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comment by goobster
goobster  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 12, 2020

Man... you have hit all of my areas of (mild) expertise...

Online Community. I've been moderating online communities since the mid-1980's. A good and positive community does not come without constant vigilant moderation, in subtle ways. (The Ban Hammer never works.) I have a facebook group of 2,500 people that we manage to keep polite and civil with a team of 6 moderators/admins. It is an art, not a science, and it is exhausting and requires constant tending. People who sit at keyboards are utter and complete dicks. Period.

Workflows. Taught myself Microsoft Flow (now called Power Apps), which is built in to SharePoint. If you are asking about Zoho and LMS's, then I assume your company has not bought in to the full Microsoft environment (Active Directory, SharePoint, Outlook, etc.), and therefore MS Flow (and other associated apps) will be useless. Zoho and ZenDesk and even tools like SmartSheet are often used to automate data collection and dissemination... all are basically glorified FAQs and knowledgebases. They are all the same thing: A configurable database of objects that tries to make associating different objects with each other simple, or automated.

There are three distinct branches here that each do different things, that you have conflated into one:

- workflows, which attempt to create 'wizard-like' interfaces for data collection;

- knowledge capture and dissemination, which are glorified databases, but are highly configurable environments where you build your own customized solution using the vendor's tools (Zoho, Smartsheet, ZenDesk, et al). The end result is never as good as the demos they show you, because you suck at designing with their tools (because you have never done it before) and will do it wrong, and before you can fix it, too many people at your organization will have already adopted it, and you will always be stuck with a half-finished solution;

- learning management systems, which are effectively glorified XML file creators, that allow you to create a series of steps and if/then decision trees that contain assets like images/text/video, then output those steps and assets in a standard file format so they can be imported into other LMS's (because most large companies have their own LMS, and don't want to use yours, but they want your content in their system.)

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Effective online communities: 101

- Moderators are online 24x7 monitoring the system.

- New users are only allowed in after some basic vetting steps.

- Community rules are posted next to the commenting area.

- A core group of "high power/visibility" users are connected together and coordinating efforts in a separate online chat (usually WhatsApp) where they strategize about how to guide conversations or tamp down embers before they become flames.

- Any moderation is first done in private 1-on-1 conversation with the "problem user", discussing your concerns, and asking them to edit/update/delete their comment that caused the kerfuffle.

- Users are almost never banned, but when they are, it is permanent. No returns.

Note that none of this exists in Hubski. That's because Hubski doesn't follow the "rules" of community engagement; new people can't post, so they have to hang out for a bit and see the flavor of the place before they can interact with it. In every way, that is the "wrong way" to build a community... but look at us!

I am not aware of any community-building tool that is designed from the start to make it hard for new people to interact. It's counter-intuitive, and it works for this unique space we have. I do not see how it could work using any of the off-the-shelf community tools available on the internet today; they are built with a different purpose in mind.

Anyway. Yeah... those are my thoughts.





humanodon  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    - knowledge capture and dissemination, which are glorified databases, but are highly configurable environments where you build your own customized solution using the vendor's tools (Zoho, Smartsheet, ZenDesk, et al). The end result is never as good as the demos they show you, because you suck at designing with their tools (because you have never done it before) and will do it wrong, and before you can fix it, too many people at your organization will have already adopted it, and you will always be stuck with a half-finished solution

It's like you've been looking over my shoulder the whole time ;_;

That said, thanks so much for your insights! If you'd be open to me further picking your brain, particularly about online community moderation, please let me know. What's here is really great, but I find myself wondering if showing you in more detail what I'm working with and discussing what we're going for might spark other thoughts. If you're not interested in that, then again, thank you for taking the time to collect and to share your experience with me.

goobster  ·  103 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Happy to chat about it, and help in any way I can.

But you need to understand this is never a TOOLS problem. It's not something the right software can address. You can use any of dozens of different software tools.

What it comes down to is the HUMANS who are pulling the strings in the background; the moderators.

Not many people have the skills/perspective/talent to be a good moderator, and without the right people, the tool you choose won't matter. It's almost like you are approaching the problem from the wrong direction - looking at the tools first - rather than figuring out how to make your existing community leader's job easier.

But yeah! Hit me up! Let's chat.