it started simply. i was in 3-4 Howard Stern groups and I noticed that they were hateful and mean and stupid and they all seemed to despise Howard – and especially his wife.
they’d complain that the show wasn’t funny anymore, that things were so much better in the old days, that the Sirius app didn’t work a lot (valid). They’d complain about the guest, the bits, the musical acts, the Wrap Up Show, Howard 101, and each other.
and when politics entered the discussion it was all out war.
so i started this Howard Stern group with a long name and i said there are two rules: no politics, and be nice.
the rules have since grown to six:
- No Politics
- No pics of poop
- No disparaging of Howard, Robin or Beth
- No fuck-marry-kill (because it’s only interesting when it’s a famous person being asked)
- No disparaging of each other
- No comments that ask women “how’s the slot?”
with over 10,000 members, not everyone liked the rules, but I told them that there are plenty of places (including other Howard groups) that allowed you to do those things, but in my opinion nothing good comes from those things.
turned out i was right.
when someone signs up to be in the group they are asked a few questions, namely
- Do you understand this is a Howard group of Howard fans, so no negative posts about Howard, Robin, or the Show, ok?
- Likewise, do you understand that there are no politics allowed in here? There are endless amounts of other groups for that.
- And finally no berating other members about their questions, insights or pieces of vinyl, right?
The vast majority of the new members are a-ok with this and say so. This also prepares them for the rules and the tone of the group. If people complain or seem wishy washy when answering those questions: they are out.
Existing members who break the rules are dealt with publicly, swiftly, and politely. Usually they will be Muted for a week on their first offense (they can’t comment or post). And banned on the second offense. If the first offense is nuts, they’re gone immediately.
So far I have either had to deny access to the group or ban 152 people.
If someone messages me with a valid excuse, I’ll bring them back to the fold but most people understand what they did and go on with their lives.
What has helped is there are about 4-5 super fans of the group who message me any time something is going wrong. Also, anyone can flag a comment or a post so if someone goes nuts it’s immediately brought to my attention and I can snuff it out.
The most active posts get between 5,000 to 8,000 eyeballs. Which is pretty great for Facebook which notoriously makes it hard for fans of something to see the thing that they signed up for.
My guess is the people who join this group really truly love Howard and check out the group every day or several times a week. They seem to have also not signed up for a lot of other groups that attract their attention. I also think that because they have to really go out of their way to get into the group (it’s not as easy as clicking a Like button), they’re invested in it.
And once they are in, and they see that all the jokers and asswipes get booted immediately (and this appears to be the only Howard group that does that) the discussions are better.
Anyway, it is the thing I am most proud of from 2018.