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Anonymous

A community problem

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Hi there, I am a staff on a site that has been open a number of years, we've had ups and downs as most sites do when its been open a long time, but the last six months or so have been incredibly difficult. 

 

We have had a lot of drama, in-fighting and disagreements and it seems to have left a bad taste in people's mouths and there also seems to be bad blood constantly. We as staff have tried to mediate things, and tried to get people to move on but it seems there is nothing else that we can do at this point. But the problem is with all this bad blood, people have stopped posting as much on the site and we are watching as our site's activity is dying. We are in the process of fixing things up on the actual board and then we will be advertising again to try and bring in new members, but it is in the back of our minds that this bad vibe from some of our current members could scare new people off. 

 

Does anyone have any advice for us for how we proceed?

Anonymous poster hash: 448e6...243

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You have my sympathy. I ran a roleplay where my slow activity and complex character sheets became a running joke. It was funny for a while, but then my old players started turning off the new players, and we began losing people. I wish I had had a more mature heart to heart with them, but I ended up snapping at the older players and yelling at them for hurting my feelings and hurting the RP.

 

So, to prevent your board from getting to that same point, I'd suggest a quarantine. A special OOC board that you have to have X number of posts or had an account for X months to join. Make a special user group to go with it. On the outside, it looks like you're rewarding senior players who stick around for the long haul. On the inside, they can bitch and moan all they want and new users won't see it.


Glub glub.

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Posted (edited)

Are all your members participating in this drama or just a few? Is there someone consistently instigating? If you can, speak to those people?

 

If its everyone, you could send out a mass PM. Emphasize how much you appreciate their participation in your game, but that rude behavior towards yourself and/or others will no longer be tolerated as this is a fun times hobby, not an excuse to squabble over fake people and stories. If you want to announce a new warning system this would be the time as well. Make sure to mention how excited your are to journey ahead with them and encourage people to come to you and your staff team if they need anything. Stick to your guns. Even if you like the member instigating is someone you like/a friend.

 

The Sandwhich method where it’s:

 

Good Thing

Hard to Hear Stuff

Good Thing

 

can be very effective.

 

Give them a chance to change their behavior and if someone chooses not to, get rid of them. You don’t need that toxicity in your life and your members don’t either. Keep screenshots or the messages in general in case you need them. If you can cut out the drama llamas it might hurt at first  (especially if they take members with them), but will allow new life and peace to come in. 

Edited by Brie
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I get this. I've been on both sides of this, as both a dissatisfied member, and a staff member watching a site be flooded with dissatisfaction. They both suck a lot.

 

The best thing I can suggest, which picks on some of what Keaton said, is self-reflection. Analyze what elements of people's dissatisfaction might be true and valid... and determine whether that's something you value changing and evolving. If you need to repair, you should repair. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes there are problems that are very valid. Listen to the complaints of outgoing members; especially those who had a lot invested. This was likely a hard choice for them, if they departed, and their opinion probably has some weight.

Then again, sometimes people are being absurd. If that's the case... confront those who are causing unnecessary drama and address these issues. If it involves them departing, then that might be for the best for you.

 

It's a tough call, but I definitely recommend deep introspection before you decide the latter is the case. It's easy to feel unfairly judged, and sometimes hard to honestly self-judge.

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I support a lot of what has been said before. I do agree that isolation of any section of the forum is unlikely to resolve the matter, in fact, it is likely to encourage a degree of validation of the kinds of behaviour that you're looking to avoid in the first place. 

 

While it is important to listen to the people on your site; I suggest one on one with a few, especially the ones who left (if you can) as they will likely have the best means of saying  why they left and that made it impossible for them to think about staying any longer. Also check the quiet people on your site; they are likely loyalists who want to hope that things will improve but cannot invest more time into what could well end up failing. But from my own experience, these quiet ones often have the biggest insights particularly when they have been active beforehand. 

 

Passionate_People_Quote_Creation_Media_B

 

However, this along with checking within your own selves will only go so far as sometimes it can be hard to accept or see the problems - a case of the wood for the trees and all that. 

 

During some quieter periods like this; small OOC events can be a boost. Encourage your members to come in and see about bringing them to the board. Get them focused on character making, plots and above all writing but do it as delicately as possible. Such as making it about threading challenges, like extra rewards for meeting and interacting with new people, this could lean toward referrals. 

 

Ultimately you need look at the whole, step back and just see:

 

What is working?

Where isn't it working?

And why?

 

It is likely you know these answers. Don't be afraid (though you likely will be) and never be ashamed about stepping up and saying, we just need to go back to the drawing board. I've seen site revamps, time jumps and even complete overhauls work successfully and while you may not need to go there. It isn't about being defeated so, much as choosing to recognise that it will involve hard work. 

 

Finally, the toxicity... as others have said. Where is the source? Will doing any of the above mean this changes or would it backfire? Are they the complainers? The ones who always argue over the smallest thing, the ones who need to be the center of attention and become passive aggressive in their manner when denied anything. 

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