Mo people, mo problems-five ways to keep trolls out

five double 0, that's my phone number

Blowing away your community because all your members are idiots who say dumb stuff is very tempting but there a few reasons why you shouldn’t. Mainly because it could be a sign that you are doing a great job:

“for human groups, a few hundred seems to be an upper limit for a group size compatible with everyone’s knowing everybody. In our state society for instance, school principals are likely to know all their students by name if the school contains a few hundred children, but not if it contains a few thousand children. One reason why the organisation of human government tends to change from that of a tribe to that of a chiefdom in societies with more than a few hundred members is that the difficult issue of conflict resolution between strangers becomes increasingly acute in larger groups” Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond 1997

It’s the same thing that happens in fast growing workplaces and popular cities- mo people, mo problems. 

1. Law and order. Smaller tribes self regulate more easily due to social pressure and you don’t need to do much to calm down a little blog spat or tacky image post. As groups become larger and more anonymous (think big city versus small town), you may need more law and order and I hate to say it, rules in the form of community guidelines. A secondary login might help to keep anon posters down and put some real faces in the mix to humanise the community. 

2. In the words of the great Tony Robbins, if there are weeds in your garden, pull them out. Don’t pretend there are no weeds and let the trolls take over but also, don’t freak out after a bad hit and blow away the branded Facebook page you spent three years cultivating.  It might just be time to reassess your strategy, gear up some more people to help and think about how you can run your page for a larger audience. Identify and pull out the weeds, you may not need to nuke the whole rainforest. 

Run from the thread

3. Party in the comments. Jonah Peretti from Buzzfeed/ HuffPo discovered that people loved the crazy-sauce comments that appeared at the bottom of their stories. Depending on your community, you may want to leave some weird stuff in their for seasoning. 

4. Talk to some other community managers at other workplaces and find out what they do. Sometimes, lobbing some feel-good content like iPad giveaways and free t-shirts can reset an angry mob. Just sharing your ideas and venting frustrations can make a big difference and you won't feel like you're doing a bad job all the time. I took a beaten down team to another company for a morning and they just sat and watched another online community team working. It made a huge difference to their confidence and showed them some new ways of managing prickly customers. 

5. Reward the good behaviour. Welcome new members so the same people don’t get attention for stirring. Much like the small town/ big city thing, sometimes the founding members of a community can be demanding and expect special treatment. Look after them but don’t let them drag the community down by bringing up old stuff and family feuds from 1967 all the time. It’s important to keep growing and pruning is a part of that. 

How do you make people feel culturally comfortable?

I heard an idea last week that I really liked and now I’m going to share it with you: culturally comfortable
Isn’t that great? Culturally comfortable. 

Father David (that's him in the photo) mentioned it in the context of Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori) in churches and how we should always try to create communities where different groups are welcome and celebrated. So it’s not about Maori churches or Pakeha churches (he speaks Maori and ministers in a lot of Maori communities) but making sure everyone feels comfortable in each other’s environments. 

Cultures and environments fascinate me in both a workplace and a wider society context. I can’t help but think we put a lot of emphasis on physical workplace environments nowadays and can kind of miss the pull that culture has. Anyone can go and buy some cool furniture and throw some toys around the place but are people actually using the stuff? I did a project for a very fancy investment firm once and they had beautiful harbour-view offices with architecturally designed coffee station perch things where people were meant to hang out and cross-pollinate and synergy with each other or something. After a few trips to the coffee stations I realised that 1. they were always super clean with no rubbish or spoons. 2.every time I walked to the coffee station I could feel hundreds of eyes watching me. 3. I was the only one using the coffee stations. The culture was competitive and clock-watchey. Any movement away from your cubicle was seen as slacking. People who took lunch breaks were weaker humans and it was duly noted by the hundreds of open plan office eyes that had me under surveillance. 

Physical environmental design had not conquered a paranoid culture and I was not culturally comfortable

How do people react when someone makes a mistake?

How do people react when someone has success?

Do people hang out and you know, actually like each other?

How do we make people feel that work is like home but also appreciate that they aren’t everyone and people are going to have different ideas about what ‘fun’ is and what ‘expensive’ is and what ‘Christmas party’ looks like?

Do the people who have been with the company for 25 years welcome the people who started this morning? What does ‘welcome’ look like? What does ‘welcome’ feel like?

I like this idea of ‘culturally comfortable’ because it recognises that not everyone is the same but everyone needs to be included and that there is a feeling to culture. 

How do you improve the cultural comfort of your home? 
How do you improve the cultural comfort of your workplace and communities?

Bill Murray is awesome

Bill Murray did an AMA on Reddit. It's very cool. He is very cool. I love this comment:

[–]_BillMurray[S] 2595 points 9 hours ago

"The best experience with a fan? It happens sometimes where someone will say "I was going through a really hard time. I was going through a really hard time, and I was just morose or depressed.

And I met one person who said I couldn't find anything to cheer me up and I was so sad. And I Just watched Caddyshack, and I watched it for about a week and it was the only thing that cheered me up. And it was the only thing that cheered me up and made me laugh and made me think that my life wasn't hopeless. That I had a way to see what was best about life, that there was a whole lot of life that was wonderful. And I happen to know (from her own spirit) that that person has really triumphed as an artist and as a human being, and if it's just a moment when you can reverse a movement, an emotion, a downward spiral, when you can quiet something or still something and just allow it to change and allow the real spirit rise up in someone, that feels great.

I know I'm not saving the world, but something in what I've learned how to do or the stories that I've tried to tell, they're some sort of representation of how life is or how life could be. And that gives some sort of optimism. And an optimistic attitude is a successful attitude."

Possibly the best thing is that Bill Murray knows he's awesome and answers a question about his awesomeness in a very awesome way:

–]_BillMurray[S] 3083 points 9 hours ago

"Well, nothing prepared me for being this awesome. It's kind of a shock. It's kind of a shock to wake up every morning and be bathed in this purple light."

So then Bill Murray just casually gave the best brand advice on the internet:

[–]_BillMurray[S] 1069 points 9 hours ago

Well I don't know if brands should be more like Bill Murray, but there's no question they should suck less. I think if you just hold that though in front of yourself, like a marching brand trumpet player has the music mounted on his trumpet, about how to make ads suck less, then that will inform your daily life. It will be the last thing you think before you go to bed, and the first thing you think about in the morning, and you will add up the cumulative data of which ads are bearable to you, which ads you respond to. Ads aren't bad in themselves. It's just the attitude. We all have to go to the store, we all have to have groceries, but there's a way to sell you things to make the exchange more of a human one. Sometimes you buy things from someone because you like their style. They watch with some fascination about the way YOU choose. If you think the ad will work backwards to what you're trying to tell them in the first place.