Getting your Hands Dirty: Community Administration from the Trenches

Posted on 30 July 2010

As a community manager for Tabblo I’ve got daily maintenance tasks to complete. Among these tasks is dealing with spammers and I think we’ve done a pretty decent job of it so far.

In fact, Ned and I have devised a screening process to weed out the most obvious.  Certain actions get flagged and an email is generated with the account information for me to review.  I absolutely LOVE seeing account usernames like”Health Supplements,” or “South Florida Airport Transportation,” because those are easy to identify.  It’s the not so obvious ones that cause me problems because then I’ve got to delve a little deeper.

Good administration tools are paramount.  As a CM I’ve got to be able to respond quickly to issues on the site, regardless of the time of day, or day of the week.  Web based administration is probably the easiest during this silver age of the smartphone as it can be done remotely and in real time.  When I see something that’s inappropriate, or spam I need to be able to click to remove it.

Being warned real-time is also key which is why I’m emailed if certain events happen such as  a complaint is registered, a technical issue arises, or someone invites a massive amount of people to view a Tabblo.  My smartphone is INVALUABLE to me on weekends and provides a great secondary platform for managing the community.

The amazing thing is that the majority of the community has no idea that this stuff is going on, which is precisely what we want.

I’m currently trying to polish up the administrative tool we’re using for the ePrintCenter and it’s coming along nicely.  It’s real-time and I’m working on the warning filters that determines what is emailed to me.  It takes time to fine tune all this stuff because I actually need people to use the site to know what I’ll need to keep the closest eye on.

Unfortunately there isn’t really any boxed software solution that can be plugged into an existing code set.  The tools I use were customized by Ned and Dave from the existing Django database admin tool set.  HP is GREAT at supporting products but not much in place for supporting communities, which is why a common admin tool set would be awesome.

So that means that community managers will still have to work in the trenches and clean the junk out by hand, but then what is community management without actually getting your hands dirty with a community?

Oh yeah, Marketing.

Maybe I should start my own company, hire a few engineers, and produce common admin modules that can be used across many different platforms.  What do YOU use?

-Eric


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