As some of you already know, we’ve become rather vigilant in monitoring MakeFive and ensuring that the community keeps growing in a positive way. Yesterday we were alerted of a topic that had been flagged as questionable. After a brief review we deleted the topic and sent a warning to the member. I may have been a little abrupt in my warning, and as a result, took a little time out at the end of the day to explain why we had acted as we had.
Below I’ve copied my message. For those of you who are concerned about MakeFive continuing to grow as a healthy and meaningful space, I think you’ll find it interesting. As I’ve always said, we want to make something great here. I hope we’re managing to do so, and I thank all of you for contributing to the community.
Thanks for the email and comments. I apologize if I came off as overly blunt. We’ve had to take a bit of a stance on some issues. Let me take a moment to explain.
This is a very small community. We don’t make much (any) money from it; however, we put every second we have into it. The thing we’re concentrating on is in building a really solid community. In our minds, this means the kind of site where people can take part in active and meaningful discussions, and leave the site feeling as though they gained something. We’re seeing a core group of users get really excited about the site, and becoming highly active members. In our minds, this is a sign that we’re starting to really build something that works.
That being said, everything here is a work-in-progress. The complexity of the site is really quite staggering as you look under the hood, and as such, not everything is as we want it to be. Nevertheless, there are a lot of great things coming–most notably next week when we launch the new version.
Points were introduced as a way to add some fun for users. Most people respected this for what it was, but as with anything, some people quickly found a way to abuse the system. At first we allowed this to continue, hoping that common-sense would prevail. It didn’t. As a result, people were creating topics like “Top numbers” or “Top letters in the alphabet”. They would then proceed adding countless items one at a time just to collect points. As a result, the content on the site suffered, and regular users became very frustrated.
Things have changed a lot since then. Ultimately, we still try to remain open to any kind of content but we have become much more swift in reacting to topics that are clearly created just to “chase points”. The points aren’t the reason for the community, and in our experience those who chase them have little interest in contributing to the dialogue. They simply want to get some swag and after getting a prize leave never to be heard from again. I wish we had a method of filtering out such behavior more readily, instead, we have to rely on community members to notify us when they spot something in need of attention.
The topic you started this afternoon about “XXXXX XXXX XXXX” was immediately flagged by three regulars on the site. Now, you may feel differently, but I tend to agree with their choice to red-flag the topic. It’s very hard to imagine that this topic had any purpose behind it other than to collect points.
We try to be fair, and that’s why we sent a warning to begin with. It wasn’t a big deal, but we do want to maintain the community, even at the risk of offending a couple of people. Again, the purpose here is to build a good community.
So, there you have it. I suppose the rest is up to you. Perhaps take a moment to determine what you want out of the site. If you feel that we’re being overly Draconian in our approach, you’re free to “flip us the bird” and abandon the site. ;-)
On the other hand, I’d certainly hope that you’d instead chalk it up to an error in judgment, and become one of the regulars here. There are some great conversations taking place and many feel that the site is a really worthwhile and enjoyable part of their day.
I hope this helps you understand why we react so strongly when we feel that something isn’t in the best interests of the community. Additionally, should you choose to remain a part of the community, I believe that you’ll in time come to appreciate why we put so much time and effort into keeping it a positive and interesting space.
BTW – If you’re curious about some of the things leading up to our policies, you can find posts on the blog that address some of the challenges and subsequent actions from the past year. It’s at http://blog.makefive.com
Postscript: Shortly after my email, the member sent a note acknowledging the response and committing to the standards of the community. We all really appreciate this, and are happy to have another member keen to take part in building a good space!