Lessons we can think about from Ping.sg sagas

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.

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21 thoughts on “Lessons we can think about from Ping.sg sagas

  1. What people have failed to realise is the outburst by DK was indeed something very serious. Imagine this, out of a sudden, you go and criticise your boss on your blog which is read by everyone in the company. What kind of reply would you be expecting from your boss? Well done mate? You got a point mate? I apologise to you mate? I’m sorry mate?

    Lets use another scenario. Say you criticise your father in your blog which is read by all of your family and relatives and friends. How do you expect your father to feel?

    What DK did was infact something quite serious. First he should not have attempt to use his blog to raise it as an issue unless his intention was to incur the wrath of the people involved and especially those that supported that person. Now his action is the equivalent of challenging something being done to him. That was his last penny – he was giving it all, the way people are gonna read it. Even if his intention is not. He had practically managed that issue wrongly and incorrectly. What he should had done was to speak privately to those people involved about the whatever issue. If it cannot be resolved and yet he felt being bullied or treated unfairly in one way or another, then he can go to his blog and use it to tell the world. It should be the last thing to do yet it’s the first thing he did. He jumped so many steps and i’m actually quite surprised he didn’t see the it coming. It is coming. He offended people. He simply rubbed people the wrong way and people are going to get pissed.

    As for the ban, I should say it is perhaps a decision taken too quick. If I were uzyn, I would request to see DK in private and to resolve the issue amicably. It’s part of managing people. Managing people or managing community is not like having a gun and start shooting when you don’t like that person. It leaves bad stain on your reputation if you do. DK should not had jumped steps, Uzyn should not shot him. Both have done wrong.

    I agree with you this is a lesson for the ping.sg. Perhaps now they should reflect on where it has gone wrong and how it can be done better the next time round. When there are issues, always try to solve it amicably. It if can be done, it will be good for both parties. If it can’t be done, go to your blogs and shoot each other, it is still not too late, at least you’ve tried.

  2. A community manager who takes criticisms (or some would call feedback) negatively and personally, who would then resort to a George W. Bush style in handling it, is unfit to be one.

    In response to criticism, a community manager says something like this:

    People who threaten to leave will never do so, just like how people say “I’m going to kill myself now!” never do. NOISE. I hate noise.

    Community Manager? Or Community Mangler? More like that later.

    Also, yet another joins the ‘Ban of Brothers’. Endoh has just been banned for writing his views about ping.sg. Does Ping ever learn? All Endoh got was a comment on his blog post. You can just scroll down and read uzyn’s comment here and it is a clear sign of ping’s haughtiness and general attitude towards criticism.

  3. Talking about personal blog, I’m still using it and unfortunately I can’t put it as private blog because some of my friends wanted to read it and it’s quite troublesome for them to login it before reading it. So my personal blog is away from these “blog portal” website.

    hyperXs last blog post..Free and cheap commercial software

  4. Your Boss is not the community, and your father is not the community.

    So what Binary is saying is that Ping.sg is not a community.

    So why the hypocrisy of saying and announcing it is done it is for the community.

    Uzyn aleady said he is the sole owner, when he sell ping.sg, why must other think that they are in for a share. So what is the community!!!

  5. Uzyn comment on comm-unplugged:

    “The banning wasn’t directed towards critics. There is nothing to be sorry about. (I am the Boss, I am the father)

    Don’t get too full of yourself. (Dont be a fool, I meant)

    Using Ping.sg’s services is a privilege, not a right. Enjoy your privilege.” (But I am no longer giving you your privilege)

    “SHUT UP!!!!”

    http://www.communplug.com/blogging/comm-unplugged-is-officially-banned-from-pingsg

  6. Thanks everyone for their reply! I will now address everyone’s reply:

    @Binary: Hmm I think the father analogy is wrong. We are supposed to be filial to our fathers, but we do not have such loyalty towards our bosses. In the first place Ping.sg is not our boss, they don’t pay us. Even if it’s a boss, I expect that we can criticize reasonably. DK has posts that sound unreasonable, but he has those that are very reasonable too. And yes, if I have a point I expect my boss to say “you’ve got a point, thank you and let us work together to solve this problem”.

    In my opinion, raising issues on blog is perfectly fine. Ping.sg is a blogging arena, and it is the best way to raise issues. Perhaps he shouldn’t have done it first, but as far as I am concerned I believe he would have ended up blogging about it anyway. If Ping does not listen to blogs, will it listen to private emails? I think not.

    I agree with your views on the ban. 🙂

    @sylv: Actually its damage done, lesson found, but lesson still hanging in the air. I’m wondering what is happening actually. What will happen in the future?

    @xizor2000: I think that twitter was uncalled for. The problem is we are reading the community manager’s twitter and it comes with responsibility. I have read the comment at Endoh’s blog and I think that is uncalled for. I wonder if I would get banned soon. 😛

    @hyperX: Yes that should be the way. Either that or we lock our posts up. WordPress offers that function. But generally for us plebians with no affiliation to any company, we should be able to write without fear.

    @oOFooi: Well that’s up to you, but no harm putting it on blog portal because we won’t know who you are and most of us probably don’t care. We care about what you write only. 🙂

    @tanyeo: Please tell me where I am wrong. I accept criticisms and different ideas, but I cannot accept that you tell me I am wrong but not telling me where. Do enlighten me and let me know what went wrong in my post. Thank you in advance.

    @Christina: Well Uzyn is indeed the sole owner, and if he does sell it he deserves everything because he is the sole programmer. Just that he is not only the owner but the central person in the community. Hence he has a responsibility of making correct and acceptable decisions, something which he failed. Although he is the sole owner, Ping.sg should be a controlled democracy. Not a monarchy. It’s current monarchistic lifestyle is ruining itself. Members are leaving.

