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

Our Podcast is Made Possible By…

If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Emoderation.


Big Quotes

“I like to think of startups as little speedboats and Microsoft is a big battle ship, and if you need to make a left turn, it takes a long time to move a big ship left, whereas a speed boat will just turn. With a small one, if you go in and say, ‘I’m having this issue,’ they’re usually back within a couple of days and say, ‘it’s under control, we’ll take care of it.’ Whereas with Jive, they’ll say, ‘oh, this is a known issue. It’ll be in our next update, which is in two months.’ The turnaround is significantly different.” -@historian

“I never like when there seems to be a random cut out of features, just to have pricing levels [for community software]. Charge based on volume. Don’t charge based on my ability to name a moderator.” -@patrickokeefe

“Your biggest detractor is ultimately on your side. They just want things to be better and, if you can find out how to make it better or explain maybe why it can’t necessarily be as good as they’d hoped, then often times, you can defuse a situation. And if it’s done well, they can come around and become that champion.” -@historian

“There are folks who just want to watch the world burn, to borrow a phrase from Batman, and then there are people who are just very angry, or who wanted more and didn’t get it and so they’re disappointed, and they’re taking it out on you. Those are people you can turn around.” -@patrickokeefe

“Do we want it to be possible for a company to come back and say ‘you’re being a little unfair with us based on what we know about you, because you’ve put so much of your personal information online.’ Do we want to make that acceptable? Let’s kill them with kindness if we can. But, do we let that evolve so that it becomes a thing, where a company can say, ‘we appreciate your feedback, but you’re wrong based on the information that you’ve said before?’ It just seems outlandish to me.” -@historian

About David DeWald

With over 16 years of experience working with web-based communities, David DeWald brings his unique knowledge of online and offline social interactions to everything he does. David has spent time at IGN, Acclaim Games, BioWare and Currently, he is a community manager at Carbon Black. His website is

Related Links


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