Managing Online Forums, a manual for the community admin

Look Past Money, Use Common Sense

May 22, 2004


There are a lot of ways that that phrase can be applied, but let’s hit on an example I (and a very anonymous – ;) – good friend) just ran across. I had already noticed it, but him bringing it up in the context of “this is what makes you different” brought it up to me a bit more and I wanted to blog about it.

This is the same issue brought up to two different administrators of two different communities. One of them being me.

On both sites, you have a banner that, all of a sudden, starts talking to you. This is annoying to some, so my/his users started threads at the respective sites bringing up the banner and voicing displeasure.

How the other guy handled it:

Basically, he defended it and said it didn’t bug him and that it isn’t as annoying as this or that or this and how other people he knows like it and so on.

What is being missed here is that none of that really matters. Comments like that only increase the users annoyance level. If you are going to keep the banner ad, fine, say so. Don’t say things that are just going to add even more frustration onto the fact.

How I handled it:

Here’s the thread.

After only 2 people had voiced their displeasure, I responded saying I would remove it. I would have done it after 1, but I didn’t view the thread before then. After I read their posts, I considered to myself, just how annoying is this? Do I want to hear sound come out of nowhere on a page, unexpected? I mean, I can live with it. But, why should I have to? If I take the banner off, will I go broke? No, no and no.

Even if I liked it, it is still obtrusive. So, I decided, we don’t need that banner.

It took me a while to get it taken care of, but eventually we figured out what banner it was and where it was and I took care of it.

I’m not saying that you should do whatever your users say, but I am saying that you need to definitely consider the facts of the matter. And, after all that, if you still wish to go the other way, don’t say things that add to the displeasure of the users who don’t feel the same way.

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