5 Ways to Deal with
Negative Forum Members
Negative forum members can effectively destroy your online community if you let them continue to do what they do.
A forum member who is always negative and cannot be pleased is terrible for your community. You must take swift action to prevent damage to your community before they do so much that you lose your community. It can happen and will happen if you let negativity take over.
Luckily, you can take a few different steps before all-out member removal.
In the end, we want to make everyone happy, but sometimes you just cannot make a negative forum member happy without taking things to a different level, and in this article, I’m going to show you what to do next.
Dealing with Negative Forum Members Tip #1: Kill them with kindness!
The first step I recommend taking with negative people on your forum is the “kill them with kindness” approach.
This is where you are friendly and kind to them even when they are not being friendly and kind in return. You respond to every negative thing they do with something positive. No matter what! You respond positively and neutralize every toxic thing they try to get started in your community.
This really requires two things from your end:
- You have to be a patent person when dealing with someone negative
- You have to be able to be kind at all times and keep your cool when dealing with a negative forum member
If you can accomplish these two things, you could easily have the upper hand.
One of two of these things is like to happen by using this method: (1) The negative member will become more positive because you’re surrounding them with positivity, or (2) the negative member will leave the forum because they’re not getting to kind of attention they want or worse (3) the negative member will step it up a level and be a lot more toxic than they originally started out as.
Dealing with the Negative Tip #2: Private Messaging
You can take a different approach and send the negative member a private message.
You can ask what their problem is and why they are the way they are.
I still recommend you be as kind as possible here. I think of negative people because most of them are hurt somehow or another. Most are scared and hurt, and they need someone. They express their pain and fear by being generally toxic in public. Doing this while hiding behind a forum username makes it so much easier.
They want attention; yes, we can definitely say that. But attention isn’t always too much to ask for, either.
So I suggest you give them attention more privately using the private message system and one-on-one support methodology.
You might change their attitude if you listen and give them advice. You might even make a friend for life if you’re there for them. You just have to provide them with more attention than trying to provide yourself with attention because that is what they want.
Dealing with a Negative Member Tip #3: Have a Policy Against It
I’ve had my fair share of experience with people who cannot be pleased over the years of using and running message forums.
Not everyone will join and be the best member they can be. Some people are incredibly dry-humored, sarcastic, and harmful because that’s how they’ve always been. People like this usually have no care if they turn a favorable situation into a toxic problem.
It is essential to have something in the works to stop this behavior before it starts.
For this, I recommend having a rule against it.
My rule is simple: No member may constantly be opposing and attempt to turn the community’s environment into a toxic situation.
My rule is to the point but vague enough to take action for just about any negative behavior. And listen, sometimes people are just in a bad mood, which is acceptable and understandable, but all the time? Nope, not going to put up with that, NONSENSE!
Create an official rule against it to back yourself up when you move on to the following two tips…
Negative Forum Members Tip #4: Warnings & Actions Taken
If you find that a forum member is constantly negative no matter how you try to tame the situation, then maybe it’s time to be the administrator of your online community.
Issue a warning. Take action and lock their topic. Edit their comments. MODERATE their negativity and show them who is boss and what you expect of them as a member of your forum.
Sometimes we are forced to be firm. We must take action before it turns into a toxic environment.
Because in the end, you know what it means to have a toxic environment, right? It means that you’re allowing the door to open for more members to join in and become toxic, even if they’ve never acted like that in the first place. When you surround yourself with a toxic situation, you quickly become a toxic person.
Don’t let your forum turn into something you don’t like. Instead, take action when action is required and show the negative forum member who is boss.
Last Resort Tip #5: Ban the Negative Member
As a last resort when dealing with a negative forum member, maybe the best thing you can do is ban the member.
Sometimes nothing works. You’re likely not a trained psychiatrist, so you shouldn’t be expected to act as one. Sometimes people are trolls who want to disrupt a community.
It could even be a form of aggressive competition from a rival forum. I hate to make it seem like a conspiracy, but sometimes people are competitive beyond all means, and you need to take action before reaction sets into place.
Sometimes the answer is as simple as a ban.
I don’t know about you, but I ban you for life when I am forced to ban you.
And that’s it, folks! That is how you deal with a constantly negative forum members. If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more of them created, please share this with another forum owner who might also enjoy it.
Founder, Forum Tips Blog
Howdy! My name is Shawn and I founded ForumTips.Blog! I created this blog to share my 20+ years of message forum knowledge with other community administrators and moderators. Learn about useful topics here such as managing, marketing, profiting, and sustaining your message forum community!