Let me start off by saying, “We’ve been friends a very long time and we have spent 1000’s of hours together. We’ve ridden the highways and byways together. We’ve seen changes in behavior and so much more together. We’ve held hands in the effort to bring people together. You’ve ridden in my pocket, traveled the oceans together, shared my most personal moments, allowed me to showcase incredible crocheters… you’ve opened my world in a small community to allow me to have people I can connect wth all over the world. Dare I say it, I may even just love you… but don’t tell Diva Dan.”
My heart is heavy, my shoulders are lightening up… my mental exhaustion will come out from the clouds in a few days. We’ve hit that cross roads together my dear Facebook. It’s nearly ruined my relationships with my team. We have no way to contact you and in the hopes that you are listening… please hear my message below.
My friends at Facebook, our message is simple. We don’t extend blame but we have a list of suggestions for potential revisions to the programming of Facebook Groups. You see, this is our second Crochet Group that we have had to shut down. Reasons very similar.
I will list my points in an organized fashion, so you may print them off, review with smarter people than me and determine if they are worthy of a revision.
Vision for Groups
We think Groups are “The Orange is the New Black”… when they are working well, they are incredible. When they don’t work well, the soap doesn’t come with a rope, if you know what I mean!
Owners and Moderators
At this time, Facebook has enhanced the group for better moderation. However, there is still a way to go. Especially for groups that get large, such at The Crochet Crowd. We are powerless in main stream issues we face. Leading to cyber bullying, attacks, external complaint emails and more. Unlike the Panic Button in Orange in the New Black, we don’t have a ‘Panic Button’ to push for help. We are pinned up against the corner with people jumping all over us for issues that we may or may not even be aware of.
The group has nearly destroyed our leadership team… People who I call my closest friends. People who I am not afraid to share a cry with. People who I share my feelings and without reserve. It’s put us at odds as we are in panic mode, virtually everyday.
I will talk about ‘Panic Buttons’ we need to effectively run a group. Our group, generally a happy bunch of crocheters has turned into being extremely defensive and constantly under unnecessary stress. Making us fearful to visit the group with the amount of reporting and problems that are occurring.
Facebook is A Free Service
There is an expectation when you own a group from the community members that the group is monitored 24/7. It is not uncommon for us to receive several reports over night. By the morning, we can have a string of complaints to work through to solve before we can start our day’s worth of work. On top of that, we also get emails from the same people say at 1 am in the morning complaining. Another one at 3 am complaining we haven’t done anything… Another one at 4 am accusing us of ignoring their concerns… by 6 am – 7 am. The people have gone off the rails, the threats have been spewed and meanwhile, our team has been sleeping the entire time due to our time zone.
While Facebook is a free service, monitoring takes time and people power to do it. To have our company pay staffing to monitor 24/7 is unrealistic nor is something we can afford… but we don’t think it’s necessary if everyone just plays nice in the sandbox. While there have been people who volunteer, the role of monitoring 10’s of thousands of people in a group is a full time job onto itself. If you have seen the instant message and emails we get from people feeling like we have failed them, you should be paid to read those and have to respond accordingly.
There is a sense of entitlement of what people expect without having to pay for it. Things they expect others to fund and hold us accountable when they are let down.
Let’s Enter a Group
Like any reputable group or page on Facebook, we have established guidelines to help us regulate and monitor the page. These are our group’s rules and etiquette. Team decisions we make are based on these guidelines. May we suggest the following:
- Facebook requires us to agree to the Terms of Service when joining.
- Can we have the same courtesy for the group pages. If you agree to join a group, here’s our guidelines. If you don’t agree, then you don’t enter. If you agree, you abide by the policies we have.
We are constantly hit with soliciting content on the group. People see a large number in a group an instantly join in. They immediately start to self promote or advertise once inside. It could be content related or unrelated to our topic. We have a no soliciting policy, so we have to jump on it to protect our community from being a sales pitch. May we suggest the following:
- Can there be a button on the post that flags them for being a soliciting post?
