Live from a Community Manager’s Inbox

I am always happy to discuss the difficulty of managing an online community. I’ve written about the misconceptions, provided tips on what it takes to find success, and explained the differences between a community manager and a social media manager.

Because I don’t actively manage an online community any more, I don’t share as many examples of what it’s like to be in the trenches. So when I came across this blog I posted back in 2008, when I was DEEP in the trenches, I thought it would be appropriate to share, for those of you who did not read my blog back then. What follows are actual messages that I received from members, and comments like these were very common.

Here’s the post from October 2008:

In an effort to illustrate just how daunting the job of an online community manager can be, I’ve started sharing selected snippets of some of the e-mails I receive from members, with the members who send them via my editor’s blog.

There seems to be a real interest and it shows the community just how petty some of their peers can be. Many openly express in the comments areas of my posts that they would never want to do my job. Others have indicated that they would “pray for me and my inbox.”

If you’re up for a good laugh, or cry…read through some of these. Have a bottle of aspirin nearby.

  1. “Please tell me why when I made a decent comment concerning a very real thing …about putting a hex on something that it gets deleted? I see that this person I referanced this to also had his comment deleted? I did not call names, was not rude.”
  2. You accept constant trash, and *I* get a nasty gram. Please……..
  3. Angela – we need the ability to block people off group blogs.
  4. “The sports section is overrun by crazy people and everytime UNC is mentioned all the fools come out and no one can talk about nothing!!”
  5. Dang it Angela….. are you gonna get rid of this jerk or not??????
  6. Ok, Angela here we go again please remove the current cowboy blog this a violation.
  7. Their are currently 2 blogs with half naked men and lewd suggestive comments being made if there is truly NOT a double standard at ____ these must be flagged NOW and warnings issued. Please follow terms and conditions as set out by ____ or not at all. Allow all viewing of the human body or none at all, both genders.
  8. I put a comment on the story about the son killing the father in Lee County- there has been some more about this story in the Sanford Herald and the son is being futher investiaged by Sanford Police about another killing that took place a couple of years ago. Please take my comment off.
  9. I havent disobeyed ANY of the rules so why cant I post anymore?
  10. I live in Florida and come to the ____ website every day because I am from NC and have family–children, mother, etc. in NC. I used to post comments quite frequently. Since you changed to this ____ nightmare it is so cumbersome it is a huge waste of my time. I can’t figure out how to just plain leave a comment on a story. Please, not all of us want to BLOG or whatever. It is not our life work. Sometimes we just want to make a simple comment.
  11. “I think your word filter really sucks. I was trying to post a response to the story of the Eagle and I have a pet bird. She is a Cockatiel and as since I used that word twice, the filter would not let the post go through.
    Now please tell me what is so offensive about the word “Cockatiel” when it is describing a small Parrot from Australia. I ran a dictionary check on the word “cock” and it was listed 10 times and neither definition was in the least bit offensive.
    But I suppose I’ll just get the regular computer response back.”
  12. This morning I was trying to use the word cracker as in I ate crackers this morning and it was blocked. Why? Trying to block this for racial reason???
  13. I frequently go to your sites and look at feed back ref to your news stories. I am sick of this lady. Her abuse of language, non factual statements are discusting. Please take her completely down. I know that you have fixed it where she can’t do it from the story site but she is still on your link. Here is her link.I feel sorry for both familes and I feel that her ranting and raving is not helping the healing of the familes and the communities.
  14. I guess I will have to contact ABC 11 and ask them if they would like to investigate the discrimination of the ____ team in regards to allowing negative comments about gay people but not african american people.
  15. “I didnt realize my actual name was going to show up on a post I had made, it was certainly not a bad post but I’d rather not have my name shown up. I changed my screename however someone responded with my realhame and I was just wondering if you could please edit the thread and remove my full name. Really appreciated it.”

Looking back on these, it makes me laugh a bit. But it was not funny at the time. This was a typical day, depending on what was going on. And this is the work people call easy? Give me a break.

If you have any similar stories, feel free to share.

[Cross-posted at Online Community Strategist]

About Angela Connor

After three years as Managing Editor of User-Generated Content at WRAL.com where Angela aunched the first online community, and grew it to more than 15,000 members, she moved on to a bigger, more challenging opportunity. Today, she is the Vice President, Director of Social Media at Capstrat, identifying opportunities and developing strategies for top-notch clients. Angela is also author of the book “18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online.”