Posted in day-to-day, I wrote this

Community Management Styles: Pros and Cons

So the communities I’ve worked with seem to fall into a few different categories:

  • The Absolute Dictatorship – One person owns the sim or estate; one person makes the rules. That one person also makes all the decisions, and has sole property-owner type rights. The one person decides what stays and what goes, and there is no system of appeal.

    Benefits to residents: When it’s a small sim or estate, you don’t want to have to go through hoops just to ask a question or make a request. And, there’s minimal miscommunication about the rules; you don’t get one person saying one thing and one person saying something different. Political drama doesn’t happen often, if at all.

    Disadvantages to residents: If the one person in charge is called away by RL, the place falls apart.

    A sure sign you’re in this type of community: someone with tags reading “king”, “mayor”, “president”, etc.

  • Absolute Regime, Light – One person (or small governing body) owns and manages the sim or estate. The rules and decisions are made by this governing body; however, the remaining populace (tenants) have some control over their personal space (such as some property owner rights). There is much railroading, and talk of “proper channels.”

    Benefits to residents: An opportunity to make suggestions or wishes known (though they may be disregarded). There may be some elected positions or juried events. Residents are able to control their own parcel: its name, description, search keywords, ban list, and radio stream; and can make announcements at the SL website about events (provided the parcel is large enough).

    Disadvantages to residents: Governing body can appear clannish and out-of-touch with less deeply involved residents and their needs. Free exchange of ideas limited to meetings. Instead of help provided when requested through incorrect channels, there can be belittling comments and opportunities for help/chat diminished further. Conflicts of interest. Feelings of powerlessness with residents.

    A sure sign you’re in this kind of community: Five or more different groups related to the community, not including a “staff” group. Public smackdowns for chatting in the “wrong” group on any topic. Also, if its name rhymes with “Swindon Crab”.

  • Democratic Process – In larger, more populous sims or estates, especially with a real focus on community, there will often be numerous governing bodies on various aspects. It may be a multi-tiered system of government: one estate owner, heads of committees, committees and subcommittees. OH the committees!

    Benefits to residents: Free exchange of ideas encouraged. Questions asked are questions answered. Every single decision made is made with the involvement of everyone in the community. Residents are empowered, and encouraged when they take initiative.

    Disadvantages to residents: Where more people and ideas converge, there will you find drama. Decisions made with everyone involved will by nature take more time to implement. Someone will always be offended, and everyone will be hearing about it. Chat, while containing useful information and social catching up, will by nature also contain unwanted chatter, advertisements, and topics not always agreeable.

    A sure sign you’re in this kind of community: It will contain hundreds of active members and five or more groups. The word “committee” used liberally in said groups. Group notices with multiple authors. Group chat is frequent, and on countless subjects.

    No one system of community management is better or worse in all cases. What works in a small quarter-sim may not work in a dozen-sim estate. And, each has its pros and cons. No single form of community management exists which is absolutely perfect for everyone.




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