How To

Detoxify Your Website

Cleanse your site’s colon and keep your sanity.

The following are my speaker notes for WordCamp Minneapolis 2015. The slides are up at

There Are Many Kinds of Toxic People There Are Many Kinds of Toxic People

  • The hater
  • The know-it-all
  • The concern troll
  • The Pilkunnussija

When your site gets popular, you get a diverse group of regulars. Not all are created equal. There’s the hater who hates you all, the one who knows everything, the one who CLAIMS to want to help but really derails you on small things, and then… Well you can google that last one, but the short version is the one who says “you spelled it T E H” in the middle of a passionate discussion about the next season of Sherlock, and Oh my GOD did that really matter?

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You Dread Your Own Site You Dread Your Own Site

Where Did The Fun Go? Where Did The Fun Go?

You used to love your site, seeing the comments, checking out what the new people had to say. And now, thanks to those other people, those toxic people, you hate your own site and you’re pretty sure the community is going dark and twisted and you know what it’s time for?

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Cleanse Your Colon Cleanse Your Colon

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Keep your Community Healthy Keep your Community Healthy

It’s time to give things a scrub. There are only four steps to being able to survive a successful blog cleanse. If you’ve ever tried those cleanse drinks, you’ll know that it’s not easy to make it through, but you can do this. Just … don’t Google Image search ‘colon cleanse’ please. I regret that.

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Step One Step One

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Forget the First Amendment Forget the First Amendment

You know the one. The one people always throw out at you, that they have the “right” to say what they want? They don’t. They just don’t. They can shut up now. The site is yours, you bought the domain, you pay for the hosting. The First Amendment has never had any bearing on our blogs so don’t be afraid to delete comments.

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Step Two Step Two

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Be Consistent Be Consistent

If you’re going to clean your site and make sure it’s what you want to be and do and work on, then you need to make your rules and stick by them. If a rule is “no talking about George Clooney’s personal life” then you have to be strict. Keep it solid and don’t waver, not even for yourself.

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Step Three Step Three

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Arm Yourself Arm Yourself

WordPress has some built in tools that most people use when thinking about spam, but what if I told you to use Comment Moderation on their key phrases. What if you took the people who slammed you and attacked you and put their emails in the block list? Done. Get them out of your life.

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Step Four Step Four

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Trust Yourself Trust Yourself

If you get that feeling, that gut feeling that says “This is about to go wrong” then you need to believe yourself. Trust yourself. Have faith that you know the vibe of the site you’ve been working on all this time.

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WordPress Tips WordPress Tips

  • Use the Comment Moderation and Comment Blacklist
  • Use plugins like Comment Probation to monitor new people
  • Watch their IPs

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Outside WordPress Outside WordPress

  • Block them from your email
  • Use Twitter and Facebook’s block functions

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Don’t Give Up Don’t Give Up

I’ve been wrangling communities online for a long time. I’ve faced burnout and exhaustion and pain. But I’m not alone. I have the other communities like mine to lean on. I have fellow forum mods to ask for backup. I have friends who tell me I’m going too far.

Don’t give up. You’re not alone.

One reply on “Detoxify Your Website”

Fantastic Article! Completely agree. Free speech does not equate to the right to crap all over my site. Bu-bye.

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