The dark side of communities

Much has been written about the positive aspect of communities and what they can do to enrich and enliven customer experiences. Jeremiah Owyang has written extensively about the good and the bad in communities. Specifically, using “the bozo feature” in trying to limit bad apples in communities.  Elsewhere,  Jake Mckee blogs about and knows a little about communites and what it takes for them to run smoothly.

But what happens sometimes is that the inmates can run the asylum. I actually read a comment on Jeremiah’s post that said that communities can be self policing. Branded communites or corporate communites CAN NOT police themselves. They have to have moderators and managers. Why you ask? Well let me share with you an open letter I had received a while back from one of my more popular members who I had to ban because of amongst other things, he was scarring people.

To Marc:

I never threatened anyone on the site, I merely told that person that I would hand deliver ALL of their posts to their home!  THIS IS MY PAGE!  You DO NOT come here and malign me… had better wake up and look around.  I am not a person you want to make mad. Maybe your bosses need to see some of the posts you have written to me??? You don’t own this site. We do. I do.

Maybe they need to know just how you ban people from a site for specific reasons, but continue to let two people CONTINUE to break the rules?? Maybe you should look at (Name Withheld) ADVERTISING on the site—clearly against the rules!!  Maybe you should see someone about “PULLING YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!!!!!!!

And for anyone else who reads this, Marc  works for (supplies company name, adrdess, and phone number) They make a good product, they just have lousy employees!!!!!!!

Also, if you would like to contact Marc with suggestions on just HOW to recover his head from his ass, then, by all means, try these…………..(supplies ALL of my contact information, including home address)         

I am sure that he would LOVE to hear from you———ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!  Delete that, Marc and kiss my ass! You don’t want to mess with me. You have been warned.

So this letter, which he posted on his blog and in the forum came after I had essentially told him that he could no longer be a member of the community.  He was able to post under another name and thus everyone would have read this had I allowed for it, or had I not been moderating the site. As it was, it stayed up on his blog for quite awhile.


So what would you have done? Would you have been scarred or felt threatened? The good in communities certainly outweighs the bad, but I feel for all the community managers out there who have to deal with this type of personality a lot more than you might think. People need to understand that  online communities, just like in real life, have good people and bad people. The more that users realize that it’s not the wild wild west in these settings, the better off we will all be.

1 thought on “The dark side of communities

  1. “I never threatened anyone on the site, I merely told that person that I would hand deliver ALL of their posts to their home!”

    Wow and they didn’t think that’s invading offline privacy and hence threatening behaviour?

    “(supplies ALL of my contact information, including home address)”


    Poor you!

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