When Community Volunteers Go Rogue!
11/8/2011 8:31 AM
Over the last twelves years, I have seen many cases of volunteer abuse. The site owners/companies are stuck working overtime trying to undo the damage caused by these evil volunteers. I am going to discuss how to limit the damage volunteers can do to a community in this article. Every community site who uses volunteers will eventually have to go through the process of cleaning up after this problem. I went through this problem more often then you might think. I was able to fix any damage fairly quickly due to the honesty of my community, other volunteers who were passionate, and systems in place to revert/track/log actions.
I spoke about how to set up a volunteer system in a previous article. I used a basic level system for Clan Ladder.com. As each volunteer gained experience and met specific milestones, they were raised in a level and tools were awarded. Each volunteer started out with little or no site administration power. They had to strengthen their customer service skills, all while using the power of the word and understanding to settle issues before they were raised in level. It took a volunteer a good amount of time and investment before they achieved a status of power where they could change data on my sites. Not every site operates like I did. I always knew how to manage volunteers because of my training and experience of working with the Microsoft Gaming Zone.
Here are a few common actions Rogue Volunteers often did:
They did everything to benefit themselves.
They falsified information.
They edited/changed data.
They deleted data to cause a problem.
They shared passwords with others.
They tried to open a clone site of yours behind your back.
They recruited your volunteer members.
It is very important to remember volunteers are people and people have opinions. People have the power to change their own mind. Every person has their own motivations to decide to choose a different path with no rhyme or reason.
Steps you can take to prevent such actions.
Make sure volunteers can not access or alter vital information.
Limit all deleting/editing data to a few select trusted people.
Review the reasons for decisions to see/check the quality of your volunteers often.
Make sure the passwords change often.
If you decide to go the volunteer route, please remember to keep a close eye on them. Do not give them any tasks that put your vital information at risk. Use them to supplement coverage you already provide. But, if you have to rely heavily on volunteers, use caution and pay close attention at all times because you will get what you pay for in the end.
Do you monitor your volunteers? Have you had situations where they have gone rogue?
Please check out my other topics on Volunteers for more topics.
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