During Lithium's Linc afterparty, attendees began to complain the canopee foods wasn't filling enough.
Katy Keim, Lithium's Chief Marketing Officer, took the stage and made fun of the situation. She noted "no-one had yet died", created the #foodmageddon hashtag, and ordered a stack of pizzas.
Last month, two girls horrifically stabbed a classmate to satisfy a fictional character created by the SomethingAwful forums. SA's editor Zach Parsons published this response urging members to "not try to kill anybody because of a fake, floppy-armed idiot trying to throw notes around the forest."
Recently, one former client's community began questioning if the community manager really existed (or if it was indeed multiple people using a fake alias). The client responded by sarcastically posting pictures of numerous staff wearing a printed version of the community manager's face – and claiming to have been found out.
All three had the beneficial impact of bringing sanity and perspective to the situation. The members behaved better as a result.
Usually community managers/organisations respond by being defensive, trying to cater to any wishes of members. This is a good approach, unless your members have lost sight of perspective.
A little brave sarcasm can help difficult situations.