In the past few months, I have been reading blogs from Ping.sg, and I am also aware of all the fuss that arose from arguments over how shallow a blog post is, or over DK’s outburst, and even recently, Noctourne’s criticisms. There are a few things we can think about from all these outbursts, and they may be lessons, or they may be not.
The first thing that I thought about was “Can we blog personal stuff at our blogs”? I say, sure, we can blog personal stuff on our blogs, and we can even rant and rave and take little heat from our opinions because it’s all in the name of a rant. Why then, do we have a big hoo haa? My opinion is this: Ping.sg is like a collection of blogs. We know each other through our blogs. I know Kris the blogger from his blog, same goes for DK, Paddy, bla bla bla. I do not know them for who they are, but I know them for their blogs. Their blog has become a personal identity.
Hence, the problem begins because we all know Daphne as the community manager for Ping.sg, and when we read her blog, we read Daphne the community manager’s blog, and we don’t feel that it’s Daphne’s personal blog. It’s like the owner and founder of Ping.sg. If Uzyn blogs about Ping.sg on his personal blog, we read his blog as Uzyn the Founder’s blog, not Uzyn the person. Hence, it is very important to note that in this case, the blog becomes the sole identity of the person, and anything written on the blog must be written in due care.
Of course, I can write nonsensical stuff on my blog, since you’re reading Ignorantsoup’s personal blog and not Ignorantsoup the whoever’s blog. That’s the difference, because I don’t hold any special rank in Ping.sg, and hence when people read my blog, they treat it like a normal blog. That is what I think perhaps went wrong in this case. Perhaps when one holds a certain position, one cannot afford to be indulgent in one’s own thinking, and must think for everyone’s sake. This is especially so in managing a community.
The other thing that I have learnt is that we have to be accountable for our actions, especially so in a community, or even more so in a business entity. For example, in the corporate world, it is always good and polite to inform someone why the company is terminating his/her service. Be it reasons like “always late consistently”, or “not productive and keep taking breaks”. In the end, we have to account to everyone and inform the co-workers why so and so will be terminated. Same goes for a community. So when someone is “fired”, we have to do a few things.
Firstly, inform the person why we are taking this action. This can be in the form of a formal letter, or an email.
We also have to inform the rest of the community or company why it has happened.
But the most important thing is, we must have a structured set of rules and regulations, such that when we dismiss any member of the community or company, the people around must be able to accept the reason wholeheartedly. For example, if we seek to ban someone because he has been putting up racist posts and disturbing members, we have a valid reason because we cannot tolerate race and religious flame wars. That is something we can all accept.
I must say, I’m not out to start a flame war or anything, but these is what I feel that we can improve, learn and reflect upon. If we can learn from past lessons and improve, we can become better. I do hope that the community can mature and grow, instead of sliding backwards. The first thing we probably have to decide is, is the community a monarchy or a democracy.