TheNextBigWriter Groups Manual
Welcome Group founder or moderator. Starting and running a Group on TheNextBigWriter is your opportunity to build and run a writing group according to your own wishes and rules. This will be your
site and you have total freedom to shape the group as you wish.
This manual will help you understand the features available to you and provide tips on how to create, build, and manage your writing community.
What is a Group?
Groups are self-contained writing communities that exist on TheNextBigWriter platform. Members of the group can view and provide feedback to all content posted to that group.
Members of the group can have as little or as much interaction with other groups on the site as they want.
Groups can consist of:
- Individuals members who decide to come together around a theme, interest, or common bond.
- Offline writing groups who decide to bring some of their workshopping online.
- High school and university classes looking for a virtual environment to post and discuss classwork and writing assignments.
- Other combinations of writers.
Whatever the purpose of the group you started, this manual will provide you with the basic knowledge needed to be successful as a Group Founder and Moderator.
Basic Responsibilities of a Founder/Moderator
As a moderator you have a couple of basic responsibilities. They are:
- To ensure that all members of the group adhere to the standards and rules you have created for the group.
- To ensure that the group is kept free from spam.
- To answer questions posed by new members about the group and its operation. Questions specific to the functionality of the site can be directed to the site admins.
Group Founders and Moderators may also want to:
- Create forum discussions that interest group members and get them engaged.
- Create contests to attract new members to the group and keep existing members energized and motivated.
- Develop a program to recruit new members into the group (if growing the group is a goal).
Groups on TheNextBigWriter come with a number of features to allow moderators to manage their groups. Many of these functions are located on the Home/Setup tab of the group. On this tab you can:
- Edit the Group: This allows you to edit all group settings, except points. If you want to switch the points status of a group contact the site admins.
- Manage Requests: The Requests tab allows you to approve or decline requests to join the group, if the group is set to private.
- Send a Group Message. This is a private message that can be sent to the entire group. Do not use this frequently as it will annoy group members to receive too many messages.
Moderators on the site can also do the following:
- Remove members of the group. This is done by going to the Members tab under the group, finding the user, and removing them.
- Remove content from the group. To do this, go to the Content tab and a trash can should appear so that you can remove their content from the group.
- Manage the forum. As a moderator, you have the ability to delete/edit/add posts and threads.
Types of Groups
There are several key types of groups. The most important distinctions are:
Private vs. Public Groups
When setting up a Group, the Founder can select whether to make the group public or private. These settings can be updated and changes at any time.
Private Groups require the moderators to approve new members before they can join the group. This setting is appropriate for classes, small workshops, or any other community that wants to screen
If you are operating a Private Group, you will receive an alert when someone applies to the group. You can then view the join request and either accept or deny the person entry.
Public Groups are open to everyone. New users do not require moderator approval to join.
Points vs. No Points
The point system is a powerful way of enforcing reciprocal feedback within a writing community. The Group Founder can choose to make use of this option when initially setting up the group. Once a
group is created, this setting cannot be changed without asking the site admins.
Point Groups use the site's point system for posting content. That means that members of the group must earn points by reading and reviewing others in the community before they can post their own
work. The point system is a powerful way to enforce recoprocity and ensure that everyone contributes useful feedback to the community.
No Point Groups do not use the site's point system and members of the group can post as much content as they want without having to pay points. Classes often choose not to use points because
reciprocity is built into the curriculum and doesn't need to be enforced.
Think about how you want your group to operate before choosing one option over the other.
It is up to you as the founder to decide how big you want your group to be. There is no system limit on the size of the group. As a guideline, a focused workshop experience may want to stay in the
10-15 member range. A relatively loose, open group can grow to several thousand members. Think of your goal for the group and let that guide the size.
You can turn off enrollment in a group at any time via the Edit Group button. Switch Access to New Members to Off.
Promoting Your Group
Once you have created a group, spreading the word and getting others to join is the next step. When you create the group, it will automatically be listed on the Group index, unless you chose to not
to display it on the site. Many new members check this area to see what groups they would like to join. Here are some additional tips to recruit new members:
- Post a message on TheNextBigWriter Premium Forum letting people know the group now exists.
- Recruit select people on TheNextBigWriter who you think might be a good fit for your group.
- Send an email to any writer friends you have inviting them to join the group.
- Post a message on your Facebook page announcing the group.
- Contact the site admins and let them know about it so that they can post it on the site's Facebook page and include it in the monthly emails that are sent out.
- Mention it to other writers you meet.
Communicating with Your Group
There are two primary ways to communicate with your group.
- Post a message in the group forum. You can post a message in the group forum that will be seen at any time by the other members of the group on their homepage. This is a good way to post a
notice and start a conversation.
- Send a private message to the group. You can send the entire group a private message by going to the group homepage, clicking the Home/Setup tab, and then clicking the Group Message option. Do
not send too many group messages as writers do not want their private message inbox flooded.
Dealing with Troublemakers
At one time, every group moderator will come across a member who doesn't want to adhere to the rules. This is a certainty in online writing groups. Our advice is the following:
- Politely inform the member that they are violating the group's rules and ask that they refrain from doing so.
- If they do not correct their behavior, remove them from the group. Once you do this, they can no longer post to the forum or post content to the group. Any content they have posted will be
To remove someone from the group, go to the Members tab in the group, find the member and set their flag to Remove.
If you don't want to moderate alone, you can recruit other trusted members to help you manage the group. These new moderators will also be able to approve members, remove members, delete content,
and have rights to edit, delete, and stick forum posts.
To add someone as a moderator, go to the Members tab under the group, find the member, and select to make them a moderator.
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