Ma.gnolia groups are a wonderful thing, whether you are a manager, moderator, active participant or passive subscriber, you can gain a wealth of information, entertainment and/or distraction from the right group, made up of excited contributors. You can also lose time, grow frustrated and and question the value of humanity when the group falls into a state of off-topic, or spam-filled existence. That’s where group managers and moderators come in.
So You Want to Create a Group
Sweet! Setting up a new group in Ma.gnolia is easy and fun. I’ve set up quite a few, several of which lie fallow, waiting for the day that I decide to focus upon them for a bit, or even better, for others to stumble upon the subject and plant a few links they find of value. But a select few have done amazingly well, both in terms of membership and in quality of links. And its a damn good feeling to see those member and bookmark counts climb.
At this point, its likely that you have an idea for a group, but there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before you set it up.
Does a Group on this Subject Already Exist?
If there’s already a group talking about the exact same thing you want to cover, it’s important to ask yourself why you would start a new group. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t (I’ve set up a few redundant groups myself), but if you are, you should be sure that it serves a purpose. Here are some of the reasons I chose to start a new group:
- The old group has fallen into a state of disrepair, where the only activity is link spam
- The existing group is moderated, so I can’t contribute. Please note, you can send a message to the group manager and ask to be a moderator, some folks would really appreciate the extra help.
- I feel that I have a slightly different slant on the subject, and I don’t want to fill the other group with unwanted links
Should My New Group Be Public, Moderated or Private?
There are some important pros and cons for each of these options that you should weigh when setting up your new group:
Setting a group to be Public makes it super simple for people to contribute, and is the fastest way to grow the group, both in terms of links and participants. It also requires some a little bit of time from managers and moderators to keep it on-topic, and spam-free.
By using the Moderated setting, you eliminate the issue of link-spam, but you also significantly reduce the amount of people who can contribute to the growth of the group. If you choose this option, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for other people who join the group and offer to make them moderators so they can contribute. Giving others a vested interest in your group is a great way to expand it intelligently. At worst, if you have problems with someone, you can always remove their moderator abilities.
The Moderated setting is also a great option for setting up a group focused on a very specific topic, oriented around a group of people you know, either via the Net, or meat-space. For example, I set up a group for Refresh Austin, a Web community local to my home town. I’ve set up fellow members as moderators so they can add to the group.
The Private option is one that I haven’t used, though I can see a lot of value in it for spouses, groups of friends or families who want to share with each other, but not the whole world, or an organization that pools a common set of links, but doesn’t want those links to be public as they may provide information to a competing company or group.
But Wait, there’s More!
I hope this has helped you set up your first group, or evaluate the group you have already created. This is the first in a series of articles about Ma.gnolia (Part II), so please check back in the next few days, or subscribe to my feed.