Fan Sites and Angry Community Members

David DeWaldCompanies mishandle fan sites all the time. If you are lucky enough to have fans building resources and communities around your products, services or talents, you have something really special on your hands. Don’t ruin it.

David DeWald’s experience in community is diverse. He created a large, successful gaming fan site. Then, he leveraged that success to land a job in the industry, working at Acclaim Games and Bioware. In recent years, he has been building community for B2B companies, and Carbon Black. On this episode, we bridge these worlds, including:

  • The pros and cons of Jive-x (and enterprise software in general)
  • How to win over an angry or even “trollish” community member
  • That time I was threatened with a rapper’s entourage

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Community Professionals Should Own Retention

Evan HamiltonEvan Hamilton believes that community professionals should own retention. I’m a believer. If you read the description of the show in the sidebar, you’ll find this: “Marketing brings new customers. Community helps you keep them.”

This is a great way to communicate the business value of community. Rather than saying it’s about engagement or having a conversation, it’s about keeping our customers and increasing their lifetime value. Plus:

  • How commitment curves help plot a course for user contributions
  • Why free speech can be problematic for online communities
  • The legality of online community volunteers

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Community Signal Will Return Next Week

Unfortunately, the next episode of Community Signal will not be released on February 1, as expected. The show will return on February 8.

An episode was recorded, and while the content was great, the audio quality was not. Rather than push out a grainy episode (that can be re-recorded at a later date), I have decided to simply skip this week and get back on track next week. I apologize for the delay.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Online Community Software Must Improve Upon the Word Censor

Brian PontarelliFiltering technology is essential for large online communities and can be beneficial for communities of all sizes. But I almost never hear community and forum software vendors talk about it. Most communities are simply stuck with a basic word censor. Why?

That’s one of the questions I asked Brian Pontarelli on this episode of Community Signal. He’s the CEO of Inversoft, a leader in filtering tech for online communities. Plus:

  • Filtering systems that involve the user and don’t simply remove their post
  • The benefits of unified user management
  • Why Inversoft caters to smaller online communities

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How Community Management Can Impact All Areas of Management

Venessa PaechThe principles of good community management can benefit more than just professionals in our industry. They can be applied by managers and executives in other disciplines, helping them to be more effective leaders.

Venessa Paech is an example of this. With a strong community background, and time spent building communities for Lonely Planet and REA Group, she recently transitioned to a new role, as the global communications head for Envato. Plus:

  • Why communities need finishing moments
  • Is community management an art – or a science?
  • The online community that connected Venessa with her future husband

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Self-Care for Community Professionals

Sherrie RohdeThere are people who believe that, in order to be a community professional, you must always be connected. Because the internet is always on, so must we be. But if you follow that belief to its logical conclusion, it ends in burnout.

We have to take care of ourselves. That’s a big topic on this episode, with guest Sherrie Rohde, who is the community manager for Magento and co-producer of #CMGRHangout. Plus:

  • Why community management isn’t for “rock stars”
  • The volunteer to community manager career path
  • Why good support forums need members who aren’t experts

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Learning from Theme Park Design

Scott MooreIt’s a new year and, as such, there is no shortage of people making predictions about the future of our industry. Don’t forget: the future isn’t what we predict – it’s what we (you!) do.

Scott Moore is my guest this week. He’s been working in community for more than 20 years, having spent time at Fujitsu, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and We talked about how you can build empathy in your online community, plus:

  • What the early community management conferences were like
  • How you can encourage members who get off to a bad start in your community
  • What community professionals can learn from theme park design

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All the News That’s Fit to Print

Bassey EtimWhile some news organizations have run away from online comments, The New York Times has shined by embracing them and holding commenters to a level of quality that reflects their editorial work.

Bassey Etim is at the center of these efforts. He leads the 14-person Community desk, which focuses on comment moderation, while also helping the Times to unearth and maximize the value of their reader community – and the value they provide to readers.

We talked about how comments have improved the journalism at the Times, plus:

  • How Bassey hopes to build a celebrity class of commenters
  • The ROI of comments for news organizations
  • Why he’s excited for the Times to build community one-on-one with readers

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You Don’t Just Go Global

Rebecca NewtonCommunity management is not new. I know of several professionals who have been in this space for 20 years or more – including today’s guest, Rebecca Newton.

Rebecca has been responsible for community, moderation and safety at some of the largest kid-friendly online communities in the world. At AOL, she managed a volunteer program that numbered 16,000. At Sulake, Rebecca helped expand Habbo into 24 countries. At Mind Candy, she led a community of more than 100 million Moshi Monsters fans.

We talked about her experiences scaling moderation systems and navigating the legal hurdles tied to expanding globally, plus:

  • How the e-mint listserv started
  • The filtering vendors that Rebecca relies on to keep communities safe
  • What brought about the end of the AOL Community Leader program

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The Holy Grail of Community Management

Sarah HawkLaunching a podcast is a lot of fun! I’ve really enjoyed hearing from people who discovered the show following last week’s first episode.

This week, I talk with my friend Sarah Hawk, who I’ve known for many years, even before she joined the community industry and became a respected member of it. She is now the head of community at FeverBee and manages community efforts for UXMastery.

Sarah focuses on building addictive communities through smart software, UX and persuasive design. We touched on those topics, plus:

  • The experience you gain as a volunteer moderator
  • The difference between agency and brand-side community roles
  • What Sarah feels is the holy grail of community management

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