Staff Members who are on another forum..

Discussion in 'Members & Staff' started by Renshaw, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Renshaw

    Renshaw Keep at it!

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    I've got a little problem.

    Right, I run a forum that's got around 3000 members. I've recently taken addition of another staff member who's on ANOTHER forum as a moderator that is a complete take off of our forum (Design is pretty much the same, forums laid out the same). My problem is, is he a threat to our community as he could be as pathetic as it sounds, "an insider"?

    Anyone got views on this, or experience?
     
  2. AWS

    AWS Guest

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    There should be no problem unless the mod uses his access on your forum to recruit members for the other site. In fact his presence might bring users from the other site to yours.
     
  3. Secret

    Secret Participant

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    And he/she could also share his/her experience about the "other" forum. :D
     
  4. Renshaw

    Renshaw Keep at it!

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    That's the problem as it stands now, all their members are my members!

    I'm not saying he's done it, but someone has somehow!
     
  5. RHawes

    RHawes Fan

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    I believe in personal freedom on the Internet. I've seen forums where the admins have tried to control members, to tell them where they can and cannot go, and I've seen the damage it can do. I strongly believe that members and staff should be free to go where they want, join whatever forums they want and, unless they are paid staff, take on official responsibilities on other sites.

    However, I also believe that the first duty of any forum admin is to their community, and sadly when a staff member takes on a staff position on a rival forum these two beliefs come into conflict.

    In an ideal world I would never dream of telling a staff member that they would have to choose between working on my forum and working for a rival, but we don't live in a real world. It doesn't really matter if this staff member has done anything to betray you, the fact is that this other site is your rival, they are at best mimicking you, at worst stealing from you, and whether or not this guy is honest or not is irrelevant. Your focus has to be on your community, but it can't be when you're constantly having to worry about whether this individual is helping your rivals.

    I'm not advocating sacking him, but you do have to give him a friendly ultimatum. Contact him and let him know that you're not comfortable with him being a staff member on both sites. Tell him that you're leaving the choice entirely up to him, but he needs to choose between being a staff member on your site and being a staff member on theirs. Make it clear that there will be no hard feelings if he chooses to stay with them, and do your best to explain your reasons.

    Of course, if you actually don't trust him, that's another matter. You can't have staff working for you if you don't trust them. If you do trust him, I would advise doing what I've suggested in my previous paragraph. If you find that you don't trust him then it doesn't really matter that he's working for your rival - he needs to go. In that case, send him a polite message informing him that you've decided to make changes to your staff team, his services are no longer required, and thank him for his help.

    Ultimately, that's what it comes down to. If you don't trust him, you need to get rid of him. If you do trust him but consider his staff position on the rival forum a conflict of interest, you need to explain that to him and let him make his choice.

    Rob
     
  6. MissMoke

    MissMoke I speak Jive

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    I completely agree with RHawes.
     
  7. zomgmike

    zomgmike Participant

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    This^

    If you try to control people too much, they'll just leave.
     
  8. howard11

    howard11 Fan

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    Just say to them im sorry its nothing against you but you cant work for my forum and another it just isnt pratical for the forum.
     
  9. phreakwars

    phreakwars Wakka Wakka Wakka

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    One of the forums I ADMIN is the same one as AWS. Been doing it for a few years now (with the WPYO project that was sold a while back), in addition to doing my own forums, and moderating on yet others. And even still, participating on many many more using the "PHREAKWARS" moniker. I actively advertise my own forums, yet still promote the site AWS and I admin.

    It has been my experience that this helps more then it hinders forum growth, from an SEO standpoint.

    If the members are abandoning ship, so to speak, then there is probably a different issue with the forum that needs to be looked at, not the MOD.
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  10. Renshaw

    Renshaw Keep at it!

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback it's helped a lot.

    I mean, I'm not too concerned at the fact that he's a mod on another forum, because like you've said he's free to do that. What bugs me is that the forum that he's a moderator on, is a complete copy of my forum. Which is really annoying. I mean, theres always going to be copies out there, and I shouldnt be too worried when we've got 3000ish members and they've got 100 members.

    I guess I'm just being a bit paranoid.. Welcome to the world wide web..
     
  11. Corydalis

    Corydalis Adherent

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    Renshaw, I'm not completely clear on what's happened here.

    When you say "I've recently taken addition of a staff member ..." does this mean that you just hired him, knowing that he was a moderator at the competing board, and are now having second thoughts? Or has he been staff at your board for a while and you've just found out he's a moderator at the other board?

    We have a situation at our site with a competing board that is copying what we're doing, including some of our coding. While that is life on the Net, I don't think I would invite one of their current moderators/staff members to be in a position of trust at our site. If one of our current staff members decided to become a moderator at that particular board, I would remove him from our staff.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2008
  12. Renshaw

    Renshaw Keep at it!

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    Interesting post there Corydalis..

