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How to slowly kill a website you love

Last week on Offbeat Home & Life, we published a sponsored post about gender-neutral baby clothes, angled toward the gifts market. Within a couple hours, several readers commented on Facebook and the post itself that the products featured were out of their budgets — which I totally understand and respect. I'm less understanding toward readers feeling the need to post insulting comments when they can't afford a product.

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Acculturating new readers who find us on Facebook

Offbeat Bride's Facebook page has blasted into the stratosphere this month, with our Like count going from 33k to 43k in the last 30 days. This is basically an average of about 400 new Facebook followers every single day — way above our baseline. Ok, so this is great, right? So many people finding Offbeat Bride and being introduce to the awesomeness, right? So many new readers! So many new eyeballs! Well, yes and no…

37

This week in comments: poly husbands, Facebook ads, dead dogs, and marrying Princess Leia

We actually have two Offbeat Bride comments that I wanted to share this week! First, we ran a post about a polyamorous woman who's planning a wedding with her boyfriend, while being legally married to her husband. I'm always a little surprised to see what posts go over the line of "too offbeat" for some of our readers, and this post definitely did it. There were a LOT of mostly-respectful questions (mostly… we had to do more moderating on that thread than I would have liked), and the most frequent one was a dubious, "Uh, what does your husband think of all this?"

Well, the author's husband, Korwin, decided to put that question to rest with one perfectly worded, good-natured comment…

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Clicks don't lie: people gravitate toward drama (and who am I to deny them?)

I wrote yesterday about the process of realizing that a community management tool I'd established in 2008 for the Offbeat Bride Tribe was no longer relevant to my community's 2012 needs. In a nutshell: my current community doesn't need high-drama posts filtered. But more importantly, they don't WANT them filtered out.

You know why? Because on a certain level, we all gravitate toward difficult emotions. As one Offbeat Bride Tribe member said…

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Changing your tools to meet your online community's needs

If I've learned anything from a decade of online community management, it's that you cannot teach people how to use your community "correctly." Your members will use the tools you make available the ways that suit them, and time spent trying to convince them to use them differently is just a waste of moderator energy. Your tools MUST match the needs of your community — if your members are not using the tools the way you intended, then you need to reassess the tool.

This situation gets even more complex because the needs of a community shift as it matures. A tool that might have been awesome at one era of a community's development might be completely pointless during another era. You can't get attached to your tools, because if your members aren't using them, they're useless.

Ok, ok. Less vague-blogging. Let me give you a very specific recent example from the Offbeat Bride Tribe: the killing of the Primal Scream Therapy section.

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Ignore, delete, try not to engage: one more perspective on dealing with web hate

"There’s this interesting culture of hate on the internet. I don’t know if it’s just that people are angry and feel a relief in releasing their anger online in the form of anonymous online “hate justice” but it’s rough on the receiving end of it. I won’t lie. People seem to think that ugly opinions are the same as constructive criticism and it’s not but there’s no arguing with them about it. They’re not looking for reasons to like you, they’re looking for more reasons to hate you."