Ello Community Leads: What are your tricks & issues?
I've recently started moderating one of the Ello communities, Ellogreen, and a I've bumped into a few concerns that I'd like to bounce off other community leads.
A Leads Community?
First: does it make sense to have a community (or other channel) for discussing issues with community management generally? I bring much of my experience from Reddit which has a range of forums aimed at mods or for users to communicate with them:
We might even set this up elsewhere for now. Reddit is one option. Google+ Communities are a poor option. And I suspect Facebook's out of the question...
(I don't have an account there anyway.)
FAQs and other persistent pages
With Ello's Bio sections expanded, and allowing links (and images), it's possible to link specific posts there. You can designate any given Ello post as a FAQ or other standard page (post index, posting guidelines, resources, references, etc.). There are limitations, the primary one being that only one person can edit these (shared edit privs could be a path to having Wiki functionality in Ello). I'm a documentation nerd, so this just thrills me to bits. A couple of Communities have already created something like this, but it seems a good idea for others.
The ElloGreen FAQ for whoever cares
Keeping track of what I've posted and what I haven't. Since I came into the Community after a lapse in leads of about a month, there's a backlog of good posts I'd like to submit. Figuring out which of those I do or don't want to re-share (or have), is a challenge.
Editorial Calendar & Workflow?
Another challenge: occasionally I'll find a trove of content which is high quality and is broken out into reasonably bite-sized chunks. One is a book broken into chapters almost 50 in total. If I can remember to post one a week, that's a year's worth of content, and this is stuff that sets the tone for what I'd really like to see in the Community. But that means tracking it, submitting, and keeping straight what has or hasn't been posted.
This could be addressed with third-party tools, personal systems, calendars, or Ello features, though I'm really not familiar with tools out there.
My own process has mostly been organized around keeping a "drafts" folder with works-in-process, that I poke at over time. I do a lot of writing in-the-moment as well, though.
There's a whole slew of tools aimed at bloggers, most of which I've zero familiarity with. Some I turned up preparing this post. Many are aimed at marketing, though I find the concepts generally valuable:
18 Editorial Calendar Tools That Help Manage And Organize Your Content: Podio, mindmeister, mindseng, evernote, MonkeyOn, Oh, Don't Forget..., Google Calendar, Zootool, Kapost, Strides, WordPress Calendar, Buddymedia, Google analytics, BlogDesk, The Interviewer, Gather Content, Goosync, Todoist,
Types of Editorial Calendar to Manage Your Business Blog
How To Manage Your Editorial Calendar
How to Create and Manage an Editorial Calendar
3 Tools to Better Manage Your Blogging Editorial Calendar
Communicating With Users
There are a few parts to this:
There are some users who post amazing and awesome content who I'd really like to encourage.
@jpchowdary comes particularly to mind, he's posting on a wide range of topics (inlcuding a lot of Green stuff, but hardly just that), and is a machine, cranking out good stuff a lot of the time. His are among the posts I've queued up to fill in slack time for content.
Update: I've since revised that opinion considerably downwards due to numerous posts from questionable sites and with little if any validity. More here. 23 July 2015.
There's stuff that would be good with some changes. A wall-of-text post that could use paragraphs. A mostly images-submission that could use description. Project posts that don't tell much about what was made or how. Weak ledes. Nudging users gently toward better submissions is something I'd like. Since Ello allows re-editing of posts, from the ground up, if you can convince someone, that's pretty straightforward.
Stuff that ... doesn't quite fit. I'm not big on linkspam / blogspam, URL shorteners, or low-effort contributions. And there is content that I don't think fits in well with the theme for the Community. Figuring out how to both say "no", gently, and to leave a reminder to myself on submissions that I've looked at them and decided otherwise, is ... a challenge. I prefer not bruising egos.
Encouraging use of Markdown. You can probably tell I'm a fan of highly formatted and structured posts. A sleeper feature of Ello is that, with more differentiated styling, it becomes a really first-class online publishing platform. There's a reason I posted my first really big piece here and not on Google+, though it dealt mostly with Google+ user activity: Ello let me format and present the article the way I wanted (that ended up in a number of news outlets, including Boing Boing and Business Insider, and even in a Texas Legislature presentation. Inline images, embeds, headers, links, lists, (but no linked lists), and even tables are possible. No blockquotes either.... yet?
Suggestions for Ello enhancements
It's a lot easier to suggest features than create them. But Ello have been really responsive in improving the site (my own early gripe posts make for interesting time-capsule reading -- and that's from just 9-10 months ago. That said, I've mentioned some Community features to @chelsea:
- Auto-approved / fast-tracked posters.
- Standardized Community pages: FAQ, Guidelines, Wiki, etc.
- Multiple moderators.
- Multiple account support or moderator-as-role. Logging in and out of accounts gets a bit old. (It's also interesting given one of my accounts is Beta 2.2 and one is Ello v2.)
- Dupes checking. Identifying duplicate submissions.
- Scheduled submissions. Being able to queue up multiple posts for publishing a few hours apart would be awesome (and probably not just for Communities).
- Stats and reporting tools. TBD, but something to keep in mind.
- Abuse tools. Also TBD.
Ello's also impressed me by the overall simplicity of its approach, which I think is a core strength. Applying just the right amount of structure seems to me to be the way to provide greatest value and capability with the least complexity and programming / systems overhead.
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