Removing Members Is Rarely Catastrophic

August 20, 2013Comments Off on Removing Members Is Rarely Catastrophic

Removing one of the most active
community members can be scary.

What happens if activity
plummets?

In truth, that’s almost certainly not going to happen. You
can probably remove your 10 most active members tomorrow and not suffer
anything more than a momentary dip.

Group dynamic theory would postulate that when a highly
active group member is removed, another moves in to fulfill his/her place. They
begin receiving increasing levels of attention for their contributions (which
otherwise would be crowded out) and thus participate more.

In essence, removing a highly active member creates
breathing room for new highly active members – hopefully those less
troublesome.

However, it’s typically the most active members that are the
most troublesome. Those who feel the greater sense of ownership over the
community have less tolerance for those that don’t fit their notion of the
community. Wikipedia editor is a classic example.

Or to adapt a more common
expression; popularity corrupts.

You’re almost certainly going to have
troublemakers. Decide your tolerance levels. Removing one won’t be
catastrophic, but it will probably just create another. 


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