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If you’re ever in need of some interesting reading, just ask me for the keys to my inbox. You’d certainly want to grab a bag of popcorn and a soda because once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.

The emails that community managers receive from members run the gamut. They can be comical, threatening, pathetic, sad, sometimes refreshing but more often than not, downright disturbing.

I ran across Smiley, in the comments section of this post written by Martin Reed, author of the blog Community Spark.

Smiley shared an e-mail he’d received from a user that was so familiar to me I couldn’t help but laugh. Here it is:

“You are making more ******* rules tom than the marie celeste did when it sunk which is exactly what you will do …i hate to tell you that i have around 300 isps and can change and am on as we talk on this message whats your ******* point ….you are so insecure cause you no that you are not and never will be good enough for holly ..your hollys parents will be horrified by the looks of you a neo nazi punk skinhead with pink walllpaper ,looking like a raving poofta ….in your picture ….as i say its no point banning cause we are all doing what i do anyway is change isp at a flick so let your forum run down and holly will go running to a man in london she used to see and still is ..”

Geez! What this tells me is that Smiley is managing his community well. But see what we’re up against? I still can’t wrap my arms around the mindset of a person who lives to destroy an online community. I find it mind boggling.

So, after i finished laughing at Smiley’s plight I checked my BlackBerry and found my own little gem.

Here it is:

Hello Angela,
I want to discuss the reason why I was banned? I got banned because I copied what _____ said to me? She made a public life threat on your site, and I get banned for it?
I suggest you ban ______, or you might want to start looking for a new job.

Talk about being direct! I will look into this person’s claim, of course but wow…I might lose my job for banning someone, who for the record , I didn’t even ban.

I’d like to read some of your e-mails. So if you’re up for it, post one (or more) in the comments area below, and let’s have a good chuckle.

We all know that in this business, a sense of humor is a must!

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I’ve always known on-the-job stress.

As an assignment manager, I worried about missing a big story or crucial interview, sending the news crew to the wrong location and various other scenarios that involved me ending up in the news directors office for singlehandedly destroying the ratings and making us look like losers on the air. It rarely happened, but the stress existed just the same. When Governor Lawton Chiles died on my watch when I worked at WFLA in Tampa, I stressed about getting it on the air first. It was a constant state of wanting to be first, and best. The sense of urgency was constant. No stress there, right?

As a news and special projects producer, I worried that my words weren’t powerful enough, my intro was too weak or I lacked the great video needed to keep the viewers interest. It was stressful to know that the exclusive interview it took two months to land could bail at the last minute leaving little if any time recover.

While managing media partnerships In the newspaper industry, the worries were also constant. Different, but constant: Will our news partners air our content, will we collaborate successfully, and will I ever get these print reporters to understand that multimedia reporting is not an option but a requirement?

Well, now I’m dealing with user-generated content and the game has changed tremendously. I’m managing content from people I cannot control in any capacity. They are nothing more than a screen name and an e-mail address. Some are even less. I don’t know their intentions or whether or not they’re who they say they are. Quite honestly, I’m not certain about much of anything in this particular space.

New stresses consists of relentless trollers intent on wreaking havoc on the community and calling me out in public blogs and making crude references to my ability (or inability, in their anonymous eyes) to do my job by faceless names who really have no real idea what my job entails.

I recently found a kindred spirit in a post by blogger Jeremiah Owyang: Social Punishment: The Bozo Feature .

In the comments area, I found Marc Meyer who wrote that he’d actually received a death threat from a user. There is a level of insanity in that but it is real. Someone took his role as a community manager seriously enough to wish him dead. Sad, but true.

A member of my community indicated in an e-mail to my boss recently that my moderating policies have caused her “undue emotional stress.” Someone else warned that he would continue to bring a flurry of problems through his posts and purposely disrupt and even attempt to ruin the community if I did not completely remove another member from the community. And just yesterday someone commented that I must be “sexually repressed” because their blog posts riddled with sexual innuendo and inappropriate content had been removed.

I am not making this up.

Are these things worthy of stress? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s important to note that this kind of thing can really get to a person. So, if you’re a community manager dealing with any of these issues and wish to start a support group, I’m in!

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May 2020

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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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