Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

How To Herd Cats (tips on running a successful online community) - Oxford Geek Night 16


Published on

This is an iteration of my Leeds Geekup talk from 2009, this time freed from the 20:20 format which meant less slides and more rambling.

Again it probably won't make much sense on it's own but there are associated links on under the tag "ogn16".

Published in: Technology, Education, Lifestyle

How To Herd Cats (tips on running a successful online community) - Oxford Geek Night 16

  1. 1. How To Herd Cats (Tips for running a successful online community) - What is this talk about? - 11-ish tips for running an existing community - I tried for 10 and overshot slightly - What’s it not about - Not starting or bootstrapping a community. That's a different talk - Community management is frustrating, exciting and rewarding all at the same time - Prepare to be one part UN Envoy, one part Benevolent Dictator
  2. 2. "You can herd cats, move their food." - Still not entirely sure about the food analogy, but it made me laugh - So who is this talk for? - Professional community managers, volunteers, activists, even marketing - Based on my experience with and the Oxford Flickr Group - Nothing original here, it’s a distillation of things I’ve learnt from watching luminaries of community management - Jono Bacon - Ubuntu, Heather Champ, George Oates - Flickr, Denise Wilton - Moo, Matt Haughey - Metafilter
  3. 3. Set the ground rules - Be consistent and apply the rules fairly - Be willing to adapt and refine if things keep cropping up - Communities are living breathing things, organic - Let people know someone is watching out for them, be involved (more on this later)
  4. 4. Speaking of rules - Rough ground rules are best, not directives - "Simple is sustainable" - Jono Bacon (The Art of Community, available to download under a CC license) - Community should not be about bureaucracy - Best example: "Don't be creepy. You know the guy. Don't be that guy" - Flickr’s Community Guidelines
  5. 5. Avoid the single point of failure - Spread your responsibilities - Recruit other members as administrators and moderators - Holiday time becomes less of an issue - Especially for international communities - Metafilter has geographically distributed admins keeping an eye on things as the world turns - Oxford Flickr admins keep going to the pub together (whoops!)
  6. 6. Reward good behaviour - Highlight good responses - Positive reinforcement - Promote from within
  7. 7. Ensure you have the right tools - Does your CMS / Platform have the tools to manage your community effectively? - Multiple privilege levels, banning, blocking - Monitoring content - RSS (monitor incoming content), Google Alerts - Administration - Greasemonkey scripts for Firefox
  8. 8. Lead by example - "Be The Best Member Of Your Community" - Matt Haughey - "Post regularly and intelligently" - Matt Haughey - Maintain a high profile, it keeps some troublemakers away - Comes back to the point: let people know someone is watching out for them
  9. 9. Tend your garden with care - Yes, I got eaten by a wooden dinosaur, it’s all okay now though - People should be proud of their shared space - Give them a sense of belonging and ownership - Involve the community in decisions, but be prepared to make the final call - Again it’s the UN Envoy/Benevolent Dictator split
  10. 10. Beware of knee-jerk reactions - This goes for you as well as your members - Look for opportunities to reframe the conversation into something more useful. What’s the underlying cause? - Heather Champ - "The feedback you get over the first two weeks is less reactionary and a lot more thoughtful [than the first 48 hours]" - Watch for wedges. What are wedges? Divisive elements that can blow up - No advice how to recognise them, but you'll learn - First Offence? - Don't berate first time mistakes publicly, use a back channel, take the chance to educate
  11. 11. Own your mistakes - Take responsibility when you screw up - You will screw up - Seriously, you will screw up - Flickr and the the Yahoo authentication incident - Change is hard
  12. 12. Act quickly when things go wrong - A split second decision can persist - This is the exception to avoiding knee jerk reactions - Your tools will be invaluable - Don't be afraid to stop a discussion - Give people time to cool down - Spammers, porn, et al - Broken window theory - If people’s shared space isn’t looked after then things will get worse
  13. 13. Get outside once in a while - It’s difficult to flame someone you’ve shared a pint with - Face time is key - Humanises personas - Gives you a chance to put a voice and mannerisms to the name - People will connect over issues outside of the community sphere - Positive reinforcement again - Social ties feed back into the community
  14. 14. And finally… - Before I go - Communities can be difficult and you need to know when to step away - Moments of frustration, anger - If you don’t have at least one sleepless night a month you’re doing it wrong. Or less stressed than me - But remember…
  15. 15. Have fun! - Reward - Real moments of “Wow, look what we did!”
  16. 16. More Information Thanks Torchbox, Heather Champ, George Oates, Denise Wilton, Jono Bacon, Matt Haughey Photos And me. - Interesting links on delicious under ogn16 - Feel free to follow me on twitter (although I tend to ramble about lots of things outside of communities)