Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Community Moderators

While we discuss collaboration and Social Business or media, some people still don't understand it.

Did you ever belong to a group as a kid or were part of a school event? Of course you were, so was I. But that was pre-IBM PC, let alone pre-Internet(commercial), although not necessarily pre-Arpanet.

You would either run around to your friends, or biked or called on the phone for information. Maybe papers went home with you and your parents dealt with it. Life was simpler, but took longer then. Times have changed and mostly for the good.

However, remember sometimes there was always someone who would hold everything up? Maybe not divulge information which was truly needed or worse provide information only to their friends? Well that person is alive and well sadly and usually acting as a moderator on some social site you may belong to be it Linkedin, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Delphi or numerous others.

Twitter has no moderators, but Facebook does, for groups created or other topics that are not an individual's personal site. Yahoo groups has moderators and most social media/networking applications, especially one's aimed at corporations have moderator options.

But what happens when the moderators are biased? What if they lean politically a different way? What if they just don't like you? What are your options to resolve the problem you may be experiencing? To borrow a phrase, "Who moderates the moderators"?

What problems you say?
  • They don't let you post what you want to sell
  • They invoke a limit on how much something can be offered.
  • They only let certain businesses post.
  • There is a limit to how many times you can post a day.
  • There is no cross posting.
  • Maybe nothing about politics.
  • Perhaps you can't reply to all and say thank you for helping out.

These still exist every day and in their own way are crushing, no killing, people from using the same systems which were touted to help spread news or ideas or just jokes.

If your community can not self police itself, in a nice way, then you have other issues. But if you find some Draconian moderators and fewer people involved maybe you need to look at why you created the group and what purpose it serves.

If not you may find:
  • Other products being brought in that are not so restrictive
  • New groups popping up outside of the range of the old ones but gaining popularity
  • Losing popularity/advertising revenue or market share
  • Discussions behind closed doors or portals as the case may be
  • Lack of interest in general
  • Blog posts from irate customers or even friends
Hopefully this is not what you find, but instead find a group that:
  • Raises awareness of itself by being inclusive and open
  • Provides various options to meet the ever expanding and multicultural/national aspects of your market share
  • Accepts some poor choice posts but respects that adults know what to do about it or ignore them
Collaboraton or Social Business happens because everyone feels inclusive and does not treat anyone else as excluded, aside from security/privacy reasons. It encourages people's passions as well as base level of opportunity where from the CEO to the person on the fringe of the society can share information.

Providing too many limitations to use a product, site or newsgroup is asking for trouble. So before you become or are asked to be a moderator please do not think about how you think it should be moderated but how others need it to be moderated, if it should be at all. If you worry about keeping your list clean so to speak, do not hesitate to provide a registration form if you need one to validate people are real and not spammers or bots.

But please, please, don't treat the members of your groups like spammers or bots.