Community Management Sin: Wrath

Community Management Sin: Wrath

Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as “rage”, may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger.

Misbehaving children crave discipline. So do community members. No, I am not calling your community members children – they do however, many times need to be molded and guided along the way. You can’t expect your members to act in a certain way if they have no idea what is acceptable within your community. Just like in a modern society, any community that wants to survive the long haul needs a visible set of guidelines or rules, enforced by some kind of moderators or by you whenever necessary.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Misbehaving children crave discipline. So do community members. via @socializations” quote=”A well known parenting and teaching expression is that misbehaving children crave discipline.”]

Communities who choose to have no rules either become a free-for-all, overrun by spammers, scammers and trolls, or on the other end of the spectrum, you are forced to look like you are subjectively censoring members on a whim. Both of those can even happen at the same time! When brainstorming your goals for an online community, and you sit down to build your community strategy, be sure to think about how you would want your users to behave – make sure new members know this explicitly before taking part. Many times it is a lack of communication which can lead to negativity in online communities.

Other times it’s even simpler than that. Frustration with your product or service can lead members to vent their anger on your community – it may be the only place they feel they can do that. Don’t be mistaken, and remember that these most negative, and (sadly) most vocal of community members could be your greatest fans in disguise. Banning an angry member should not be your first step in dealing with the situation – you may be losing a potential vocal evangelist for your brand – if you can mend the situation.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The most negative of community members could be your greatest fan in disguise. via @socializations” quote=”The most negative of community members could be your greatest fan in disguise.”]

Six Tips for Better Managing Your Communities

  • Be a positive example. Greet members, encourage them, provide motivation and support, congratulate their accomplishments. Your community will be taking its cues from the way you lead. If you swear and nitpick and yell at others within your own community, how do you think your members will act? Be a leader.
  • Be sincere. No bulls**t. Just as you shouldn’t be overly negative, you also don’t want to be so positive that it comes off as fake. Being sincere is more important than being liked.
  • Cool down before you post. Just about one of the worst things you can do on social media is posting a comment in anger. Though messages can surely be deleted, you may not get to doing so before someone else has seen it. That mean’s it’s out there, and can blow up in your face later. Sending out angry posts or comments can cost you your community – and your job. Take a deep breath and cool down befor posting. It’s not that important to be right.
  • Avoid “you” language. Often times, when we use the word “you,” especially online, where people can’t hear your inflection or read your body language or facial expressions, we sound accusatory, like we are pointing a finger at someone. If using the word you, be sure to review what you say, and be sure before you send:
    Would you mind if that comment were directed at yourself from someone else?
    Would you take it the same way you intend?
  • Give directions, not orders. When teaching or sharing, the last thing you want to be labeled is a lecturer or dictator. Many people don’t want to stay in a bossy forum – so if you do need to make requests – remember your manners. Simply saying “Please” and “Thank You” can go a long way.
  • Accentuate the positive. Use positive words in negative discussions. Give helpful advice, don’t tear someone down. Don’t make your members feel silly or small for asking questions, even those that have already been asked.

When managing your community, you need to look past insults and poor behavior in order to analyze the underlying frustrations of your members, as well as empowering both the members and the other leaders in your community to police conduct of its members. To do so, you must be able to set up the correct tone for your community, by choosing the right words – ensuring that there is never room for misinterpretation.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Look past insults and poor behavior to analyze the underlying frustrations of your members. via @socializations” quote=”Look past insults and poor behavior to analyze the underlying frustrations of your members.”]

If you have to stop and think about whether the person you are talking to will be angry or hurt at what you have to say – chances are that is exactly what is going to happen. Be sure to always use words and phrases that are clear in message and intent, stick to your guns – but don’t be a hard-ass.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Community Management Series

Lust   Gluttony   Greed
Sloth   Wrath
Envy   Pride

Andrij Harasewych

Although I ended up graduating from Villanova University with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, a side passion of mine for the past decade has been business and marketing. After three years of working full time as a mechanical engineer, and part time as a freelancer, success in my freelance work motivated me to alter my path and focus fully on marketing.

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