ahc reacted to Matt for an entry, How to deal with negativity and toxicity in your community
The term "flame-wars" was coined way back in the 1970s when computer scientists talking in the first electronic discussion boards noticed that here was "an escalation of critical comments and an increase in the frequency with which people would respond with short negative messages."
For anyone that has ventured into the comment section of Youtube, read Twitter for more than a few minutes or frequented active forums will know that our behaviour hasn't improved.
Sherry Turkle, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at MIT, conducted hundreds of interviews over 15 years and found that "we allow ourselves behaviours online we never would in person." These interactions aren't just restricted to strangers on social media as Turkle notes that "we do things online that hurt and damage real relationships".
Why is this?
Tom Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar project on civic engagement at the Harvard Kennedy School, explains that having the ability to be anonymous "can be a real attraction if no one knows you have a drinking problem or depression.
The Internet can be useful in allowing people to anonymously 'come out' about their problems and get support. But it is also an Achilles heel. If people don't know who you are, you are much more likely to say things in a nasty or snarky tone.
In general, we invest less in our reputation in online groups because it is easier to exit them and join other groups. In real space, if you don't get along with your neighbour, you're less likely to say something really nasty, because moving out of town is costly."
A lot of toxicity is from those who just like hearing themselves talk, or feel better when they put others down. Some people think they are clever and witty by using sarcasm and pointing out the flaws in another's argument.
Here's a few ways to manage negativity in your community.
Model your ideal behaviour
The simplest and most effective way to manage negativity in your community is to be the behaviour you seek.
Ensure your replies and friendly and polite. Be fun where appropriate and learn about your regular members. Make sure your team is visible and post regularly so the community feels well run and someone is on hand to deal with issues when they arise.
Your community will follow suit and replicate your behaviour. When your community is positive and helpful, toxicity and negativity find it very hard to get a foothold. Your members will weed it out and correct those members for you.
Have clear guidelines
Socious's Senior Director of Community Management, Katie Bapple advises moderators not to be impulsive when dealing with toxic members.
"Controversial community members should not be dealt with compulsively; have reasonable guidelines and policies in place that draw a clear line, so you know when it's been crossed."
A clear and well-written community guidelines document won't stop trouble from occurring, but it will provide your team with clear boundaries and protocols to follow.
Have a light touch with moderation tools
It's easy to reach for the moderation tools when you see toxic or very harmful posts in a topic. It only takes a few clicks, and you can remove it from view and pretend it didn't happen.
However, much like a child trying to get his parent's attention, the more you try and silence them, the louder and more insistent they will be to get heard. They'll very likely return more inflamed and vitriolic than before.
Unless the content crosses the boundaries you have set for your community; it is often more productive to post a polite reply gently guiding the discussion back on track and thank contributors for their input so far.
If this doesn't de-escalate the situation, then:
Make it private
Open a dialogue with the offender to try and calm the situation. Often this act alone makes the member feel valued and transforms them into a happy and productive member of the community.
Just remind them of the boundaries set out in your community guidelines.
At least you will stop the member from continuing to post in public areas and derailing topics.
Use the appropriate moderation tool
Invision Community is packed with tools to help manage toxicity and negativity. However, reaching right for the ban button may not be the best course of action.
Consider a warning, which the member must acknowledge before posting again. Keep it friendly and polite and to the point. If the behaviour continues, then consider a short term block. Often an enforced 48 hours away from the community is enough to regain some perspective.
Don't assume it'll go away
The truth is people love drama, and most people are drawn towards negativity. We can't help but look when we come across a vehicle accident, and sadly, it's largely the same in a community.
It might be tempting to keep on scrolling and hope that it all sorts itself out. Likely, it won't, and intervention will be required. That might be a polite, friendly reminder to get the topic back on track, or contacting the member in private.
Either way, the best approach is to nip it in the bud with a light touch before it spins out of control, and more forceful action is required.
You can't please everyone
It should be a last resort, but your community may not be a good fit for everyone. If that is the case, then you can consider a permanent ban, or demoting the member into a read-only member group.
Ultimately though negativity and toxicity are pretty rare in an upbeat and productive community. Most quarrels are fixed quickly, and it's rare to find a troll determined to corrupt your community.
Identify your boundaries and educate your community on what is not acceptable and be proactive when issues arise, and you'll keep sentiment positive.
