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I know that many of my colleagues and peers will disagree with me here, but I believe there can come a time when you, the community manager have to enforce your guidelines publicly. I am going to go further to say that you may even have to use someone as an example for all to witness.
Not ideal, I know.
But before you balk and get ready to tell me how this will destroy a community, let me tell you that I’ve done it and it didn’t back fire in the way you would think.

Now, keep in mind that it does depend on the type of community you manage. My site is connected to a traditional news organization and it’s also very local, so our topics run the gamut. It’s essentially a free-for-all in terms of content. You never know what to expect, so you just expect it all.

Martin Reed wrote a post a while back called Never forget who is in charge of your online community.

When I read it back in June, I think I was on the verge of doing just that. Our one year anniversary was approaching, as was my review, and I found myself getting so caught up in growing the community and making sure I didn’t offend, that it was getting unwieldy.

Well, that moment has certainly passed. Just yesterday I wrote a blog that was very direct. Here is an excerpt:

If you want to be here, act like it. If not, go somewhere else. The internet is huge. Find your niche. It’s out there. Thanks, and have a great day.

Yes, it sounds harsh but the people it applied to knew it, and so did everyone else.
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October 2008
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Just so you know

This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.


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