Angry members make angry posts.
If a member is angry when they visit the community, you can’t stop them from making an angry post. But remember it’s the previous touchpoints (frustration with product, customer support etc…) which made them angry, it’s not the community.
But you can address and resolve their anger.
You can make members feel listened to, understood, and respected. You can give them a sense of influence and control over the outcome. You can make them less angry and less likely to spur on others with negative, snarky, comments.
A few tips here.
1. Respond to each negative post. You can’t always give the answer members want, but you can ensure they know they were listened to and their comments were understood. Be sure to ask for extra clarifying information and questions. Ask members what they would like to see and explain what the options are.
2. Be honest. Don’t announce when the problem will be resolved if you don’t know. Once members mark you as a liar, it’s game over. Avoid the temptation to tell members what they want to hear instead of what’s possible.
3. Pin a topic that’s the source of most negative criticism. It’s better to have a single thread (most members can ignore) pinned to the top than hundreds on the same topic. This ensures minority opinions aren’t treated as majority opinions others will go along with.
4. Have an ‘I have this problem too’ feature on each topic post. If people can register how they feel without having to post, you will get less snarky comments and better quantifiable feedback.
5. Schedule webinars with product engineers/leadership to tackle the biggest frustrations. You might not be able to solve them, but you can show members you’re taking their issues seriously and get recommendations from people with influence.
And follow up on previous discussions to check they were resolved. You can’t stop members from making their first angry post, but you should be able to stop them from making a second angry post.