Mark O'Sullivan

Recent Posts

Soft Techniques in Community Moderation

Posted by Mark O'Sullivan on Jul 31, 2012 11:33:15 AM

3 minute read

Community managers have 2 goals: to maintain peace, and to make the community grow. At Vanilla, our entire roadmap is geared towards driving community growth, and maintaining peace is a big part of what helps a community to grow. So, our roadmap is filled with everything from tools that help identify potentially viral content and expose it to the world, to the policing of the generation of that content and those that create it. We are always trying to make the community manager’s job easier in everything we do, but at some point we always reach a line after which it is simply a human job to manage a community and ensure that it grows.

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Topics: Community

Increasing Forum Traffic with Vanilla Comments

Posted by Mark O'Sullivan on Apr 24, 2012 10:35:11 AM

2 minute read

We've been getting a lot of very positive feedback about the recent release of our Vanilla Comments feature. So far, the thing that people find most exciting about it is how it leverages all of the expense (time and money) already invested in gaining traction on their blog.

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Topics: Product

Why Vanilla?

Posted by Mark O'Sullivan on Apr 10, 2012 10:15:20 AM

2 minute read

I often get so buried in what I'm doing that I forget how important it is to explain why I'm doing it. Vanilla is a remarkable product that can do amazing things, and I could spend weeks upon weeks explaining all of the bells and whistles in detail, but it probably wouldn't convince you that Vanilla is the product for you. Vanilla doesn't exist because other forum platforms are bloated pieces of junk that are difficult to use and impossible to administer, it doesn't exist because we believe in open source, it doesn't exist because we love programming, and it doesn't exist because we love intuitive and beautiful design. All of those things are true, but Vanilla exists for a different reason entirely.

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Topics: Product

Diffuse Community Uproar With Discussion Sinking

Posted by Mark O'Sullivan on Mar 26, 2012 11:40:41 AM

3 minute read

Community management & moderation is a complex and nebulous subject with very few rock-solid principles to match the shape and size of every community. The constant battle that many community software developers face (and lose) is where to draw the line on feature development for community moderation & administration. I believe that many of the features that exist in most popular community software packages are actually detrimental to the health of a community, and can cause community uproar as data that has emotional attachments within the community is altered or removed.

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Topics: Product

Migration or Extinction?

Posted by Mark O'Sullivan on Mar 12, 2012 12:06:48 PM

2 minute read

In December of 2010 I gave a presentation at the Canadian Innovation Exchange, where Vanilla had been nominated as one of the most innovative tech companies in Canada. Afterwards, I had a number of people approach me to ask about a slide from my presentation that showed the number of posts on discussion forums vs the number of status updates on Facebook. Everyone wanted to know where I got my data.

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Topics: Product

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