Tips for server/community management.

Disclaimer - All the information on this thread is an opinion, unless otherwise declared a fact. Do not post “shit” against my opinions. If you disagree with me, you are welcome to post maturely and explain why you disagree. If a fact is wrong, please let me know, as it may mislead other members.

Staff - Staff is the heart of your server, and the quality of your staff will determine the fate of your server. Your server/concepts/mechanics may be unique, and inspiring, but if you have abusive/shit staff, you will lose your server will lose its ranks, and be abandoned by the players. Staff should be recruited, and demoted as servers age to prevent abuse, and biased decisions.

Some may be tempted to hand pick staff, this means that no one but the brown-noses, and good friends of other staff members will reach a rank of power. This is horrible for a community. How could it be horrible? Simple scenario: “Player 1 gets banned for raiding player 2.” Now player 2 is a good friend of the administrator, and didn’t want to get raided. So he sends a message on steam to his buddy, and they ban him for a stupid mistake, or no reason at all. Now what happens? Player 1 files an abuse report, and the other staff defend the first staff member, because he is friends with them…

So to summarize: Always have unbiased judgement. Do not trust your staff more than your average player, and always have proof before you ban someone.

**Bans **- The ban hammer is a powerful tool, and it is used to enforce rules. Bans should be fair, and only deployed for serious offences. Good practice for banning is having your staff members post “Ban Reports” on your forums. These would consist of posting the player’s name, steamID, evidence of the ban, and some explanation. This helps resolve any confusion that players may have about bans. This will also aid your staff in defending their judgement, and having some evidence if there is a claim of staff abuse. If you unfairly ban player, for extended periods of times, your community will fall apart quickly.

Rules- It is good practice to only deploy punishments for written rules. Written means that they are clearly presented on a website or text document which every player has access to. Keep your rules simple, but very detailed, so players are not confused. New players tend to gather bans when they are not positive on rules, or the staff are enforcing unwritten rules. Do NOT add rules during a ban case. This is unfair, and players will notice. Doing so will increase the risk of losing a responsible/respectful part of your community.

–This thread will be updated with more information. Apologies for any mistakes.

If you need somebody else to tell you how to run your server, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Most of this is just common sense.

I’ll post shit about your opinions if I want.

And you should only hold your ‘staff’ (putting that lightly : really they should just be mates you trust) accountable if they actually do something seriously wrong. And you shouldn’t have to have a written rulelist, common sense tends to dictate

its not like starting a community is hard

starting a good one is

Sometimes you’re going to have to be mean to your friends, and they aren’t going to like it. For example, they may be breaking rules or having arguments, and you’re going to have to step in and sort it out. How well this goes generally depends on how well both of you can communicate and see things from other perspectives. If one side generally cannot admit fault, it’s going to be a bit messy.

You’re going to deal with a lot of people who frustrate you, and have an unnecessary bias against any sort of higher power, i.e admins, owners, etc. Even if you calmly show users proof that they have broken rules, expect people to shove their fingers in their ears and insult you frequently, especially if things aren’t going their way. For example, many people have written up unban requests, refused to admit that they broke rules and learn from their mistakes. They then claim they are going to go find a new or better group, or just call us bad people in general. Don’t tolerate this entitled bullshit.

If people are complaining to you personally about an admin, make them write up a forum thread, or get them in a place where you can have both a discussion with the admin being accused and the person accusing. Never make judgement after hearing only one side of a story. Often people will miss out details, or see things different, as well avoid parts that paint themselves in a bad light.

To run a successful gaming community, you need to be able to communicate and understand. You need to be able to take criticism, and understand how it does and doesn’t apply to you. You can’t improve if everyone who has some feedback simply get shunned and mocked. Also realize that a lot of people may come to YOU personally, as the owner, to deal with situations between simply two people, which you may not consider your job. You also need to be able to treat everyone the same, including friends.

Like, I get it, there’s a lot of shitty admins out there but please don’t create this victimized idea that all admins are bad and any sort of punishment reinforcement must be abuse

Hello Niandra :stuck_out_tongue:

I am an ex owner of a fairly rapidly expanding community. My biggest tip is, if there is more than just you as owner make sure you know them well and trust them. Make sure that you know EXACTLEY how you stand with them and that if the case is that you’re equel then that you always get your opinion heard. Also avoid more than 3 owners. Trust me, doesn’t work. Anything else was coverd by Nia up there ^^

Common Sense post. Personally though this is how i would/and do run a community.

  1. Get in your head “Im the fucking ruler of my kingdom”. Dont trust others with ranks and be independent.
    That might seem douchey. But this is the ultimate reality of it. People want to “help” so they have power to do things and ruin your vision, and more importantlly, other peoples fun. People “help” for power. Ive been through that crap so many times. There is no such thing as a free ride. Be selective with the people you entrust power with. I personally refuse the adminship signup sheet thing as a hole and handpick people myself based on if i trust them or not. People that ask or beg for it automaticlly are mentally crossed off as potential people to entrust staff with.

Be independent. Be able to do everything for yourself. Being the owner but only doing ~ 10% of the work is a sure sign of failure. This is because YOU are on other peoples time. If you can handle everything from management and development on your own, you will have much more ability to have a successful server and control it alot better.

BanHammer: IMO if your a dumbass and just non beneficial to anyone, your out. Thats my moral status on that.
Rules: Make the usual rules and any significant ones neccisary. Honestlly to avoid people loopholing just be blant and say cheating the system is a ban. Simple. Douchey and lazy, but simple.

All in all This is MY tips for running a server:
Follow through the above (1) being
Be independent
Be assertive
Be a jack of all trades.
DONT be a jackass.

