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Why Can't We All Just Get Along (in Social Media)!?

What happens when communities don’t exactly behave the way we intended them to? Fighting and bickering is normal and actually healthy for communities. In fact, if your members aren’t squabbling every once in a while, there’s a good chance that your community isn’t all that compelling to people. If they fight, they care. That said when things get out of hand, it’s time to take action. Below are some very insightful and more common reasons people fight along with the proposed solutions (as suggested by

When Social Media Attacks

"When Social Media Attacks!" courtesy of Dan Linabury for

The Golden Child

A new member joins the site who seems to be the ideal member: helpful, smart and full of ideas. They become the golden child overnight. The moderator even pays them special attention, making older members jealous.

Solution: Ensure the moderator mentions all members equally. A smart new member is exciting, but don’t forget the older members who helped make the community what it is.

The Delinquent

A small clique forms that takes opposing views to many of the main goals of the community. Eventually they build up enough support that other members not only  take notice, they begin to fear them.

Solution: Pay close attention to this group and be aware of not only what they are saying but where they are saying it. Expect that they may take things of the community and create their own support site or blog. If things get really bad, first banning the group, then banning the trouble-making members may be your best bet to save the community.

The Gossiper

Members with partial information start rumors. Or they make assumptions based on some out-of-context conversations they may read in forums or chat. The rumors begin causing arguments, more rumors and worse: members quit of of distrust for the community.

Solution: Always monitor conversations and when a member alerts a moderator to a rumor, don’t dismiss it. Take it seriously, address the member who started it. If the member isn’t known, or it’s gone too far, make a site-wide announcement. Rumors can kill a community.

The Rebel

A new rule is placed in the community by the company that is either in direct opposition of the community’s aims, or is simply a bad idea that a CEO or marketer came up with out of the blue. Members are outraged by the rule or idea and split into camps, even forming anti-(somerule) groups.

Solution: Pay attention to the aims of the community. All ideas and rules should be filtered through the aims of the community. If it doesn’t directly support the aims of the community, kill it (unless it is part of a legal ruling that must be upheld). Better to keep a strong community thriving than risk it all for the sake of appeasing a CEO’s ego.

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