’s not about touchdowns, it’s about field goals.

For those who might not appreciate the sports analogies, in the game of American football, a touchdown is usually good for 7 points. A field goal is 3. It is not uncommon for the team who made the most field goals to also win the game, even if the other team scored more touchdowns.

Field goals are small victories and small victories can add up to big wins. Don’t try to make it more than it is. There are occasional touchdowns, but those come in between the many field goals. In other words, don’t manage your community looking for home runs or case studies or big moments that you can trumpet to your boss.

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Repetitive Reports of Bad Behavior and Content Don’t Help Anyone

Posted by Patrick on July 11th, 2013 in How Should I Participate?

Usually I write articles for people who manage online communities. However, this is an article for people who don’t. People who enjoy online communities and social spaces. Please feel free to share this article with them, as it will help them to see how things work behind the scenes.

When people are afforded with the opportunity to contribute something online – they are given an area where they can share their thoughts, they are able to participate in discussions with other people, etc. – it is inevitable that some people will abuse this opportunity. They will do things that violate the policies of that community or are otherwise bad or inappropriate.

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I Get More Relevant Answers to Questions on Forums Than Facebook

Posted by Patrick on July 8th, 2013 in Thinking

When I use platforms, I don’t think “what is this platform a replacement for?” I think “what is this platform good at?” Each platform has strengths and weaknesses.

I think Facebook is great. I use it every day. It excels at keeping me in contact with people on a personal level. This post isn’t to criticize Facebook. It’s not Facebook’s fault that some want to look at it as a be-all end all of social interaction on the web.

A perfect example of this, at least in my experience, is when questions are asked. It has reached the point where when I ask questions on Facebook, I feel an uncomfortable urge to qualify the question more than I usually would, just to hopefully mitigate poor answers that I might be able to anticipate.

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Monetizing Online Forums is One Year Old!

Posted by Patrick on July 4th, 2013 in Managing the Community

As of July 2, it has been one year since Monetizing Online Forums was released.

For me, and for Skimlinks, the book was an experiment. Write a book, treat it like a real book that you’d expect people to pay for, and give it away for free. A project that was supposed to be 10-20 pages and be done in a month or two was expanded to around 100 pages and developed over a period of 9 months.

Would there be enough interest in the book – a work focused on the monetizing of “forums,” not “social media” – to justify the investment of time, resources and money?

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What Can You Do in 10 Minutes to Improve Your Online Community?

Posted by Patrick on July 1st, 2013 in Managing the Community

You spend a lot of time working on your online community. Whether you have a predefined work day or the freedom to work when you want, there are many tasks to tackle. However, among the many hours that you spend, you will also have moments where you don’t have much time to spare.

For example, if you have 10 minutes to lunch, 10 minutes before the end of the day or you simply have 10 minutes free that you want to put to good use, you can’t start a sizable project and do anything too involved.

When you find yourselves in that moment, there are always some quick things that you can do to help your community and make it better. From cultivating deeper relationships to ensuring that content is up to date. Here are some things that you can right now:

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