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A while ago, the owner of our community stepped aside. A couple of the most senior community members offered to take up the reins. I believe this means everything from domain name to servers to forum management, etc. Along with this, though, they replaced many existing moderators. I was not one of the ones replaced, but new colleagues were fairly inexperienced in the community so it did raise eyebrows. The focus in the community has also been slowly expanding, as the owners have added automated news feeds from external sites that are related to our focus. From my point of view, it feels very much like a mini-Slashdot. These changes have all occurred in less than a year.

On the positive side, the community has many new members. It's grown very quickly compared to previous years. The downside is that many of these changes have already driven away some of our oldest members. Three moderators that survived the purging also stepped down. The new owners either don't realize this is happening or don't care. The new members don't seem as engaged either. While the member count on the forum has grown, the number of posts that a new member makes is much much lower than an established member.

How do I approach the owners with these concerns? As a member of the "old guard", I want to show that the community they took over is all but gone. In it's place is a newer, less engaged community that seems to be showing up due to link traffic from popular articles posted around the internet.

7

I see a few different ways to approach this problem, which each has a different outcome.

  • Realize the community has changed and you have to change too

The owners have set a direction for the community. Based on your description, it seems they are successful. The community has grown. Is it possible that with all of these new users it just feels that the new users aren't as engaged because you can't have as many conversations? On the other hand, the lower engagement but larger user base may be the owner's new strategy. Breadth instead of depth. In this case, you has to adapt. As a moderator, you have a larger user base that comes around occasionally, instead of a more dedicated one that is around frequently. Neither is bad - just different.

  • Realize the community has changed and you have to step away

Another option you have is to realize the community you've joined has changed so dramatically that it is no longer recognizable by yourself. In that case, you need to decide if it is worth sticking around. The community you knew has evolved. The great thing about the internet is that there is another community out there for you. Where did users that left go? It may be worth investigating one of those communities to see if it is more viable for you.

  • Convince the owners that the old community is valuable and worth saving (not at the expense of what they have built up though)

A third option is to talk with the owners and explain the concerns you have. They aren't going to change over night, but they did keep you on their moderator staff. Something you may want to consider prior to this conversation is your thought pattern. "Purging" is building a very negative image in your head. Why were these people asked to leave while you were asked to stay? Without knowing context, I'd be willing to guess that some of these were not performing "moderation duties" as the owners expected. You, however, were and weren't asked to leave. Something you are doing is "right" in their eyes. Talk to them. As a community owner myself, I love when moderators come and talk to me, even when they have a completely different opinion of what I'm doing. It provides a different point of view. It also opens a conversation where I can explain why I'm doing something. It helps the moderators see from my point of view. It has also been known to change my thinking and support a different point of view when they can show why something isn't working.

0

Ok, tricky one.
Keep in mind that it's not your task to take care about the numbers of users and traffic. But it's your duty to help out your community. Your power is the community. So, if you really want to change something you need to have the community backing you! But since the community has changed, as you told, it may be hard to achieve anything because all the users feeling like you have already left. Maybe the last option is quitting, you should get used to this.
Actually, ask yourself! What are you doing there if you are feeling uncomfortable? Why do you do that? Is the community as it is now it worth? If you can deny these questions, just let go and leave, really. It will be just trouble for you.
Moderating should, no, has to be fun for you, if it's not you have to change it (with your community) or have to move on.

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