Yesterday, the owners of Faceparty, the clubbing & party-centric social networking site, decided it was the last straw. After promising to give away “cool tools” (the site’s paid services) for free in exchange for posting a picture of yourself in fancy dress, they found themselves inundated with requests. While they were still dealing with the backlog, users became impatient and abusive, and so the admins have decided enough is enough:
Sowwy dudes, but some of you have pissed us off so much today that we’ve shut the whole site down and fucked off to the zoo.
We’ve all had bad days dealing with running communities and dealing with objectionable members, so their course of action is understandable. They’re not the first social networking site to have such problems; an interesting contrast is Kevin Rose’s rallying cry to abide by the members of Digg’s wishes during last year’s HD-DVD key controversy; having initially deleted posts that might get them sued, after consideration he changed his mind, said sorry and promised to “go down fighting” if need be. A year on, Digg is still around, while HD-DVD is not.
So what’s best? Getting rid of troublesome users is a sensible business decision – they can waste a disproportionate amount of your time and land you in unnecessary hot water. But in social networks, the community is your business. Where does making life easier for yourself end, and a duty to your consumer base begin? Drawing a line is a very tricky business.