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Posted: Aug 25 2017, 08:59 AM
So, I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I was wondering a few things.
1. What do you do when someone isn't a good fit for your community?
2. How often do you deny someone interested in joining your community?
3. What do you do when you have to say no?
4. Would you be interested in building a network to get people who aren't a good fit for your site into another?
Posted: Sep 16 2017, 07:31 PM
1. In my experience, the most direct as an admin you can be, the better. With one of my other admins and I, it usually falls on us within our staff to be the ones to have these discussions with the particular parties because we have OOC experience with similar situations (basically, both of us were in Greek Letter Org's in college and therein we realized it's much easier during the new member process to recognize, discuss, and create options when there's questionable fit, rather than risk the regular membership decide to regulate for themselves - which can give your site a negative reputation, because people will talk).
That said, we've had success brainstorming among the admins and sometimes including some of the senior members, trying to find a way in which the member's difference can be spun positively - not necessarily as a reward, but as a way of seeing if the mountain can't be brought to Mohammad if Mohammad won't come to the mountain, to coin a phrase. But ultimately, you need, first and foremost, to determine what your hard lines are and stand by them. This allows you to offer both clarity to the member in question and not come across as favoring certain members over others.
2. More often than not, when we've denied someone it's because we have prior knowledge of them from another member or admin from experience on another site. (Like I said, people are going to talk.) There's no such thing as too much communication via PM's when it comes to the application process. And one of my own personal bits is that if an applicant is completely inflexible or doesn't make me believe that they're willing to be flexible, I'm hesitant to want them on-board. I'm always willing to work with people (barring crossing one of those hard lines), but it's also completely unfair to admins/ST's who put in time and effort into creating an enjoyable experience for all to have to constantly be the ones to sacrifice their characters' interests/plots/etc. because someone isn't willing to reciprocate once in a while.
3. There's no absolute answer to this, though I recommend against going form letter and at the same time, don't go into some massive explanation. We're all writers ultimately, so being concise and direct shouldn't be an issue, even if we sometimes don't want to. If you're adamant about your "no," then adding fluffy language to spare their feelings can tend to backfire and give them false hope. I'm not saying to be an arsehole, but be firm, be specific, and make sure to note that you just don't feel the fit is correct for your membership.
4. I do like this idea, but it's not without its potential pitfalls. If you're going to make recommendations, I'd suggest only vague ones and not making promises (or what could be incorrectly interpreted as promises) on behalf of other peoples' sites. It's well-intentioned, but potential fraught with peril.