Like it or not, admins are community managers

The difference between good and bad moderators:

You’re angry. You make an angry post and go to bed. The next day, the post is gone. You have a message from the moderator. Your post was in violation of the terms and conditions, be sure not to do it again.

That moderator, should be fired.

Lets try another scenario. The next day the post is still there. You have a message from the moderator. “why do you feel that way…?” “how can we make this better for you?” …“have you spoken to xyz about this directly?”…“let me know if you want the post removed, it sounds very aggressive”,

Which response resolves the situation? Which response makes you feel you were listened that? Which response keeps you as an active member of a community and less likely to make the negative post again?

People do things for a reason. Your job isn’t to remove the symptom, but identify the reason. Get behind the problem and resolve it.

From the FeverBee blog by Richard Millington. I started reading this blog a few months ago and it is consistently insightful.

I rarely re-post things wholesale but gee, does this sound at all familiar to you? Substitute “three revert rule” for “terms and conditions”.

Of course, it’s often not that simple — some disputes cannot be resolved because of a fundamental difference in philosophy or aims between the user and the project — but shamefully often, a matter is closed as “resolved” when all that has happened is one or more people have been blocked.

As the mantra goes, “we” are here to build an encyclopedia (or whatever), but there’s no “we” if there’s no community. So while admins can block users, more importantly they can choose not to block users.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Wikimedia projects are in the business of community building/management. Whether or not they consider themselves to be so is another matter.

13 April, 2009 •

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