Fix your communities

TwoHammer_nails_smithonian links for building online communities:

Advice for the Accidental Community Manager by Jessamyn West.  West is on the WMF advisory board.

  • “Each piece of information that you make mandatory is one small piece of friction in somebody’s sign-up process. If you’re asking for information, make sure there’s a reason. And think really hard about whether you need personal information such as gender for any legitimate reason. If so, offer more than two options and ‘Other.'”
  • “The community helps with all of this through flagging tools. That is, they can indicate that something needs moderator attention. Part of the function of this feature is just that — moderators can’t be everywhere at once. Another function , however, is indicating what behaviors aren’t okay on the site. Since one of the flagging options is “offensive/sexism/racism”, that also helps set expectations about what sort of participation is discouraged.”
  • “The one other thing that I think is essential for community enforcement is having a place where the community can discuss moderator actions.”

If your website’s full of assholes, it’s your fault, by Anil Dash

  • “When you engage with a community online in a constructive way, it can be one of the most meaningful experiences of your life. It doesn’t have to be polite, or neat and tidy, or full of everyone agreeing with each other. It just has to not be hateful and destructive.
  • “You should have the technology to easily identify and stop bad behaviors…. a way for people to flag behavior that violates guidelines, and a simple set of tools for allowing moderators to respond quickly and appropriately…”
  • “You should make a budget that supports having a good community, or you should find another line of work.”
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