< Back to Content Library

How to Handle a Crowd: The Art of Creating Healthy and Dynamic Online Communities

Anika Gupta

Don’t read the comments. Old advice, yet more relevant than ever. The tools we once hailed for their power to connect people and spark creativity can also be hotbeds of hate, harassment, and political division. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are under fire for either too much or too little moderation. Creating and maintaining healthy online communities isn’t easy.

Over the course of two years of graduate research at MIT, former tech journalist and current product manager Anika Gupta interviewed moderators who’d worked on the sidelines of gamer forums and in the quagmires of online news comments sections. She’s spoken with professional and volunteer moderators for communities like Pantsuit Nation, Nextdoor, World of Warcraft guilds, Reddit, and FetLife.

In How to Handle a Crowd, she shares what makes successful communities tick – and what you can learn from them about the delicate balance of community moderation. Topics include:
-Building creative communities in online spaces
-Bridging political division—and creating new alliances
-Encouraging freedom of speech
-Defining and eliminating hate and trolling
-Ensuring safety for all participants-
-Motivating community members to action

How to Handle a Crowd is the perfect book for anyone looking to take their small community group to the next level, start a career in online moderation, or tackle their own business’s comments section.

Don’t read the comments. Old advice, yet more relevant than ever. The tools we once hailed for their power to connect people and spark creativity can also be hotbeds of hate, harassment, and political division. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are under fire for either too much or too little moderation. Creating and maintaining healthy online communities isn’t easy.

Over the course of two years of graduate research at MIT, former tech journalist and current product manager Anika Gupta interviewed moderators who’d worked on the sidelines of gamer forums and in the quagmires of online news comments sections. She’s spoken with professional and volunteer moderators for communities like Pantsuit Nation, Nextdoor, World of Warcraft guilds, Reddit, and FetLife.

In How to Handle a Crowd, she shares what makes successful communities tick – and what you can learn from them about the delicate balance of community moderation. Topics include:
-Building creative communities in online spaces
-Bridging political division—and creating new alliances
-Encouraging freedom of speech
-Defining and eliminating hate and trolling
-Ensuring safety for all participants-
-Motivating community members to action

How to Handle a Crowd is the perfect book for anyone looking to take their small community group to the next level, start a career in online moderation, or tackle their own business’s comments section.

Don’t read the comments. Old advice, yet more relevant than ever. The tools we once hailed for their power to connect people and spark creativity can also be hotbeds of hate, harassment, and political division. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are under fire for either too much or too little moderation. Creating and maintaining healthy online communities isn’t easy.

Over the course of two years of graduate research at MIT, former tech journalist and current product manager Anika Gupta interviewed moderators who’d worked on the sidelines of gamer forums and in the quagmires of online news comments sections. She’s spoken with professional and volunteer moderators for communities like Pantsuit Nation, Nextdoor, World of Warcraft guilds, Reddit, and FetLife.

In How to Handle a Crowd, she shares what makes successful communities tick – and what you can learn from them about the delicate balance of community moderation. Topics include:
-Building creative communities in online spaces
-Bridging political division—and creating new alliances
-Encouraging freedom of speech
-Defining and eliminating hate and trolling
-Ensuring safety for all participants-
-Motivating community members to action

How to Handle a Crowd is the perfect book for anyone looking to take their small community group to the next level, start a career in online moderation, or tackle their own business’s comments section.