Giving ThanksIt’s Thanksgiving1 , the beginning of the holiday period and the last holiday before the year end celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa and Decemberween.

You want to eat turkey or turkey equivalent, hang out with your family, watch bad Thanksgiving specials and prepare combat drills for the Black Friday sales. We’d rather be doing the same, but you know… Canada.  As well as the obvious joy of family and reckless consumption, Thanksgiving is intended as a time to give thanks for things. That’s why they call it that.

Continue reading

How to Handle Harassment Reports in Your Community

How to Handle Harassment ReportsHarassment is one of the biggest issues facing online communities at the moment. From tiny enthusiast communities to social media giants like Twitter, the ugly side of the internet is big news at the moment. For community managers, harassment represents a critical liability. No one wants to be hit with a harassment or bullying scandal. Harassment problems grow exponentially if left unchecked, and sites like Twitter are learning how hard it is to solve when the problem is allowed to advance. No type of community is immune from these problems, I’ve seen bullying take place in communities with subjects ranging from video games to maternity. The human instinct to be awful is part of all kinds of people.

Make no mistake: the hands-off, “free speech” approach espoused by many does not work. It’s a cowardly, tacit endorsement of harassing behaviour. I’ve never seen a community where the approach led to anything but a toxic environment ruled by its worst elements. In an enthusiast community, this leads to an unwelcoming, insular environment that stagnates as it fails to gain new members. They can limp on for years, a shadow of a real community. In a customer community, at best the community dies completely. At worst, it becomes a stain on the brand itself as people start to associate it with the worst excesses of the community.

Continue reading

Why Community is so Important to Fitness Brands


Why Community is so Important to Fitness Communities (1)It’s one of the strange quirks of the internet that fitness and online communities are so closely intertwined. The fitness and supplement industries were some of the first to realize the potential for online customer communities, and sites like T Nation and are in their second decade of life. The huge community at is a large part of the reason why the company sees $400 million+ in annual revenue. Nothing to sniff at, certainly. The industry is, of course, still seeing huge amount of growth. Between wearables (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Pebble etc) large-scale exercise classes (Zumba, Crossfit) and exercise and diet apps (MyFitnessPal, Fitocracy, Nike Run), the market for fitness related products and services shows no sign of stopping.

Continue reading

When Moderators Fumble

When Moderators Fumble (1)
No one is perfect, and your moderators are no exception. At some point, someone is going to do something wrong. This can be disastrous for your community if poorly handled. Moderators have been given direct authority by the community managers to operate in their name. In a very real sense they represent your company in your community. How you handle these situations is going to make a big difference in how your community views you.

Continue reading