I have a rogue group of members in my community. They don’t think I know it. But I know it all too well. Their tactics are completely juvenile. They plot against other members, and pat each other on the back when their antics cause others grief.

They clearly have a lot of time on their hands.

I have struggled with handling this group. I just want to kick them all out. They all have alter egos. They present themselves to me in one way, and do a complete 180 when they think I’m not looking.

I haven’t mentioned this much until now but I am completely dissatisfied with our registration system and my hands have been tied for a long time.  You see,  my online community registration is tied to a news organization and IP banning isn’t the answer because I can’t ban people from the news. I kick them out and they’re back 15 minutes later. All it takes is a new email account. Sad, but true.  This is an area where the real troublemakers and trolls have the upper hand.

That is why I’ve been so frustrated with my peers who act as though banning IP’s solves all problems.  Not for me. It seems as though something much more archaic might be the cure.I’ve long fought the idea of credit card verification because I think that is elitist. Not everyone has a credit card. Sure, everyone in my office might, but that is not the case for the rest of the world, and I think it would alienate a large group of people.

So even as I struggle with trolls, and crazies I strive for fairness. It is truly a double-edge sword. I know we need to revamp our registration process. Hindsight is 20/20, and I can’t say that I knew how this community would morph when we launched in July of 2007.

If I could go back, I’d do things differently. But I can’t say that all the wonderful things that have happened would still happen if I went back to day one with the full knowledge I have today at day 900.

Managing a community comes with all kinds of unexpected growing pains. And as I look to pass the torch in less than two weeks, I know full well what my successor is up against. But I also know what they will not endure because it fell on me as the person who gave it life and nurtured it for 2 1/2 years.

They will be better off than I was, but their challenges will be many. The good thing is he or she will go in knowing them because my documentation will lay them out.

My company is a good one, and I don’t believe that they would leave the community without a community manager, especially after I’ve proved it’s importance day in and day out. But I worry about it.