Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a good number of folks asking me why their post or comment disappeared for some reason. There’s a lot of Facebook Groups that cover vast topics about WordPress, Free / Trade / Garage Sale, church, community groups, and a good number of other topics. In some groups I’m an admin, and others I’m just a member. But for some reason, folks seem to ask ….me.
It seems like some of these groups are getting a bit out of control. And, I’d tend to think it’s just me, until I start noticing it happening to other folks, and they start asking me why / what happened. Again, depending on if it’s a Facebook Group I admin, sometimes I can answer them, and sometimes I can’t. Again, that’s not the point. When others start questioning the same behavior, then it’s time to give the question a bit more attention, and see if we can’t find some better solutions.
After a significant amount of conversation, here’s some collective rules for a successful group:
1.Let the group decide what stays and what gets deleted
Your group is either for a few of the admins or it’s for the community. Lemme explain:
If a few admins don’t like the topic of a thread, leave it up and let the community decide. Unwanted posts happen. That’s life. From an admin point of view, you can either look at an unwanted post from an objective point of view, or a subjective point of view. A subjective mindset implies that one (or perhaps a couple of) admin(s) decide to agree that they (themselves) don’t like a post.
In contrast, an objective point of view puts the group first. And, in a Facebook Group, the unfavorable posts drop down the page and usually don’t get seen unless a user scrolls an inordinately long time. And that’s the point of a Facebook Group. The active topics and threads get fed to the top, and the lesser active posts fall towards the bottom. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Either the group is subject(ive) to the Admin’s feelings for the moment, or the group is objective towards …well, the group!
2.If people exercise “keyboard courage” leave it alone.
This scenario has happened to me a few times (meh….. I don’t really care), but then others start noticing it as well when it happens to them. Here’s the typical scenario:
- PersonA has a legitimate question
- People start chiming in
- PersonG decides that they will start invoking keyboard courage (it’s like liquid courage, but with a keyboard). And, if PersonG is a highly favored person (for one reason or another), then their own attitude has painted themselves into a corner.
- Everyone’s seen their rant. A good number of folks have even taken screenshots of the rant, and the person having the keyboard courage obviously won’t retract, apologize, or admit that they’re being inappropriate.
Leave it up! (Why?)
- It’s an example for others to see how to be appropriate
- …and how to not be appropriate!
- If an admin deletes it, it’s an enabling behavior for that person. (Read that last statement again)
- Let’s not forget that in a Facebook group, at any point in time, that person can still delete their own post. Should they decide that their keyboard courage was a bit “over the top” then they’ll delete it themselves. If they leave it up there, delete it, apologize, or get pissed off at others for calling them out on their behavior – the responsibility falls on the individual, not the admin.
- Let’s not forget a billion or so people have probably already taken screenshots of the absurdity
- When you as an admin delete it, it shows the group that your discernment trumps the group’s discernment.
- Which goes back to the point of subjective vs. objective
3. Have Integrity
If you’re an admin, don’t have two standards. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Either a behavior is acceptable, or it’s not acceptable. But have consistent integrity either way.
- XYZ type of post IS appropriate. Then it’s appropriate when you do it and it’s appropriate when someone else does it.
- XYZ type of post IS NOT appropriate. Then it’s not appropriate when you do it and it’s not appropriate when someone else does it.
- XYZ type of comment IS appropriate. Then it’s appropriate when you do it and it’s appropriate when someone else does it.
- XYZ type of comment IS NOT appropriate. Then it’s not appropriate when you do it and it’s not appropriate when someone else does it.
This happens a lot in Garage Sell / Free / community Facebook groups quite often. And a lot of folks have very legitimate concerns when it happens to them. An admin makes a standard (great, rock on!) Then proceeds to blow that standard off when it comes to their own posts or comments.
Always focus on the behavior, not the person. In what the person does, consistent and transparent integrity will either present itself, or it will be absent.
And, I’m sure we’ve all seen a good combination of
Liquid Keyboard Courage, integrity breaches, and opinionated subjective decision making on Facebook. Those are just a few of the finer points of being an Admin to a large Facebook Group. Those aren’t all of them, and the list could be expounded and explained in much more detail.
Be a leader & example to your group’s rules, not an exception.
Remember that the group is a group, not a dictatorship. Let them decide.
Be consistent. Above all else, be consistent. In all three of the above, be consistent! …consistently 🙂