The truth is, being an "Admin" is pretty much a thankless responsibility. You're a combination of a playground/crossing guard and referee with a required skill in diplomacy. And, for the hours you might put into the task, it's all done out of your love and respect for the topic of the forum; a friend who asked you to help or the pure enjoyment of fulfilling the needs to be a masochist!
If you've never thought about the "staff" who maintain the forums you love to be active in, here are a few of the challenges, based on my experiences with Facebook Wedding Photographers, Advanced Wedding Photographers and GoingPro.
- It starts with helping to write the rules of the forum, which the majority of members don't read, at least not initially.
- Next, comes screening the requests to join. For example, with Facebook Wedding Photographers the challenge is members who are photographers, who we hope are going to participate. This is a forum for photographers, not makeup artists, salon owners, retailers, etc. Plus, it's pretty obvious when we see somebody wanting to join with 1000+ other groups to their credit they have no interest in really participating, but spamming the members with a long list of requests - usually selling something.
- Then there's the biggest challenge - dealing with members whose parents never taught them to play nice. I've quoted my buddy Levi Sim before, "Act like your grandmother's watching you!" Sadly there must be too many people out there whose grandmothers were storm troopers or captains of roller derby teams!
- Almost equal to the challenges of doing your best to monitor the discussions and bench the trolls from the game is dealing with the self-righteous indignation of members who decide a particular topic isn't appropriate. They remind me of the scene in Footloose where the members of the town start burning the books they don't like from the library. I'm not saying they don't have a right to their opinions, just that they don't get to force them on everyone else.
- And last on this short list are those people who honestly think it's their personal forum. Because they joined they can say anything and do anything they want as if protected under some international law. They jump in and out of the forums lighting brush fires while hiding behind the anonymity of the computer screens.
In spite of the challenges and sounding like a real curmudgeon this morning, I love it and so appreciate those friends who share the same passion. Underneath all the frustration, rolling my eyes a half dozen times each day and wishing I had the home addresses of a few trolls - the art of being an administrator is about the passion for the craft. We're Admins because we love the topic and for most forums, hope we can help the members elevate their skill set related to the topic of the forum, or life in general.
So, the bottom line is pretty simple - play nice in those forums you're a part of and go easy on those Admins! They've got the same dreams you do, except they're often working some long hours to help build and maintain a place for you to express yourself.
On that note, make it a terrific Sunday. Spend time with those people special in your life and don't forget those eleven-second therapeutic hugs. And, if you're an Administrator in any forum on Facebook, thank you! Without your support, so many people would be without a place to share their ideas, dreams, and passion for life...food...pets...photography...skydiving...travel...flowers...wildlife...sports...being left-handed...politics...and the list goes on and on.
Happy Sunday everybody!