    But I wonder, if the banning is not directed towards critics, then why ban Endoh? Haha.

    And why say “don’t get too full of yourself”? Sounds like a haughty person saying this.

    And I can’t believe he actually said using ping.sg’s services is a privilege, not a right. That totally stinks. Everyone’s contributes to Ping.sg. Without blogs, Ping.sg is nothing. Shall we wait till one day a competitor succesfully deals Ping a death blow?

    I find it cruelly ironic that the community manager’s blog is personal blog where she can say anything, but other people’s blogs are not. They cannot say anything.

    Two legs good, four legs bad?

  7. Ignorantsoup : No no you are wrong. If you want to use filial as the reason, then i will use respect for mine. Even for friends, even for strangers and people you don’t know, you dont go to your blog and start criticising them without incuring their wrath if they read it. There is a smooth and rough method to handle issues. DK’s method is wrong. Your arguement is he can criticise reasonably but what is reasonable? I don’t think you can even criticise your boss to his face or to the public or on any media and let the whole world knows even if it is damn reasonable without incuring his wrath and facing personal challenges.

    I’m sorry but you need to learn how to handle people. Your views are all wrong.

  8. xizor2000 : It doesn’t matter whether your boss or your father is part of any community of any environment. That is beside the point. This is not about the environment but people handling. Forget about the community, the community doesn’t give you the license to do anything you want on your blog. Surely even if your mother is a prostitute and i say so on my blog which is read by the community, do you think it is OK?

  9. XIZOR : I am sure it is OK for you since it is the truth. Your mother needs to learn how to take the truth in this case and accept the criticism that it is a lousy job.

  10. @Binary: Please refrain from indulging in name calling on my blog. It doesn’t show how right you are.

    I iterate again, perhaps he should have done the rest of the steps first, but I sincerely doubt that it would have stopped there successfully. If he has exhausted his means, would you then agree that it is ok to write it in his blog? In this Ping.sg case, Dk can only be likened to criticize his friend in a social gathering. Not boss, not media or public. But no matter what, why are we arguing over Dk? I am sure that it was not the main point of my post.

    Furthermore, I take offence to your sentence “I’m sorry but you need to learn how to handle people. Your views are all wrong.” But let me tell you this, you need to learn how to handle people too, because you have now made me offended, when I try my best not to. When I disagree with you, I say “I disagree”, or “I think this point is wrong”. I don’t go around saying “Your points are all wrong”. With all due respect, Dk is not the main point of my post, which part of my post is wrong? All? Or are you just blinded or biased? Whilst I myself have agreed that Dk could have handled the situation better, have you ever thought about the other side?

    Continuing on handling people better, your actions in trying to handle Xizor by implying that his mother is a prostitute and that it is the truth is simply tasteless and childish. I respected you when I read your first comment, but now you’ve lost all that respect.

  11. By the way, I am of the stand that Dk’s criticism is not that harsh. Will it incur wrath? I don’t know. When I read that, I recognize what he is trying to say because I have had myself in a similar situation some time back. Passionate about something and want change for the better. But my boss didn’t want to listen. I was aggressive sure, but it was due to passion. I’m sure I felt Dk’s point wholly when I read his posts. In fact, he did dish out plenty of dirt, and they are true, so is it wrong?

    I think it’s time to throw away the traditional notion that the boss or the government cannot be criticized. Responsible criticisms can indeed help improve things, but the management must be humble enough to accept criticisms. Of course, there has to be a limit and a traditional sense of respect for the boss. But if the boss does things that throws away all of our respect, need we respect him anymore?

  12. Ahhh Binary, thank you for your consent to write about your mother. I am sure my mother takes the fact of your mother’s trade very well even though she can’t understand how yours can sink to that level. You need to understand the the significance of periods. 🙂

  13. Ignorantsoup, criticism is fine and continuous attacks are not. Even the person is bad, you don’t go to his house to scold him continuously for days or for weeks; you could have expected being thrown out from the house by the owner if you do so.

    DK claimed that he has been supportive to the community. But if he really cares for community he should have done it privately by emailing the founder or whatever. And not continuously posting criticism to bring down the community.

    Dragging other parties into the picture like Endoh has done is bad. http://www.communplug.com/blogging/clean-up-your-act-before-you-even-think-about-sales Why is Yebber in the picture? Is Endoh really helping and hoping Ping.sg to improve with his posts?

    So many people published their post about the incidents at Ping but only 2 users were banned. Why only 2 but not all?

    Just my two cents.

  14. Can we stop the name calling? I’ve just deleted a comment which is totally unconstructive. Those who subscribed to the comments would have seen it. I have deleted it and if anyone thinks I am wrong to delete it, you may comment.

    @starlight: Thanks for your comment. I agree that continuous attacks are not good. Of course, Dk has his faults, and that is a lesson learnt by him. He has also apologised anyway. But I don’t think the analogy is good about going to his house to scold him. Since when is our blog Ping.sg’s property? If I remember correctly, it lasted about 2-3days, not weeks. But in a wider context, if we criticize goverment policies, should we be expelled from Singapore?

    I do not know if Yebber should be pulled into the picture, but when I read the linked post (thanks for the link), I feel that there is not much damage to Yebber. But I must say I enjoyed Endoh’s post very well. My opinion of him has always been good and he writes wonderful articles. His article did point out the flaws of the system, and I can say he is really helping Ping.sg to improve.

    If anyone noticed, there are many people who have left. Should we be bothered? I think so. It’s a pity when regulars decide to leave isn’t it?

  15. Please dont use father as the analogy here, unless Uzyn is your father!

    When you quarrel & criticized your sister in front of your relatives. And even if you are disrespectful to him.

    What will you get? You won’t be chased out of the house or get disowned, right.

    Please dont be blinded.

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