Closing Your Community Right

Jessamyn West is a member of mlkshk, an online community that’s closing. She’s part of a community-led effort to build the next place where this group of people will get together.

Best known for her work in the library space, she’s also an experienced online community practitioner, having spent 10 years on staff at MetaFilter, leaving as director of operations. Building on our recent discussions about the thoughtful way to close a community, we look at mlkshk as an example of a group that has done it right. Plus:

  • The differences and similarities between dying and being banned from an online community
  • Why it’s easy for community members to love new ideas, but hard to get them to commit to helping make them real
  • The disconnect between wanting to be a moderator and actually being good at it

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Managing a Cancer Community

The reason that people come to your community impacts how you manage that community. It is one of the factors that guides the choices you make and the strategies and processes that you deploy.

If people come to your community because they have cancer, your approach is going to be different than if they were coming because a product broke or because they enjoy a particular hobby. That’s exactly the type of community that Cosette Paneque of Breast Cancer Network Australia is responsible for. On this episode, we discuss the unique circumstances around managing a community that connects around breast cancer, including:

  • The first thing Cosette wants new members, who may have just received the worst news of their life, to see
  • Creating processes around death in our communities
  • How cancer survivors continue to contribute to the community

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Lessons From The WELL + Making a World Where the Sun Rises the Next Morning

With a career in online community spanning more than 25 years, including 20+ leading influential online community The WELL and 13 as director of communities for Salon, Gail Ann Williams is a pioneer of our industry.

On this episode, the inside stories and lessons that Gail shares, from The WELL, weave together to create an overall theme of how to protect, respect and inform the communities that we serve. Including:

  • The right and wrong ways to close a community
  • Understanding privacy and confidentiality in community spaces
  • What happens when your community software reaches “religious significance”

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Inspiring Awe in Your Community

Online communities have the potential to create amazing, awe-inspiring moments. But they can sometimes get lost in a sea of cynicism and the day-to-day work of community management.

After 10 years in community, with stints at Cisco and Intuit, Rachel Medanic is “passionate about awe.” What does that mean? And how do you encourage awe in your community? Plus:

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IMDb’s Message Boards and Why Trolls Don’t Force Communities to Close

IMDb will soon close and erase their 18 year old message boards. Media coverage of this announcement has generally followed a similar theme: Trolls forced them to close. Blame the trolls. They were unstoppable.

But that perspective is completely dismissive of the community profession, and the tools and strategies we have at our disposal. Trolls don’t force us to close communities. But apathy definitely does. Timo Tolonen, head of community at giffgaff, a community-first mobile phone service provider, joins the show for an in-depth discussion on the announcement and resulting impact. Plus:

  • The value that exists within the IMDb message board archives
  • Why quick community closures harm your most loyal members
  • How giffgaff restructured its community team to focus on specialization

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Unfortunately, we will be taking this week off on Community Signal, due to a mix of things, including a sudden illness that I picked up. Thank you for your patience. We’ll be back next week!

Bringing Community to the Executive Meetings

As employee #9 at Kickstarter, Cindy Au was the company’s second community hire. She rose to lead a team of 30, bringing community all the way to the executive meetings as Kickstarter’s VP of community.

Cindy tells the story of how she built that team, and what led Kickstarter to add community at the executive level, on this episode. Now, more than 2 years out of that job, she also talks about her efforts to find a new, challenging role that moves her career forward. Plus:

  • The “a-ha” moment that happened that Cindy started participating in the executive meetings
  • Why community success metrics were important to Kickstarter
  • How she created a verticalized team structure based around the platform’s strongest categories

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How Engagement Editors Can Restore Trust in the Media

Only 32% of American adults have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media, according to a Gallup poll released in September. Gallup has been asking this question since 1972, and this was the lowest figure they have recorded.

What can be done, on the media side, to address this growing and historically high level of distrust? One answer: Invest in community and engagement editors. Mick Côté makes the case on this episode. He’s the engagement editor at the Montreal Gazette, Canada’s longest running daily newspaper, founded in 1778. Plus:

  • How reading the comments makes better editors
  • Why community can be a competitive advantage in an increasingly packed media landscape
  • Bringing urgency to community management

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The Creator of Community Manager Appreciation Day

This episode is being released on Community Manager Appreciation Day 2017. We’re talking about the past, present and future of CMAD, with its creator, digital veteran Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies.

Now in its eighth year, CMAD recognizes the “pretty damn tough job,” in Jeremiah’s words, that community managers (and professionals) have, which can be thankless and misunderstood. We also talk about:

  • How to be successful with the council/association model
  • The career opportunity for community professionals in the shared and collaborative economies
  • Will there be a 30th CMAD?

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The (Experienced) Community Manager Job Hunt

Recently, we discussed the career ceiling in community management. We’re extending that conversation on this episode, talking about the community manager job hunt with an experienced professional looking for work.

Trella Rath has spent time at Fandom (formerly Wikia), Wargaming America, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Mekanism, where she was laid off right before Christmas. Since then, she’s been searching, applying and interviewing for a new job. We discuss the challenges and surprises of looking for a community role in 2017. Including:

  • Why some companies lowball community pros on salary
  • Recommended sources of community management jobs
  • The politics and drama of wiki editing

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