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Comunidades, English, Gestión e innovación

When push comes to shove with abusive users

Large online communities share a slight problem: in order to enable conversations, there’s a few guidelines that need to be followed. New topics must go in the appropriate forum, and it’s very much reccomended to do a search before asking a question anew; good manners are required; and so on. But out of (for instance) 50.000 people, some hundreds are bound to ignore the guidelines.

Out of those hundreds, some are “non-socialized” newbies, and some are recalcitrant bad mannered people who choose to ignore those guidelines. The first group is more or less constant but its members change (and there’s many methods to educate them); the second is persistent, and increases the workload of moderators disproprortionately.

After many hours lost merging repeated topics, closing inadequate ones, moving topics to different forums, and generally cleaning after unconsiderate visitors… moderators start showing signs of burnout. This weekend, discussing the matter with a few experienced Macuarium.com hands, the level of burnout with those cases was huge. We started searching for corrective measures, and a lot of them came up. We’ll be trying some.

One proposal tells the story. Starting next week, people who routinely abuse the forum guidelines at the Macuarium forums will risk being put in an adequatel-named group (“naming and shaming” is a tried method) and will see a huge banner each time they try to start or answer a topic. It will be inspired in this:

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The banner links to the guidelines, and says:

“Before you write anything, visit this [link], you lazy bastard”.

It gives an idea of the feelings of the moderator who proposed it. And it may work, too.

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