I’ve been a fan of the Counting Crows since about 1993 when, as I was driving through Nebraska, I happened to come across a radio station playing, you guessed it, Omaha. Tonight, after listening to a recording of a live concert that I got from another keen fan using their (rather cool, officially sanctioned) online trading network , I decided I’d check the touring schedule on their site to see if they’ll be in the UK this summer. As I was looking through the site, I came across a post by Adam Duritz , the lead singer of the Counting Crows, where he viciously complains about the message board users:
"Gee, did you ever wonder what it’s like to have a website filled with fans who love you and your work and are genuinely decent caring people? Me too. Remind me to ask my friend Mary-Louise sometime. Then I can come back here and tell you all about it. First you complain when we have the audacity to help raise a million dollars for charities here in New York because you got left out. Then you talk about what sellouts we are for letting the gap set up a FREE show so a bunch of you can see us. FOR FREE. Last, you dump all your venom and bullshit "disillusionment" philosophy on a bunch of people who are simply trying to do something nice for someone they love and admire.
I almost said people "like yourselves", but I think we all know why that would be grossly incorrect. They contacted me about writing something here on the site to see if any of you were interested, but I was afraid ML would find out if I wrote something on the front page. I suggested one of them write something on the board as it’s much more hidden. I should have known what a horrible idea that was. It’s not that you should be interested in any way necessarily. It’s not like you need to interested at all. It’s just that you’re such snotty little condescending assholes about your disinterest. Does every discussion have to turn into something where you all show off your high minded superiority to the the "dirty capitalist entertainment industry"? Don’t you ever get tired of listening to yourselves? I know I do. And you wonder why I choose not to communicate with you lately. I wonder why anyone would. I know we have a ton of nice fans because I meet so many of you after every show. Where are you? And isn’t there a Counting Assholes board out there where the rest of you can spend your time shitting all over each other."
Adam, if you need a lesson on how not to treat the online community on your site, then have a read through your post above. If you want a lesson in how to deal with problematic users, then get in touch and I’ll be happy to fly out to wherever you are and give you some tips. Man, the problems on your website are nothing! All it needs is a bit of hands on management to pigeon-hole the people you call assholes, some proactive and positive hosting to give people something of interest to discuss, and a moderation service to fairly enforce the rules. If you approach your fans with honesty, and have valid reasons for doing whatever it is they’re moaning about, your true fans will soon come to the rescue.
A little bit of thought put into the managment of your online community will go a long way. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a two way conversation with the people who matter the most to your livelihood.