SixApart Torn Apart?
Here’s an example of situations to avoid in Online Communities (more at TechRepublic)

Thousands of LiveJournal customers are rebelling against the company’s recent decision to censor hundreds of sex-themed discussion groups, a broad swath that has led to the removal of literary critiques and fan-written fiction about Harry Potter.

LiveJournal, which is owned by San Francisco-based Six Apart, confirmed Wednesday that it deleted around 500 journals this week in hopes of better “protecting children.” It said the deletion was prompted by activist groups, including one called Warriors for Innocence that claims to track sites promoting pedophilia, the sexual abuse of minors, and other illegal activities.

This kind of fiasco can be avoided by clearly defining your Purpose at the outset (Ms Kim’s standards might be old – 10 years- but they are fundamental) and abiding by Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs (pertaining to online communities).

Purpose – cover off every eventuality in the way you establish and manage your network. That means: colours, code of conduct, taglines, style of moderation, dislosure, everything. Maslow’s hieracy of needs – physiological means not just sustainability of id but sustainability of friends and sustainability of content. The day I log on and my friends list is gone and my discussions are gone is the day I am gone – to another network. No one devotes (years) to an online community and then expects it to vanish in pixel smoke. Six Apart need to work hard to recover – this is their second major f*ck up in the last few years. Last time the customers weren’t necessarily organised or militant (there’s a difference between annoying your consumers a bit so that they slag off on blogs, and annoying them majorly so they set up anti-marketing, anti-advertising movements). We’ll see…

BTW you can switch off MySpace any darn time you like. 😛

If you are interested in this sort of stuff, I’ll be hinting at what can be done at WebJam next week. Then Building and Maintaining Vibrant Online Communities at WebDirections South is a one day, full-on course on social texturing. A much more basic introduction in a one day course at the University of Sydney called YouTube, blogs and marketing might be of interest to someone in your organisation, I guess.

I’m off on a big big aeroplane for a few days r&r. I won’t be blogging. I might read/write the reports that I have to get done. Might. There’s also a six year old’s birthday party in there, and she expects me to be a pirate. With wings. *waves*. A’hoy me hearties, landlubbers ahead. *flies off* staying in Australia but not NSW. 🙂