Online communities are not created equal. So stop telling me that my issue should be easy to fix, or better yet, that it shouldn’t even be an issue.

Your community is different from mine.

Of course I’ve tried communicating with the troublemakers offline. Sometimes it works, other times it fuels their fire. One behind-the-scenes email that worked wonders for you may spark a major troll-fest for me.

Your community is different from mine.

Don’t tell me that public reprimands are anti-community and that they should NEVER happen.  Are public reprimands ideal? No. But they can send a message that the community supports as well as illustrate your seriousness on the matter and nip it in the bud.  (Here is one of my recent posts about feuds among members.)

If yours is a niche site and mine is very broad and a bit unwieldy, we may not be able to handle things the same way. Your solution may not be mine, and mine may not be yours. 

But even if our solutions aren’t the same, I want to know about your experiences. I want to know what has worked for you and tell you about my successes and failures.

The dialogue among community professionals should be understanding, empathetic and most importantly, stem from the mutual agreement that this is not a one-size-fits all craft.

The conversation that took place on Bryan Person and Sonny Gill’s #CommunityChat on Friday is a leap in the right direction. Community managers were open and honest about the jobs we’re tasked with doing and weren’t afraid to share dissenting opinions. It was a beautiful thing. You can see the transcript here.

We have to keep in mind that no one has cornered the market on community management. Success will always depend heavily on many factors including the brand it represents, demographics, mission and long-term goals.

And the key here is this:

Community Management is not a science.

It’s an art.

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