Sometime back I joined a pile of “Group/Page Admin Help” support groups on Facebook. As you may or may not know, I manage a rather busy and intense support group for diabetic cat owners on Facebook. One thing I would love to be able to do is identify members who haven’t posted in a given time-frame to check in on them.
We screen people who want to join the group through welcome questions, so every person who joins the group has a sick cat (a few exceptions). The thing with diabetic cats is that if you don’t do things right, you run the risk of ending up with a disaster. When those disasters happen at night or on week-ends (as they do), the group ends up having to deal with panicked owner and sometimes dying cat that the on-call vet doesn’t want to see (I guess they have their reasons). So in addition to wanting to be helpful to our members, we have a vested interest as a community in making sure that our members are actually using the group to follow best practices, keep their cat safe, and therefore avoid being the source of a midnight crisis.
This is just to give you a bit of background.
So what we do in my group is each member gets a personalised welcome publication when they join, with instructions to get started and pointers to our documentation. At the end of the week. all the people who joined during the week get a “group welcome” publication with some more info and links. (Think “onboarding”.) Two months later, another message (the first six months after diagnosis are critical, so two months in is a good time to get your act together if you haven’t yet). I used to do a “you’ve been here six months, wow!” group post too, but now I’ve moved it up to a year (the group turned two years old last January).
When I posted in these “admin support groups” to explain what we did and that I would like a way to identify inactive members, I was immediately piled upon (honestly there is no other word) by people telling me that they would quit a group which mentioned them like that in publications, that people should be allowed to lurk, etc. etc. I was Wrong to want to identify inactive members and Wrong to actively onboard new members.
I have to say I was a bit shocked at the judgement and outrage. Why do these people assume they understand my community better than I do? Anyway, it was a very frustrating experience.
For the record, there isn’t a way of identifying inactive members in a Facebook group.
Yesterday, somebody else posted the same question on one of those groups. They also wanted a way to identify inactive members to encourage them to participate, in a group based on active participation. Again, the onslaught of judgemental comments regarding the group’s rules and philosophy.
Seriously, what is wrong with people?
Also published on Medium.