Managing an Online Community: Flames are bad

big flamesA couple days ago I talked about how an online community had gotten under my skin. To be honest, the only reason I ever went to the site was to read the 40+ comments they had made about the baptism video we released last year. What type of site was this? Well, it doesn’t seem to be open to “anyone.” It seems to be open to people from a hyper-conservative branch of a denomination. In other words… they are militant about their specific denomination.

Here’s the fact. I commented once and that was plenty. Then I got a nice email encouraging me to come back and state my opinions on baptism.  Since he was so polite, I decided I would go for it… I’ll talk to anyone! I logged back in and posted a couple of paragraphs about what I believe about baptism as well as stating my personal opinion that there are many acceptable forms of baptism within Christianity and I don’t personally have a problem with their position on infant baptism. I thought I was building a bridge…

That’s when the floodgates opened up and the flames began. The straw has broken and I won’t go back when a member told me to “man up” and defend every person in the world who believes in believer baptism. So there were 30ish militant people wanting a debate with me, just a guy with a busy schedule.

Here’s why I am talking about this. As a manager of an online community this is a worst case scenario.  When I cried foul… “Hey, I’m getting flamed here!” a moderator actually posted that I wasn’t getting flamed, it was a discussion. As someone who moderates at YMX I know that some people are just sensitive. That’s not me, I’ve got thick skin. But what did happen is that a new member got scared off by a bunch of jerks. Now, I’m telling you about it. Which is the worst thing that can happen to an online community. One negative story negates 100 positive ones, maybe more.

You can’t have stories like this. One is too many. You must treat new members to an online community with respect. Attacking a new member is death to an online community… as the one I’m writing about will.






One response to “Managing an Online Community: Flames are bad”

  1. adam mclane Avatar

    Update on this one. I’ve officially left that community. I thought about just quietly leaving but then I really thought… do I want my name, in any way, associated with a site that claims to be “militantly ________?” (insert denominational title)

    No I don’t!

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