Social Web Apps Design
Online Community Development

Internet Community Descriptions and Member Citizenship

by Saul Fleischman on February 20, 2013

With three and a half years of experience in creating and moderating online communities, there are few in which I have not changed permissions or rewritten group descriptions multiple times.  Often, the need to do this has blossomed from what I member has posted in the community, which revealed the need to

Guide community members from being self-serving jackasses in online communities

When members are blatantly self-promotional, and clearly, what they are flogging has no place in the given community, they help me to help them.  I change a group description, or permissions.  I rarely need to push buttons in how I treat people in the internet communities I moderate.  I prefer to treat people as humans, rather than ejecting someone with a click or otherwise not learning firsthand about their stance on what appeared to me to be questionable behavior.

Online communities: descriptions, rules, forums, and it’s all in one story

This one comes from a very small and private invite-only Google+ community.  I am  member, not a moderator, and appreciate the chance to hob-knob with G+ superstars with verified accounts, the suggested user listing, and hundreds of thousands of followers.  I truly am grateful to have been invited – but not too appreciative to share with you a poignant story that came from the slightest of tiffs within the said G+ community.

I posted the following to the “I Need Help” forum of the Community

There was no Jobs or Partnerships forum – either of those would have been even more perfect for:

#RiteTag is in need!  And RiteTag is offering plenty…

We need a few creative problem-solving #php #mysql people (anywhere). I will show the latest iteration of and talk startups, bootstrapping, working for equity – risks and rewards, and what we can offer.

Got php and also mysql skills and want to be a co-founder of a prominent project?  To meet with people worldwide, and your timezones, I will be doing three hangouts over the next week.  Plenty to choose from, pick your day and time:  [link to a specific G+ post with all the details on three G+ Hangouts].

One of the moderators, replied: “Good morning +Saul Fleischman! How are you finding people in this community relate to this area?”

I returned with: “I know that people in Comoogling know people.  They know people who would appreciate the opportunity to join our project, and might put them on to us, and our current drive to recruit just a couple php+mysql coders.  Introductions mean the world to us, so, I chose the category (forum) in the community that looked most appropriate.  Hope this is a thing to do…?”

(An exchange of a couple other nice comments ensued.)

I decided to explain in the community’s “I Need Help” forum how I was asked to take down my post.  And why I did not.  (You know, how dare I actually let people know, that, well, I need help, right…?)

I commented on my post:

I am going to share a poignant little episode that blossomed out of my post.  May any and all of you know me and how I will behave henceforth.

A moderator asked me about a promotional post of mine.  [In lieu of providing their name, “The Moderator“] felt that my post here, on which I’m now commenting was “promotional.”  I explained to The Moderator a few things:

1. [Another moderator] replied to me, asking how people in this community relate to what I posted.”  I replied to him, as you may see (above), explaining that I Need Help (yup, that’ll be over to the left – one of the topics, sure enough, and the one to which I posted this) and that there are people in this community that you make an introduction (or a hundred).  Some of them, I explained to The Moderator, would not hesitate to do so; they just need to know that my small, unfunded project really needs the help.

(The Moderator suggested I take this post down.  I continued, as follows…)

2. I politely explained that I took the time to re-read the forum (topic, you may term them) names and also the description of this community before posting, and decided that what I posted would be wrong for Promotions because, in fact, we are offering coders an equity stake in a project with thousands of man-hours by four people in it already, is already live, free to use, and while we need them, we offer much, and are “promoting” nothing.

(The Moderator again suggested again that I take down the post.)

3. I continued to refrain from telling The Moderator off, but rather pointed out that in the community description, I find “Commoogling is all about supporting each other in whatever ways we can…”  Beyond this, I see “Consider this community to be a notice board…” << That is right in the G+ community’s description, mind you.

Anyone see how this – in their description – is why I feel quite okay with posting what I did here?

Thank you, one and all, for your support, introductions, sharing of posts that I really need to get seen, and some of you understand that that can be rather daunting, when you are the partner in a project with the most followers – but still tend to get dead air in here… Thank you for understanding, as a few of you do, that with RiteTag, we are perfecting a tool for helping people reach more, but with powerful and also relevant hashtags, and without funding, without the gates of heaven opening to us from Mashable, Techcrunch, etc., every step of the way, it’s an uphill battle.

Thank you, also, if you decide that the thing to do is tell me what is wrong in my thinking, or in sharing with you, as I did, that I need help.

What are you going to do, right?  Not ask for help when you could really use it?

Some get the love, and some of us have to make enough noise until we get anything at all.

About Saul Fleischman

Founder of emerging social media tool sites. Bootstrapping innovation with lean startup development teams. I do project management, user experience, PR, marketing and community development. size it!

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