If you run your own community, I'd love to know what tips you can share on dealing with negativity and toxicity. Let me know below.
ahc reacted to Matt for an entry, 16 Community ideas to ring in the holidays
Outside your window, the leaves have burst into fiery reds and oranges. A crisp breeze floats in the air. The birds have long chirped their good-byes.
And you’re sipping a hot cup of apple cider, contemplating the change in season.
The holidays are almost here.
The end of the year is one of the best chances to take stock your community and provide an emotive experience for your members. It’s a chance to reflect upon what you learned, what new initiatives you started, and what you still have ahead of you. It’s a chance to provide a sense of closure to the year and to ignite one more burst of community-wide goodwill. In short, the holiday season is an amazing opportunity to bring your community together one last time in 2018.
Here are 16 ideas for the holidays in four categories. Try to select at least one idea from each category for a holiday plan that runs the gamut of the community experience. Choose the ones that you especially like; gather your staff members to brainstorm; and put together a plan that’ll navigate you better than Santa’s reindeer through the holidays!
One of the easiest and simplest things you can do is to update your community’s design for the holiday to provide an immediate visual impact. Users love to see fun twists on your theme.
1. Tweak your logo with falling snow or twinkling lights.
2. Replace your forum icons with holiday ones.
3. Go bold and install a whole new holiday theme from the Marketplace.
4. Coordinate the holiday design across all of your social media and web properties.
Your 2018 was filled with emotional triumphs and tribulations. Did your community accomplish something great? How many new members did you welcome? Did you lose any members? Create a shared experience that binds and connects your community closer together.
1. Craft a year-end mailer that chronicles your community’s victories and struggles.
2. Post a “Did You Remember This?” topic that reconnects with all the funniest, informative, and most poignant topics.
3. Edit a “Top Moments of 2018” montage that highlights the biggest events that transformed your community in the past year.
4. Memorialize members who have moved on or departed your community.
Holidays are all about demonstrating appreciation for your loved ones, and your community is no different. Take the time to demonstrate an authentic and warm appreciation for all members who have shared the past year with you.
1. Promote new users who have done a superb job of supporting the community over the year.
2. Send out physical or digital gifts as a token of your appreciation to key members.
3. Write individualized messages for every staff member that highlights their wonderful contributions.
4. Send a thank-you note to Invision Community in the comments below on how using Invision Community has helped propel your community’s growth in 2018.
Finally, the holidays are a season of celebration. Spread tidings of joy and merriment to all members in your community, social media, and offline for all-around cheer.
1. Count down to the holidays with different daily announcement using the Announcements feature.
2. Write a year-end “2018 Celebration Message” mailer to applaud all the great events from 2018
3. Host a winter giveaway with special holiday packages or gifts.
4. Throw a holiday party as a meet-up, using Calendar and Venues, to mingle with your members in person.
Reconnect your members one more time in 2018 with a rich and shared story of the past year. The holidays are an intensely emotional time that can provide an occasion for remembrance, an occasion for appreciation, and most of all, an occasion of celebration of all great things that have happened and are yet to come. Let your community be the gift that keeps on giving.
Happy holidays to all Invision Community clients, and may your winter holidays be filled with joyous cheer and community friendship!
Joel R is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. When he's not running his own successful community, he's peppering Invision Community's private Slack channel with his feedback, community management experience and increasingly outrageous demands (everything is true except the last part).
ahc reacted to Charles for an entry, Invision Community 4.3
We are happy to announce the new Invision Community 4.3 is available!
Some highlights in Invision Community 4.3 include...
We now support Elasticsearch for scalable and accurate searching that MySQL alone cannot provided. There are also enhancements to the overall search interfaces based on your feedback.
Express yourself with native emoji support in all editors. You can also keep your custom emoticons as you have now.
The AdminCP interface to manage your members is all new allowing you easier control and management of your membership.
Automatic Community Moderation
You as the administrator set up rules to define how many unique member reports a piece of content needs to receive before it's automatically hidden from view and moderators notified.
The new Clubs feature has been a huge hit with Invision Community users and we are expanding it to include invite-only options, notifications, exposure on the main community pages, paid memberships, and more.
Custom Email Footers
Your community generates a lot of email and you can now include dynamic content in the footer to help drive engagement and content discovery.
New Gallery Interface
We have reworked our Gallery system with a simplified upload process and more streamlined image viewing.
The full list follows. Enjoy!
