Today is community manager appreciation day so we managed to track Spiceworks’ own community manager Nicholas Tolstoshev down for a quick interview. Nic does a great job ensuring the community is up working and me and Scott aren’t fighting too much.
- To start us off can you give us a quick overview of who you are and how you ended up working at Spiceworks as the community manager?
The details of my life are quite inconsequential… very well, where do I begin? My first job as a community manager was at Intuit on their QuickBooks community. I started at Intuit in tech support, but then when a position opened up on their community team I jumped at it. Most of my career prior to that was spent as a sysadmin at SMBs, which combined my interests of people and technology. I had majored in both CS and psychology in college – I didn’t want a job that only fulfilled one of those interests. Being a code monkey was too isolated, and doing clinical or research psych wasn’t technical enough. Turns out that community manager for an IT community was the perfect marriage. I should have seen the clues earlier in my life (hindsight is 20/20, right? In high school I had interned at the National Institutes of Health. It was there that I got my first Unix account with email and Usenet access. When I wasn’t writing AWK scripts or playing Nethack, I spent all my time in the Usenet groups.
- What’s a typical day like for you as the Spiceworks community manager and what tools help you get though it?
I come in every morning to a full inbox which I empty (I earned my zero inbox merit badge! http://www.nerdmeritbadges.com/products/inbox-zero) Once I’ve cleared that out, read all the discussions I’m keeping track of, answered all user inquiries and requests from my coworkers, I update my daily to-do list (go GTD!) The rest of my day will either include some meetings with Tabrez & the community dev team, working on projects such as interviews, contests, planning new community features, and keeping track of SpiceRex. Then I’ll write answers to interview requests (good lord, will the questions never end? At the end of the day I do my daily moderation, which includes reviewing all the new topics for the day, the new profile pictures uploaded (we get some interesting ones) and all the posts by rule-following challenged. In between all that I manage to squeeze in some time in the IRC.
- Every job has it’s challenges, what ways does the community challenge you?
Two major ways: Spammers (or anyone who wants to abuse the community for their own benefit), and dealing with flamewars. Both of those can make it hard for me to keep my cool, as I’m passionate about protecting the community for the benefit of the greater good. I have to remind myself to not misattribute the intentions of everyone involved. 99% of the time there is no bad intention, just ignorance of the rules. Mostly I have to educate people rather than scold them.