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Firefighting As Your Community Grows

What is Firefighting? There are going to be a lot of fires as the community grows. There are four-year degrees that say they can help you learn how to manage people, but they are still very bad at it. People are the big problem with a lot of people, so that's the main thing. A name for this is "Lindy," and it is built into our brains.

With Discord, it is ran into a lot of these problems, and the same problems kept coming up in communities on Scenes. It comes down to this: All people in a community want three things:

  • Attention
  • Validation
  • A group belong to

Take any of the three away, and there's going to be trouble. If you're selling soap, a bad customer can at the very least leave a bad review on a web page. People who leave bad reviews may not have a big impact on your business unless you have a lot of them. With a community, one bad apple can ruin the whole thing. A broken person will go to great lengths to get 1), 2), or 3).

A moderator may find it easy to kick a noisy person off the stage. You could also find a long essay on your main chat about all the problems in your community if you don't handle it the way you should. They can draw groups of people who haven't gotten any of the above in a while. The problem could get so bad that many innocent people would leave the community because they don't want to be part of it anymore (some will stay to watch the drama, armed with popcorn). The question is about how intolerant you should be of being intolerant.

A Minority Report situation has been set up here, so look at it this way: It's like dealing with a bomb situation, where you can see signs of a bombing long before it happens, because of how members act, like a bomb. When you handle it, you have to be careful, or it will hurt everything else around it. As soon as someone posts something that is bad, you should delete and ban them. There will be a lot of idealists who disagree with this, and they will talk about the value of free speech.

Young community managers believe that people should be able to complain. Even though this is true, it's almost crazy to let someone ruin years of your hard work because they didn't get any attention, validation, or were kicked off a stage because their mic was too noisy. One angry person can quickly bring down a 100,000-man community by starting a chain reaction that makes things worse. If you try to talk to the person while they're angry, it won't work.

In order to explain why you banned someone from the community, you should have a channel or a post where the rules are written down clearly. You can point to it and explain to everyone else why you did this (otherwise the banned individual can become a martyr for the cause).

People in the Parallel Alpha community have used this as an example:

Parallel Discord Rules

  • Have fun and don’t be toxic.
  • If you have a question, please read #deleted-channel first and view our pinned messages.
  • Unsolicited DM’s to other members will result in an immediate and permanent ban.
  • No spamming, text walls, or flooding channels with “copypasta” messages.
  • Don’t @ everyone or @ here unless you have written permission from an admin.
  • Please be mindful of the channel descriptions and post appropriately.
  • Listen to all Mods and follow the general rules and etiquette of a Discord server
  • No lewd, explicit, excessive cursing, or hate messages will be tolerated.
  • No advertising or self-promotion will be accepted without permission first.
  • Bashing, heated arguments, or any form of doxing will NOT be tolerated.

Zero- Tolerance Rules

  • Zero tolerance for racism or racial slurs of any kind.
  • Zero tolerance for posting someone else’s personal information.
  • Zero tolerance for forgery, fake identities, or multiaccounting.
  • Zero tolerance for any type of online bullying or harming of others.**

Conclusion

This means that how does a fire-fighting community become a problem-solving community? It must understand that the self-perpetuating fire-fighting syndrome isn't an irrational response to stressful situations at work. It started with a set of rules and behaviors that seem reasonable, but in the long run, they make people fight fires. An organization must not only stop these logical practices but also start using methods that at first seem irrational. This is what an organization needs to do.

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