[Internet] Trolling has been around since the early days of message boards.
Since the beginning of my career as a community manager, I have been spent countless hours and mental energy trying to be cordial to internet trolls. They have been the bane of my existence. Kill them with kindness was the advice I was given in my earlier days. Read more
Your online community has launched and registrations are growing at a very satisfactory pace. It’s extremely active with several 100 posts a day and everything is peachy. Time to sit back and relax right? Heck no! One thing you should know, there’s no relaxing as a community manager. Don’t rest on your laurels and never let your guard down. There is a cost with being a large successful community. You become a target.
Spammers, hackers and solicitors alike are becoming savvier each and every day. You have to take pro-active/pre-cautionary measures to protect the integrity of your online community and its members. Read more
Soapboxers can be a tricky bunch to manage. They often carry extremely strong personalities within online communities, often replying to every post – possibly multiple times – to really drive home their point of view. Note: They are not to be confused with power users.
Based on my observations, ‘boxers post just to hear him/herself talk. They feel that they are the resident subject matter expert (which may be true) and all other opinions that oppose theirs are simply incorrect.
If not managed early, ‘boxers can spiral out of control. Often times, they begin to bully other members and use explicit or derogatory language. The obvious outcome? Your members will be stymied (believe it or not, first time I’ve used that word) by this behavior and you’ll see an instant drop in return visits and member contributions.
Be cordial at first. Have one on one communications with the ‘boxer asking him to tone it down and respect other opinions. Point them to the community guidelines as a reminder of accepted behavior.
If they continue in their ways, it’s time for some moderation. For a probationary period, have all their posts immediately hit the moderation queue to be screened. This may cause more work for your moderation team, but in the best interest of the community, it’ll be worth it. What if your community platform doesn’t allow such targeted moderation? Suspend the account for 30 days. This will send a clear message that these are serious offenses and there’s no place for it in your community.
Ok, so you’ve tried everything by now and their still right back at it with their antics. It’s time to ask yourself, is it worth all the time, effort and resources to keep this member? And if you are asking yourself this question, you’ve already answered it. NO, it is not worth it. It’s time to cut this member loose and move on. I understand your hesitance, but believe me, more good will come out of banning this member than bad. New members will begin to emerge. Why? Because you once again created a non-threatening environment for all community members to enjoy.
Do you have soapboxers in your community? How did you manage them? What was the outcome?
For most companies that are just ramping up their community efforts, they run with a slim community team. In my experiences, there’s a Director who manages budget and drives overall strategy, a Community Manager (Hey, that’s you!) that’s in the weeds day-to-day, and then if you’re lucky, possibly a moderator. That leaves a lot of empty seats at the table if you want an ever-growing and thriving community. So a lot of responsibility is left up to the community manager to perform, forcing him/her to put on different hats to get the job(s) done. How many hats does a community manager wear?
Here are my top 10 hats:
1. Sales & Marketing
2. Advertising & Promotions
3. Technical Support
4. Customer Service
5. Public Relations
6. Copy Writer
9. Project Manager
10. Content Manager
Did I forget a hat on the rack? Which one did I leave out? How many hats do you wear?