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Delivering Punishments With Empathy

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

How members respond to short-term punishments (posts being removed, suspensions etc…) is a strong indicator of whether they have a long-term future in your community.

As one study notes, members who apologise, are less likely to break the rules again (at least in the short term).

Members who directly question the punishment or complain the punishment is unfair are more likely to cause future problems.

Of course, how you deliver a punishment plays a significant role in whether they’re likely to respond. If you assume bad intent, say they made a mistake, and use formal, direct, language…you’re more likely to get a negative response.

For example, this is a common post used in the Facebook help community.

Can you think of a more antagonistic way to remove someone’s post for an unintentional infraction?

I’d rewrite this to something closer to this:

If you want members to apologise (and reform), you need to deliver punishment with empathy, understanding, and assume good intent.

p.s. Hosting a platform optimization workshop with CMX this week, please join us!

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