A few tips about online communities

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While watching the launch wreckage of Truemors, I came across a few interesting tips about managing online communities:

- It’s the social part that is the killer
- Some Community Tips for 2007, Seven tips on how to run a successful community (I love the rant about the term User Generated Content!)
- How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community by Cory Doctorow
- Spam, Trolls, Stalkers: The Pandora’s Box of community, very interesting tips about moderating conversations in virtual space, from Teresa Nielsen Hayden (whom Doctorow calls a “troll whisperer”)

Teresa uses a technique she calls Disemvoweling, which is the removal of vowels from text as a technique by forum moderators to suppress Internet trolling and other unwanted posting. I advise it too, and I successfully tested a similar technique on my French blog, by using the Debilitron service that turns a text into funny non-sense (I don't think it would work in English, but I'm pretty sure there is an equivalent for your Shakespearian trolls out there). It did indeed discourage the few trollers I occasionally get on a few heated-conversations here.

There are two Movable Type plugins for disemvoweling comments:
- shrpshr.pl which I find cumbersome because it forces you to hard-code trollers IPs in your templates
- disemvowel.tar.gz which requires MTKeyValues and allows you to moderate comments by simply editing them to add a few keywords (instructions are in the plugin archive)