Never Put All of Your Eggs in One Community Basket

Can you recall the community-related news and trends of last summer? Let us refresh your memory.

YouTube announced new guidelines for advertisers that inadvertently led to significant changes in revenue for many creators on its platform. Photobucket broke countless images across the web without notice. The city of Charlottesville, Virginia was descended upon by white supremacists during the violent, hateful, and deadly Unite the Right rally, yet Twitter still gave them (and still gives them) a place to convene and organize online.

These topics were covered on Community Signal as they happened and this week’s episode is a gathering of unreleased clips from last summer. These were originally released to our Patreon supporters between July and September of 2017. If you’d like more behind the scenes clips and the chance to contribute potential questions and conversation topics to the show, please consider backing our show on Patreon.

In this compilation, you’ll hear from Jonathan Bailey, Jessamyn West, Christina ShorterAlessio FattoriniLilah Raptopoulos, Josh Millard, and Randy Farmer.

These clips touch on the events mentioned above, the following topics, and more:

  • Having a backup plan when you rely on third-party software
  • Creating a culture of reciprocity in support communities
  • The goldmine waiting for journalists in the comments section

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If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsors: Higher Logic and Structure3C.

Big Quotes

“If you base any significant part of your business or your community on a third-party, you need to have … some means of how to replace them should they shift, should they change, should they pivot or just outright pull the rug out. [You should] be thinking about who you’re working with, who your hosts are, who your advertising partners are [and] then determine, ‘Well, if they go away tomorrow, what do I do? What’s my plan?'” -@plagiarismtoday

“You can’t always rely on the technology but you can often rely on the people.” -@jessamyn

“People are hard. … Code is easier than people, sometimes. It’s harder to deal with people. You have to be personal. You have to be there. Automation can help but it’s not enough. It’s hard to replace a good community manager or a good personal touch.” -@ale_fattorini

“I didn’t really want to just encourage our journalists to jump into the comments just because the audience engagement team says they should just because that’s engagement, and whatever engagement means, you have to do it now. That’s not what our role is and that’s not useful for anyone. If someone told me that, I would think, ‘What’s in it for me? It doesn’t make any sense.’ I have been careful to angle it with what’s in it for them, which is how can it then improve your journalism or add some insights that might be of interest to you. What do your readers want to know? What are your readers not understanding in your stories? That’s all stuff you can get from the comments.” -@lilahrap

“People don’t care about the feelings of white supremacists. … Like when GoFundMe bans them from their platform and they complain on Twitter, GoFundMe doesn’t respond, because why respond? Nobody cares if these people are unhappy. You drive them away to whatever platform that will take them at that time: Reddit, Gab, The Daily Stormer, whoever will take those people, that’s where you push them because they’ll always find each other and will exist but you don’t have to have them on your platform.” -@patrickokeefe

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Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts on this episode that you’d like to share, please leave me a comment, send me an email or a tweet. If you enjoy the show, we would be so grateful if you spread the word and supported Community Signal on Patreon.

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