I’ve always thought starting a community was the hardest part.

if you seriously needed these guidelines told to you, you shouldnt be running a server.

Seriously guys. It’s not hard .

Just don’t be a dick to players, and foster a friendly environment.

Yeah it can be rather difficult but once you get a few regulars and their friends start joining them or they invite their friends b/c they like your server it gets easier.

A few tips and advice never hurts. Of course, it’s better to be in different communities for a while to learn for yourself, but not everything shows.

Getting someone to tell you how to run your community shouldn’t be what you’re looking for. Advice from other owners on what their experiences are and what they think of how to deal with it initally before you get your community up and running should be what you’re looking for. In other words, don’t follow orders from others on what to do, just take in their advice and make the right decisions for your community, and what you think is best from common sense.

Other than that, be nice to people and come down hard on those who want to ruin the fun, whoever they may be. Be active in your community, let people get to know you. A lot of people like it when (especially) the owner gets friendly with people. Makes them feel wanted.

I’ve only had a community once and that was years ago (didn’t last very long admittedly), and after spending a lot of time administrating in a few communities that’s what I’ve gathered. Others may beg to differ. I feel like I’m saying the same things as almost everyone else in this thread, so deja vu huh.

Be a cold hearted bastard based on nothing but hard facts and evidence.

Run it like a business, I say. After all, your players are essentially customers. Some give you monetary profit, others give you satisfaction and enjoyment as a form of profit. You would not be running a server if you gained nothing from people playing on it. Be polite, be fair and be prepared to be lenient and flexible. I find people are either way too lenient, causing distress amongst players, and others are way too strict, getting a kick out of the power sandbox that a server provides. Treat your admin position as a customer service role. You want to balance the interests of the server (the “business”) and that of the players (the “customer”).

What does this mean? It means taking a disruptive player aside, saying “Look, this is why I have to punish you and this is why I cannot let you off.” It’s all about levelling with the player and allowing flexibility in your punishment. A player who is angry and frustrated when you punish them ultimately wants to be a part of your server. See angry players as an opportunity. You explain to an angry player that you are punishing them for x reason but you’re willing to be lenient with the punishment due to y reason. The player will see the fairness in this, hopefully. Ultimately, Gmod’s community is made up of a lot of immature personalities who will not see the fairness, but if you treat everyone equally and fairly and do your best to retain them and be professional and mature with them, then ultimately you will see a more self-moderating and mature community spring up.

If you are known for being a harsh or unfair staff team, then your server will simply suffer for it. There are thousands of other servers, and despite what you may think, no one is really missing out by going to a different one. The only person missing out is you and by extension, your playerbase. By abusing your power, you are simply abusing yourself.

Simply having a conversation with each and every person you punish so that you both understand each other’s perspective and the situation is critical to this, but you may think this will take up too much time. An average conversation should take 4-5 minutes. If you’re taking longer, then you are not controlling the conversation effectively. Examine your conversations; you are likely allowing your punished players to lead you around in circles, not questioning them openly enough (E.G Do not yes/no questions, but rather fit as many questions into one question as you can.) or, quite often with this game’s community, getting into a torrent of abuse. If you are being verbally abused, warn the person that you’ll simply terminate the conversation with them. If they continue, then do just that. Don’t ban them longer, just ignore them, block them and move on.

If you believe you are going to spend too much time having conversations with punished players, then examine what is driving up the offences. Is there a rule you could turn into a script restriction so that players physically cannot break it? Do you have a rule which is not needed or useless? (Hint: You probably do). Joey Skylynx often talks in roleplay circles about replacing rules with game mechanics and I find this is the quickest way to cut your offender rates in half.

The important points to take away from this are:
1) Put a human face into every interaction! Nothing frustrates a player more than feeling like they are trying to put their point of view across to a robot who has already made the decision.

2) Treat every player as an asset. Unless you are on the top 10 servers of Gametracker, then you cannot afford to throw away your players just to satisfy your ego. You’ll be amazed at what good staff interaction will do for your playerbase.

3) Get your head out of your ass: No one joins your server to worship you.

4) Have a conversation with every single person you punish. Make sure that you understand their motivations for offending entirely, the situation surrounding the offence and make sure the offender understand why you are punishing them. This will make players feel valued despite their punishment and ensure you are making the correct decision (Often you are not).

5) Find out what drives offender rates and try your best to remove the ability to offend via those methods.

6) Finally, your players are not bad people for breaking you rules. Do not treat them differently; they are still people and you have to remember that you are playing a game. If you give a player an opportunity, they will take it and they cannot be blamed as a person for this. Don’t verbally abuse your players, don’t pick on your players, do NOT hold grudges on your players. Nothing gets rid of a player quicker than thinking a staff member hates them.

edit: dumb? i dont even…

staff is a bad word

its a community

not a business

but treat it like a business

“all our donations go towards our servers and the upkeeping” best shit since sliced bread

be professional and treat it like a business are the keywords to not shutting down after a month

Backups, backups, backups :v:

get your gamemode on a private git repository.
it’ll cost you a few dollars a month, but at least you can keep track of what your developers do and not be completely ruined(or have to roll back 2 months of progress) when someone formats your dedi.

besides, version control is amazing.

To be fair, at least (s)he is trying to make a right start. Yes, (s)he may need some guidelines or steering. But from this initiative you cannot blame him/her for not trying to be a good owner. I’d rather have someone ask for help, than guys who start a community without knowing how and then getting cocky about it, whom end up screwing up the entire thing because they become self-obsessed.

Mainly: Listen to the wants of your players. After all even tho it sounds cruel. You and your staff will be working for the community.