    He's been a mod on my forums since the early days, but I've recently noticed now that he's a mod/admin on two copy cat sites!

    That's where i'm puzzled as to where to take it from here.
     
  13. RHawes

    RHawes Fan

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    You clearly don't trust him and based on what you've said I think you have good reason. Sack him. Be polite, thank him for his service, but then remove him. You have a community to run - you can't have your energy diverted worrying about a staff member who is clearly working against you.

    Rob
     
  14. scotslass

    scotslass just another haggis :)

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    i agree with rob, i have had a very similar scenario, though at the time i didnt deal with it in a polite manner. I would now however! Dont waste any more time on this staff member, demote him with thanks and move on. ALso when it comes to copy cat sites, i know its annoying, but try to take it as a compliment...your forum is obviously so good, some cant resist copying it. I bet they wont last :)
     
  15. Infamous Flame

    Infamous Flame Ewan McLean

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    On the one hand: if you don't trust him enough to not poach your members; you shouldn't be putting him in a position of authority/respect.

    On the other hand: what's wrong with someone being involved with two different communities discussing similar/same topics? And also, do you hold him responsible for the design (copying) decisions of the other forum's owner/admin?
     
  16. RHawes

    RHawes Fan

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    Nothing at all. I have a Committee member (not staff, but has much of the same authority and access as a staff member) who is a designer on another writing site. I have another Committee member who is a moderator on another writing site. I have no problem with either of these members being involved in these other writing sites, because while our sites exist for the same purpose, we are not rivals. However, there are a handful of sites I do consider rivals, and if one of my staff or Committee members decided to take a staff position at one of those sites I would give them the option of resigning from their position of authority on my site or my rival's site.

    There is a big difference between a site that is competition and a site that is a rival - that difference is animosity.

    Rob
     
  17. Infamous Flame

    Infamous Flame Ewan McLean

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    Very true, did you reach a decision?
     
  18. esj

    esj Enthusiast

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    We ran into that problem several years ago. We ask all our staff to disclose it to us if they mod/admin on a competing forum. That said, we allow mods to be staff on other forums - even rivals. A lot are there because their friends are there or because they like it or because they don't want to pick sides.

    When we had an admin who was also an admin on a rival forum - she dropped the other forum when she joined on as an admin. we didn't have to ask her to do it (although we might have) - she just said it was not appropriate - a sentiment I agree with.

    esj
     
  19. RHawes

    RHawes Fan

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    We learned our lesson the hard way. When my co-admin and I were setting up our forum, we had a third person helping us. Like us, he was a staff member on the site that is now our biggest rival. Unlike us, he had ambitions at that site and no intention of leaving it. He was a close friend of mine and someone I trusted completely, so I didn't even question his motives when he told me he wasn't going to resign as a staff member on the other site.

    During the construction phase of my site, my co-admins and I made a number of strategic plans. We created lists of authors we wanted to invite to join us, ideas for generating income, promotional strategies, policies, some very sensitive information. Then one evening I got an email from my friend telling me that he was stepping down as an admin on my site. Shortly after that he was made an administrator on the other site.

    It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that we realised he had taken our strategic plans and traded them for his administrator position on that site. It was only when we began approaching authors and discovered that many had already been offered hosting by our rival, or had been contacted warning them about us. To cut a long story short, the damage he did set us back months.

    Maybe my opinion is coloured by my experience then, but I will not allow a member of my staff, or a member on one of my Committees, to serve as a staff member on a rival site whilst retaining their position on mine. When you trust someone completely and call them your friend and they still betray you without a moment's hesitation, it becomes difficult to trust others. Now I won't take the chance.

    I'm posting this both as a warning and so you'll understand where I'm coming from on this issue. I'm not unbiased, because I've had a staff member betray me and hurt my site in the process. Staff members are privy to sensitive information. They are also in a position to do serious harm to your community if they set their mind to it. If they want to work for a rival, I respect their decision. However, I won't have my focus distracted worrying about what secrets my staff are sharing with my rival.

    Maybe I'm paranoid, but as they say, fool me once...

    Rob
     
  20. scotslass

    scotslass just another haggis :)

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    i am with rob there, on my first forum i had a what i thought was a fantastic team, there was never any rows, the forum ran smoothly and was growing by the day...i was due to move home which meant i would be off line for some weeks and i had no hesitations handing over control of the forum to my co admin. I was so chuffed to be back online 4 weeks later...and then i was informed that two of my staff members, a co admin and a moderator, had decided they could do better, and took all my new ideas that i was going to implement once i got back on line, and made an almost complete copy of the forum, right down to two letter difference in the title of it. I was very badly hurt by it and dont trust staff members as a result, as much as it saddens me to be that way. It has seen me over react with staff members since as a result that i have found on other forums, but i am trying to curb that now into a more proffesional manner, but once bitten twice shy definately applies here.
     
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