Community: User Management

By floris · Aug 20, 2004 ·
  1. floris
    User Management

    After building your web site and getting your community going, it is important to realize how you are going to manage the users who visit your site as a guest or registered member. How you want your staff to behave and how you want to process abusive users.

    We invite you to read this article written by 2thumbsup to learn more, or at least let you check your basics.

    Author: 2thumbsup
    Web site:

    Forum Rules

    One of the most important aspects of a successful forum are the rules. If the staff makes the rules to strict, members leave. If the rules are too lienent, the forum turns to chaos. Somewhere in the middle is a nice medium. For example, if you want the forum to be rated PG, you would add a swear filter. However, many members would view this as childish, and lose respect for the forum. To counter this, make a special forum where the swear filter is disabled, where users are cautioned about the content of the forum before entering. Let the moderation in this forum be lose, so members can openly discuss what they want and release tension. Remember, though, even forums like this need some rules, to make sure users don't overstep their boundry.

    Staff Responses

    Many forums have a Suggestions area, where members can post what they would like to see on the site. I have noticed on a lot of forums that the admins will just say "no, won't happen" and close the thread. This leads to the user being upset and angered. Instead, explain to the user why their suggestion cannot be implemented, and leave the thread open incase they have any more questions. Recently, a user at my forum requested the avatar file size limit be increased from 20k to 100k, because he had a large avatar. I respond that such a large avatar would cause both server stress and client stress, so it would not be possible. That answered his question, and he went on normally, without being upset. Make sure your staff answers questions as kindly as possible, without any resentment or sarcasm.

    Staff Posting

    Everyone has seen it. The lone moderator or super moderator at a forum who loves to disagree. These can be quite troublesome. At one forum I was an admin at, one particular super moderator banned people who disagreed with him. New members would post, he would disagree, a heated argument would begin, and the new member would be banned for good. The owner of the site did nothing about it, and so the bannings continued, and new members stop posting. Eventually, all the threads had to be deleted, because guests were reading them, and leaving without registering. At one point, we had a few regulars who left because they couldn't stand him. Make sure your staff knows to be nice to new members. Don't arrogant, even if you are correct. Post links so the new members can know what you know, and don't make them feel bad about not knowing something. This scares new members away, and scares potential members away as well.

    Go Easier on New Members

    Most forums have a no flame policy; insult another member, you'll be banned. On new members, ease up on the rules a little. If they begin violating the rules, do not ban them right away. Instead, explain the rules to them, direct them to the forum rules, tell them to take a look at the FAQ. New members are scared away very easily, so the staff should make sure that they are as comfortable as possible. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as the posting of trojans and/or virii.

    Successful Banning

    One common mistake in banning is temporarily banning a user. This should be avoided at all costs. Only temporarily ban a user for one day; any longer, and you are just asking for problems. Either ban a user for 1 day, or ban him forever. Longer then a day, the user gets upset, and will tend to retaliate against the forum, causing problems.

    Problems With the Staff

    In many cases, certain users will have problems with certain staff. To settle this, posting a sticky informing users how to file a complaint, or even better, set up a special forum where they can post complaints. Make sure the forum is set up so that only you and the user can view the users post. This way, the user can make file a complaint quickly and securely, without the risk of anyone else finding out. Read the post, and then monitor the staff member. If his actions are improper, inform him of it, and possibly remove him if neccessary.

    © Copyright 2004 - 2thumbsup &

    Floris & Staff

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