The Cost of Being a Prominent Woman on Wikipedia – and Online

Emily Temple-Wood joined Wikipedia at 12, and became an administrator at 13. In 2016, she was honored by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales as Wikipedian of the Year. For nearly her entire time on the site, she has dealt with obscene, personal abuse.

“People have been harassing me since the first vandal figured out I was a lady,” Emily told Wired earlier this year. “Which was within a month or so of my joining the site.” She has turned that abuse into motivation, increasing the quantity and quality of women’s biographies on Wikipedia, through efforts like WikiProject Women Scientists.

On this episode, we talk about the abuse Emily has received, and how it has changed over the years, along with her methods of dealing with it. Plus:

  • The incredible contribution of teenagers to online communities and collaborative platforms
  • Why Wikipedia spoke to pre-teen Emily
  • Is there more that Wikipedia should be doing?

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The Ups and Downs of My Community Management Job Search

As I mentioned on our last episode, I recently made a big career change. We talk about careers in community management, and how to advance, fairly regularly on the show. I also love to talk to guests who are in the moment.

I’m definitely in the moment, so why not put myself under the microscope, and talk about my own search for a new role? But I don’t want to just talk to myself. My friend Brandon Eley knows as much about my search as anyone else does, and he agreed to develop and host this week’s episode of the show. He pushed me to talk about the process I went through, and why I accepted this role, including:

  • What hiring managers saw as my weaknesses
  • Why I turned down or turned away certain jobs
  • A role I wanted, after going through the interview process, that didn’t want me

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Breaking the Streak

We’ve released episodes for 20 consecutive weeks, and I really wanted to keep that streak alive. Unfortunately, it just didn’t pan out this week, and we’re going to have to take a break. But we expect to be back for our September 18 episode, and I look forward to talking with you then.

Thank you for your patience and for listening to the show.

Students Who Use the Community Pass More Exams – and Pay More Tuition

While at online education company Penn Foster, Daniel Marotta was able to prove that not only did students who participated in their online community take more exams and pass more exams, but they also paid more tuition and defaulted less on their tuition.

Now at the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care, Daniel just launched a brand new community, and it’s always fun to talk to someone in the middle of a launch. Plus:

  • Using community as a value-add to employer-provided benefits
  • Jive Software’s decision to sell their external community business to Lithium
  • Making gamification meaningful

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Digital Community in the 1970s

When we talk about the beginnings of online community, we often discuss The WELL, which launched in 1985. It’s easy to forget that some people, like our guest on this episode, were building digital communities well before that.

Randy Farmer co-created Habitat, recognized as the first graphical virtual world. Over the last 30 years, he has helped companies like Lucasfilm, Electronic Arts, Linden Lab, Yahoo! and Answers.com to design better community products. On this episode, we discuss:

  • Randy’s online community building efforts in the 1970s
  • The importance of Habitat, and its recent revival
  • Yahoo!’s acquisition of Flickr and what went on behind the scenes

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The Election Year That Never Ended

Usually, at 18-year-old online community MetaFilter, a U.S. presidential election year means a big increase in heated political discussion. But once a victor is declared, and the transfer of power occurs, things go back to normal.

Not this time. The 2016 presidential election – MetaFilter’s fifth – has created a situation where, six months after the election, they are still dealing with far more political discussion than they would normally be seeing. For a community that isn’t focused on politics, this is an incredible burden on moderators and has “measurably affected both the distribution and tone of discussion,” according to owner Josh Millard.

It has become the election year that will not end.

We also discuss:

  • MetaFilter’s recent ownership transfer from Matt Haughey to Josh
  • Member suicide deaths and the impact they have had on the community
  • How MetaFilter has addressed casual sexism, racism and transphobia

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The Broken Windows Theory

“If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” So says the broken windows theory, introduced by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in 1982, and widely adopted in law enforcement circles.

Though the theory was created with crime in mind, it has been adopted by many industries and vocations, including online community. I have seen it come up numerous times in our industry and, in talking with other veterans of the space, we’ve been applying it for quite a while.

Broken windows policing has plenty of critics and defenders. Depending on who you talk to, it has either contributed to the reduction crime or served as an enabler of oppressive policing (or both). Dr. Kelling argues that zealotry and poor implementation are the problem, and that leniency and discretion, both vital to good community policing, have been lost in the shuffle. He boils the theory down to the “simple idea of small things matter.” Plus:

  • What he would change about the original 1982 introduction of broken windows
  • How discretion and leniency factor into the application of laws
  • The misapplication of social science and theories

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How a Strict Paywall Affects Community at the Financial Times

Many online news media outlets, especially those that were borne out of print publications, have paywalls. You might be able to view a handful of articles, but you have to pay to keep reading. However, some paywalls are stricter than others.

The Financial Times is strict. I was able to read one article, via a Twitter link, and then no more. How does having such a strict paywall affect on-site community building? Community manager and “comments advocate” Lilah Raptopoulos joins the show to talk about it. Plus:

  • What having wealthier commenters does to the comments
  • How the Financial Times identifies the value of on-site community efforts
  • The thing Lilah would like to do next when she secures development resources for the FT comments

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Keeping Open Source Software Developers Connected to Users

You might not realize it, but you use open source software, where the source code has been released with a license enabling it to be freely used, changed and distributed. Even if you know about open source, you may not know any of the people who contributed to that software.

Traditionally, a lot of the development that occurs in open source happens in code repositories and bug trackers, and those are not places that the users of the software tend to hang out. With this separation between developers and users, those contributors may not always get their due.

Alessio Fattorini, community manager for NethServer, an open source Linux server distribution, believes in exposing that development process to the users who, even if they may not understand the nuts and bolts of it, will then be in a better position to see the work that goes into the project, and appreciate the people behind it. We also talk about:

  • The state of community management in Italy
  • Create a welcoming environment in technical communities, and why they pose a unique challenge
  • Why developers can be tempted to keep discussions around open source development private

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National Geographic Turns to Online Community to Find Amazing Photos

4 years ago, National Geographic, the 129 year old publication known for big, bold photography, launched a photo sharing community. Your Shot provided community members with an opportunity to interact with National Geographic photographers and editors, receive feedback on their photos and possibly even have those photos featured by National Geographic online and in print.

Since then, National Geographic’s usage of photos coming from the community has grown, on their website, on social media and in the magazine. Community manager Christina Shorter is our guest on this episode of Community Signal, discussing the management of Your Shot, including:

  • Why they limit community members to 15 photo uploads per week
  • The work done by the two National Geographic photo editor assigned to the community
  • Their efforts to weed out photos that have been excessively manipulated

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