I just found a great post by Robyn Tippins, MBL’s community manager, titled “What Defines A Great Community Member?” All of her points are extrmely relevant to anyone who participates in online communities.

This is a particularly good quote (at least in my opinion) — “If you want readers, you’ll have to write content that is so darn useful that people can’t live without it.”  Don’t just leave useless crap as contributions (like “I agree” or “great post” or “thanks for checking out my site”), it doesn’t do any good and probably ends up hurting your online brand with negative word of mouth. If you contribute to any online community, I’d make sure to read the post and think about whether all your contributions are a net positive for the community you participate in — you might be ruining your online reputation without even knowing it.

  • For some people community is something that is natural and you really don’t have to think about how to interact. For others, a few guidelines are helpful. Thanks for the kind words!

  • I think it depends on what blog category you go to and comment. Are most comments CRAP? I didn’t know that an honest thank you for sharing is crap. According to a survey, 90+% of millions of blogs are Personal blogs. What does one expect? An intellectual comment? Not all people online are selling things. It’s not their source of income, mostly relaxation, meeting new friends.

    And it’s like teaching people how to interact. Absurd. It’s spontaneity most of the time.

    Not only that, I’ve read some who will tell you how to write a post. Others will consider a few sentence a post while others a long rant is good for them. I think to each his own.

    Of course, those who consider themselves pro-bloggers, those who get paid of their posts must do something more. What I see around [paid posts]aren’t different from others who are naturally gifted with writing skills.

    you might be ruining your online reputation without even knowing it.

    I am not so afraid of speaking my mind. It’s how people interpret it. They can always challenge the commenter anytime.

    Moreover, when people start telling people how to write, act, comment online, they’re starting to be one track-minded. They should close their blog to people they like and those they THINK can comment intelligently ONLY.

  • ipanema-
    I agree with some of what you said, and crap is probably a bit too strong of a word.

    I wasn’t trying to target the legitimate people who really do appreciate a particular post and leave a “thank you for sharing” comment.

    What I was getting at was people who just go leave comments around the blogosphere or on profile “walls” just to get their name and url in front of more people, even if they didn’t even read the post.

    Unfortunately, there will always be people looking to game the system. It does suck when the actions of a few give a bad rap to the rest.

  • Unfortunately, there will always be people looking to game the system.

    Now that is very true. 🙂