Emotional Labor and Diversity in Community Management

Really excellent piece on community management.

Interesting strategy to redirect the most controversial (read: dumb to the point of causing a riot) opinions to private feedback.

Some TL;DRs that I found worthwhile:

Second, provide guidelines that eliminate the worst of the tone problems (the “don’t be an asshole” rule works great until you encounter someone who doesn’t know how to pull that off.)

  • Lists of problem or flat-out forbidden words: this goes beyond slurs to things like “always” or “never”, your local equivalent of “noob” or other disparagement, the category-classes the Problem Child likes to lump people into. The ones we see a lot at Metafilter aren’t gaming related, they’re things like “hipster”, “SJW”, “men’s rights activist,” all of which make people feel dismissed or mischaracterized, two debuffs that tend to prevent people from responding civilly.

  • Another thing I’ve had good luck with are “I statements”: This sounds hippy-dippy, but “I want this change” is a much less arguable statement than “The game needs this change”.


One more thing that works well: If you have two people who reinforce each other’s bad behavior, forbid them to interact. You have to enforce it on both sides, or you end up with ten times the tantrums you started with, but it’s a simple way to solve a recurring problem.

Good food for thought here. The high cost of “just ignore that post” is extreme measured in the number of people (thousands!) who have to do the right thing, every time, when they see that post.


I just wanted to add that I think banning “SJW” as a phrase is a good idea, since it’s 99.9% pejorative. Plus, labels are dumb.


Or we could just turn it around every time; ‘Oh, so I look like a social justice warrior to you? Awesome, thanks!’

I’d much rather claim a term like that, which has no literal diss in it, than see it banned. Besides, it’s kinda galling, particularly when the ban doesn’t apply to BB contributors (I’ve seen Xeni say ‘fucktard’ after I’ve had it modded out of a post, where I wasn’t pointing it at anyone in particular).


What a great article!

Especially appreciated this TL;DR useful insight and vocabulary:

First we’ll reframe the problem: the real issue is not Problem Child’s opinions — he can have whatever opinions he wants. The issue is that he’s doing zero emotional labor — he’s not thinking about his audience or his effect on people at all.

Caveat: One person’s “problem child” is someone else’s prodigy. Community matters.

And Social Justice Warrior is an insult?

@Mindysan33, how could you!? :wink:


A mixed bag of an article, but there are absolutely some good insights in there. Notably:

This quote touches on something I’ve been seeing all across the internet. Ways of saying things that inherently assert their conclusions merely by stating them (kind of a sneaky linguistic form of begging the question).

One notable phrase that’s an offender in this way is “problematic”. When you break it down, all it is is saying “I have a problem with this”, turning a personal opinion into a boldly asserted universal truth with no supporting evidence whatsoever. If we took it away and replaced it with “I, personally have a problem with this” (or, what it often turns out to be- “I think a hypothetical person might have a problem with this”) then we’d actually end up with more Discourse and less arguments.


Yeah that’s super annoying as well. Abstract complaints are the worst. Who knows what hypothetical person might do, feel, or want.


This is too true. I’ve found I’m increasingly avoiding use of that word in my personal life because it’s a lazy out and a mental stop. Forget about social justice issues for one second, I found myself saying it in the context of chemistry a while back and realized that I identified a problem, but didn’t think through why it was a problem. It was relying on instinct rather than a rational basis. If there is in fact a problem, I see no problem in elucidating it. In fact, that’s how you turn a shouting match into a discussion.


That’s just what they want you to think.


The “I statements” thing is very useful but the labels bit not always. Sometimes labels are relevant to discussion


This topic was automatically closed after 312 days. New replies are no longer allowed.