We now support Elasticsearch which is a search utility that allows for much faster and more reliable searching. The REST API now supports search functions. Both MySQL and Elasticsearch have new settings for the admin to use to set search-defaults and default content weighting to better customize search logic to your community. Visitors can now search for Content Pages and Commerce Products. When entering a search term, members now see a more clear interface so they know what areas they are searching in and the method of search. Member Engagement
Commerce can now send a customizable account welcome email after checkout. You can whitelist emails in the spam service to stop false-positives. REST API has many enhancements to mange members. Ability to join any OAuth service for login management. Invision Community can now be an OAuth endpoint. Wordpress OAuth login method built in. Support for Google's Invisible ReCaptcha. Groups can be excluded from Leaderboard (such as admins or bot groups). All emails generated by Invision Community can now contain admin-defined extra promotional text in the footer such as Our Picks, and Social Links. Admins can now define the order of Complete Your Profile to better control user experience. Clubs
Option to make a Club visible but invite-only Admins can set an option so any Club a member is part of will also show in the parent application. So if you are in a Club that has a Gallery tab then those image will show both in the Club and in the main Gallery section of the community. Club members can now follow an entire Club rather than just each content section. There is a new option on the Club directory page for a list view which is useful for communities with many Clubs. If you have Commerce you can now enable paid memberships to Clubs. Admins can set limits on number of Clubs per group. If a group has delete permission in their Club, they can now delete empty containers as well. Members can ignore invitations. Moderation and Administration
Unrestricted moderator or administrator permission sets in the AdminCP are visually flagged. This prevents administrator confusion when they cannot do something as they will be able to quickly see if their account has restrictions. You can choose to be notified with a new Club is created. Moderators can now reply to any content item with a hidden reply. Download screenshot/watermarks can now be rebuilt if you change settings. Support for Facebook Pixel to easily track visitors. Moderators can now delete Gallery albums. Automatic moderation tools with rules to define when content should auto-hide based on user reports. Totally new member management view in AdminCP. More areas are mass-selectable like comments and AdminCP functions for easier management. New Features
Commerce now has full Stripe support including fraud tools, Apple Pay, and other Stripe features. Commerce packages can now have various custom email events configured (expiring soon, purchased, expired). Full Emojii support in the editor. Complete overhaul of the Gallery upload and image views. Announcements system overhaul. Now global on all pages (not via widget) and new modes including dismissible announcements and top-header floating bar option. Many new reports on traffic and engagement in the AdminCP. Blog has new view modes to offer options for a traditional site blog or a community multi-member blog platform. The content-starter can now leave one reply to Reviews on their item. Commerce now makes it much easier to do basic account-subscriptions when there is no product attached. Useful Improvements
Forums has a new widget where you can filter by tags. If tags are not required, the tag input box now indicates this so the member knows they do not have to put in tags. Member cover photos can now be clicked to see the full image. Any item with a poll now has a symbol on the list view. Twitch.tv embed support. You can now update/overwrite media in the Pages Media Manager. Mapbox as an additional map provider to Google Maps. Technical Changes
Direct support for Sparkpost has been removed. Anyone currently using Sparkpost will automatically have their settings converted to the Sparkpost SMTP mode so your email will still work. Your cache engines (like Redis) will be checked on upgrade and in the support tool to ensure they are reachable. Third-party applications will now be visually labeled to distinguish them from Invision Community official applications. The queued tasks list in the AdminCP is now collapsed by default as queued tasks are not something people need to pay much attention to during normal operations. When upgrading from version 3 series you must convert your database to UTF8 and the system saves your original data in tables prefixed with orig. The AdminCP now alerts you these are still present and allows you to remove them to reclaim storage space. On new installs there are now reasonable defaults for upload limits to keep people from eating up storage space. Categories in all apps (forums, gallery albums, databases, etc.) no longer allow HTML in their titles. This has been a concern both in terms of security and usability so we were forced to restrict it. Large improvements to the Redis cache engine including use for sessions. The login with HTTPS option has been removed and those who were using it will be given instructions to convert their entire community to HTTPS. Images loaded through the proxy system now honor image limits for normal uploads. We now consider BBCode deprecated. We are not removing support but will not fix any future issues that may come up.
There's a lot to talk about here so we are going to lock this entry to comments so things do not get confusing. Feel free to comment on upcoming feature-specific entries or start a topic in our Feedback forum.