Your Group is Popular, Now What?
Now you ensure that it remains that way. The more popular a group is, the more important it is for the manager and/or moderators to be actively involved in monitoring the group, keeping the links fresh and on-topic, and ruthlessly eliminating spammers. I’ll repeat that last part as it is a very important to me – managers and moderators need to eliminate spammers quickly. In managing the Web Design group, I have spent a fair amount of time deleting off-topic links and banning spammers. I have a lot of patience with people who may not understand where the topic dividing line (or massive gray area in the case of the design group) is, occassionally adding off-topic posts. But when I see a spammer (they tend to be pretty obvious), I ban them instantly. Sadly, a lot of group managers don’t do this, and a lot of great groups are filled with junk, lose their active members, and turn into that empty lot down the street wfull of broken bottles. That pisses me off. I blame the spammers for the most part, but let’s face it, a part of that degradation is the result of lax managers and moderators.
Don’t Be a Lazy Landlord
If you manager or moderate a group, no matter its size or activity, give it some love. It doesn’t take much time to delete spam or off-topic links, and banning a member is easy, though hopefully not something you have to do often. Out of the 2,200 folks subscribed to the Web Design list, I’ve only had to ban 8. After a while, you’ll find that the spammers don’t even bother messing with your group as it isn’t worth the time, and your group members start to participate more, contributing some great, on-topic items. If the spammers keep coming at you, and you find that you just don’t have the time to keep up, send a message to the group and ask for people to help you as moderators. Just make sure that anyone that you set up as a moderator has been an active member of your group, and submitted at least a couple of on-topic links in the past. If you see aperson who is constantly adding spam to your group, or others that you a a member of, its time to call a Gardener.
Tending the Garden
In addition to the natural roles of managers and moderators, there is a small group of users that have been set up as Gardeners by Larry and Todd at Ma.gnolia. Gardeners are a unique role that I haven’t seen in other systems around the Web. We have the tools to remove the benefits that spammers gain by filling Ma.gnolia with junk, but we aren’t site-wide administrators. So, while I, as a Gardener, can mark an account as a spammer, I cannot ban that user from the site, nor can I remove any of their links. That’s a good thing. I may notice someone filling groups with spam, but its not my right to jump into those groups and take over the role of manager. Additionally, that account may be valid, just very focused on a single subject, so I, or another Gardener can go back and undo the “spammer” flag setting. We all make mistakes, and its nice to know that they are easily rectified if a Gardener misjudges someone.
So, if you spot someone that you think is spamming, feel free to send me, or another Gardener a message through Ma.gnolia, so we can look into it.
But Wait, there’s More!
I hope this has shown you how easy it is to maintain your group. This is just one in a series of articles about Ma.gnolia, so please check back in the next few days, or subscribe to my feed.
If you have any questions about managing,or moderating a group, please leave a comment, or start a discussion on one of the Ma.gnolia boards!