- This would identify that this user is intending on soliciting. Therefore, if they have received this flag, on other groups that are out there, they are known to be soliciting and can flag that person’s post from actually appearing.
- In a way, if we flag someone and they move to another page to do the same behavior, the groups are self protecting themselves and will weed down the soliciting.
We have a policy, based on 1000’s of our hours to monitor and create content for our community about no luring in our communities. It seems hardly unfair for people to join in and say, “Join my page…” “Join my Group”… “Follow me Here”. May we suggest the following:
- Give the group administrators the option to prevent cross links to other Facebook Pages for those who are practicing this form of subscription building.
- Allow us to form a list of approved Facebook Pages / Groups that are allowed to showing up as a link.
- If the posting person is showcasing a link to another page and is not approved on our list. It doesn’t appear in the group.
Bubbling Up of Content
The biggest factor of the group and constant problem we have is the bubbling up of content. So if you post a comment, it bubbles the entire thread back to the top. It’s great when the content is fabulous… but there are things people post that are intentionally negative preaching hate, inappropriate photos and so much more. It causes people to comment and fight. Therefore, it keeps the negative posting at the surface of the page. People who don’t know there’s a problem can see there is one and actively step in to put in their two cents.
There are two problems here:
The person posting is most likely posted it to cause a reaction. So they are having their point of view and is front stage center for the duration until the stage lights are turned out. We have two options.
- Remove the post completely.
- Let it be.
If you remove the post, the person who has caused the problem will most likely repost again, this time claiming they are victims of being silenced through our page. The only way we can deal with it is to remove the person from our group.
No Ability to Hide a Thread
Groups have no ability to hide a thread from the rest of the group. So while someone can go off the rails, you cannot hide it so they believe it is still there. Therefore, the person has gone off the deep end and thinks they are going to cause a lot of trouble, meanwhile, only them or their friends can see it.
May we suggest the two following options:
- Problem posts where there is a problem but not warranted to be deleted, have the option to prevent that thread from bouncing back to the top of the page. Let it sink down into the group thread. People tend not to scroll too far, so getting it out of the main viewing area is key to solving problems.
- Allow us to hide threads, not just the comments inside an existing thread.
Flagged Words – Suggestions
Words are known to be the trigger point for fighting in a group.
- Give us the ability to form a list of words that are not to appear inside a conversation thread. Words that matter for our business. They could include swear words or words that trigger a fight. We find a few people go off topic completely. For example, we don’t discuss politics on the group. So we can flag politicians names to not be allowed in a conversation thread.
- Also, a list of words that must appear inside a thread. Words that matter for our business like Crochet, Yarn, and etc.
Should a person use a word that is our list not to appear, the post isn’t automatically posted. Same with topics that are off limits.
Pre-Approval Moderation Doesn’t Work
Moderating each post defeats the ability to be real-time for our audience. We are global with a significant following around the world. On this particular option that is currently available. People can only post while we are up in the Eastern Time Zone… Therefore, it eliminates excitement and much more from other parts of the world that don’t operate in our time zone.
This particular feature requires the page to be monitored 24/7.
Have the ability to flag individuals that are a known problem in the group. To be monitored more carefully than the rest. For example, you have a person that tends to dish out backhanded compliments. It’s just they way they communicate. However, they are known for causing a disruption on the page. Allowing us to flag someone will allow our team to sync together when having to step in.
The report button is so overused on our group. There are so many reports that are submitted to us that are legit and fine posts. What’s offensive to one person is another person’s witty humour.
If someone is going to hit the report button, make them share why they re hitting it. While Facebook will direct us to the thread, in our case, there could be 100’s of comments and for us to find where the fight is going on is really difficult.
Allowing them to tell us what is wrong and make it mandatory would great help us isolate a problem. If can also determine if the person is being overly sensitive based on personal opinion verses in your face problems that effect the majority of the community.
So that’s where we are my dear Facebook. We need some extra tools to effectively to be together. You have to meet me half way. I love working with you, but you need to step closer to me and considering giving me some tools we so desperately need.