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People Appreciate Moderated Facebook Groups

love-communityHere’s a small collection of comments from  members of my beloved opera group. I’ve discussed the management of that community in detail in two previous posts: The Value of Curated Content on Facebook, and Administering a Gated Community on Facebook.

The members of Met Opera Live in HD Fans Facebook group give me a few reasons to make a group really great:

So happy to think of spending the afternoon with my favorite group at my favorite activity! Do you know I have mostly given up going to the movies and mostly watching TV because nothing compares to Met Live in HD? I’d rather be reading or going to the opera with my 7000 buds!

I think this list has gotten me through this past year. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The wonderful insights from folks re singers and performances are so delightful.

Thank you for reasonable administration and for setting out the ground rules clearly.

Thanks for all your hard work, Ann and administrators.

Thank you immensely for establishing the ground rules for this exceptional group.

Your hard work and sensible rules are what have made this such a wonderful, enjoyable group. Bravo, tutti!

Thanks so much for doing this. What an interesting and informative group!!

Thank you for help making this group possible! You guys ROCK!

Many thanks for establishing this page.

Thank you for this and for the recent doubling down on the group’s focus and curtailing off-topic posts. It has helped tremendously.

Very appreciative to be added to this group. Thank you.

Thank you for having me. I look forward to sharing the joy of opera. Pretty much a newcomer to your group, I thoroughly enjoy every last one of you. Thanks for putting out the “welcome mat.”

This page is an invaluable source for me; in helping to accomplishing my goals. Thank you.

Thanks to all you Admins!! This is one of the best run groups I’ve seen on FB.

This is a most wonderful group of interested and informed opera lovers and I love being part of the daily conversations that enrich my love of opera. Thanks for your founding of this forum and group of opera fans!

Thank you…Thank you…Thank you..for my opera lifeline.

Congratulations and well done – I really love this group!

Thank you everyone! This is a wonderful group to be a part of.

Grateful you took the plunge! Love this group.

Thanks to Ann and all the volunteers and fellow members who make this group so fantastic. Listening to Lucia di Lammermoor on BBC Radio 3 which I wouldn’t have known about it not for this group.

Having fallen in love with opera when I was fifteen….(and now am 90)…I must be among the oldest opera “buffs” in our wonderful group! I have been a member of Met Opera Live in HD Fans for about two years, and never miss a single observation or conversation on Facebook… I may not always agree with some opinions, but my horizons are broadened by them and I am still learning about this fascinating art form. I personally thank you and your partners Ann, for opening this window to hundreds of 15 year-olds who, without you, might never even wonder what “opera” is all about.

I love this group. Thank you 😉

Thank you for inviting me to join in. I have been enlightened, Entertained ,educated and appreciate the dialogue! Congratulations!

Thank you, Ann. This is a wonderful group and you all mean a great deal to me. I joined in 2012-ish and was so happy to discover a group of fans with whom I could share my renewed passion for opera. I’ve met a few folks here and formed solid friendships, and gained insight into opera that I otherwise would not have. Happy dance!

This is my favorite group of people.

Thank you so much for creating this group.

Simply incredible accomplishment Ann Caldwell Adair!! Well done!

I’m thankful for your creative vision. It’s enjoyable and very informative

Thanks everyone… It is a joy and an honor to be able to participate!!!!

I can’t remember when I joined but enjoyed it from the start!

Thank you so much dear Ann, and all of the wonderful administrators!!! You are all so wonderful and much appreciated, and the enthusiasm of this group is contagious!!

Thanks and congratulations, Ann. You are to be commended for your diligence in forming and administering this fabulous group. I look forward every day to reading the posts — the best way to keep up with the opera world. Bravo tutti to you and all of the administrators that keep this group on the right path. You are the best!

I joined here two years ago, in the Spring of 2014 , and it is one of the best things that ever happened to me! This group is and will always be my favorite of Facebook. I have met and gained many wonderful friends in these two wonderful years of being a member of this extraordinadry group. I enjoyed and keep enjoying all wonderful comments… we all agreed in many things and we also disagreed in many others and that is the magic of this group, we can all discuss, learn and have different ideas or opinions, whatever if is about our favorite (or less favorite) Opera singers, favorite conductors, stagings, performances, etc, etc… we always had so many interesting conversations! This group is so rich!!! We all have different minds, likes, we all are from different places, we all are so diverse BUT what gathered us here together is our love for our favorite art form, THE OPERA, and thanks to the Live in HD from the MET. Thank you, Ann Caldwell Adair, Pastor S. Blake Duncan, Nigel Gallimore, Kathleen Crisp, Ariadne Sophia Auf Naxos and Theresa McCarty for the wonderful , excellent work as administrators!!! This group is a TREASURE!!!!! <3 Congratulations!!!!! BRAVI TUTTI!!!!!!

Congratulations, Ann. This is an important group.

It’s great to be a member, Ann. People like you make this world of ours a much more pleasant place! Thank you.

My FB fav. Congratulations to all, but especially Ann for such a great achievement. Also love that this is a knowledgeable and civil group.

Love this group and all the comments and fascinating information that gets shared. Thanks for your insight in creating this group, Ann.

Thanks for all the work and time you’ve put into this very enjoyable group.

Thank you dearest Ann Caldwell Adair and all the administrators Pastor S. Blake Duncan, Nigel Gallimore, Kathleen Crisp, Ariadne Sophia Auf Naxos great job! I love this wonderful group. I learned so much here, there are so many people around the world willing to share their knowledge of the Opera, many thanks and continue to enjoy.

Thank you for such a great job. LOVE being part of this group. All best wishes.


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Administering a Gated Community on Facebook

This is a bit of an update on my post about The Value of Curated Content on Facebook, which you should probably read first.

To recap, I’m the founder/creator of a Facebook group called Met Opera Live in HD Fans. It’s an international group of fans of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series which is transmitted live to over 2000 movie screens in over 70 countries. The Facebook group is public so anyone can read the posts and comments, but you must join the group to participate in the discussions.

Since my previous article from October of 2014, the group has tripled to nearly 7500 members. I’ve added 3 administrators for a total of 5. They help with a wide variety of tasks, especially membership.

We verify each new member. Why?

  1. Nearly eliminates SPAM.
  2. Helps keep content focused.
  3. Helps to identify any VIPs joining the group.

How do we do this?

  1. Facebook users wishing to join the group must do this themselves by visiting the group page and clicking on the “Join Group” button. We do not approve members who were added by someone else. We’ve had instances where a well-meaning friend added 20+ of their friends to the group. We did not approve them. 99% did not even like opera and I’m fairly certain they  would’ve been angry to start getting a fair number of opera posts in their Facebook feeds. The group has a high volume of activity especially around live transmission dates. It can be overwhelming even for people who love opera. When an unsuspecting soul has been added, they usually add to the high volume with posts like “How do I leave this group?” “Why am I here?” and other similar posts that compound the problem.
  2. We verify that they are a real person by examining their public Facebook profile. If the page is on the tightest security lockdown and we can’t see anything, we may likely deny membership. Sometimes they will request to join again and we will try to engage them in a private message conversation before admitting them. Here are some things we look for:
    • Does the name look legitimate?
    • Do they have a real picture on their profile?
    • Do they have friends?
    • When did they join Facebook?
  3. We verify that they are actually an opera fan by looking at their Facebook profile. We look for signs of opera and classical music in a few places.
    • Work – Are they a musician/performer/teacher?
    • Groups – Do they belong to other opera-related groups?
    • Likes – Do they like opera companies, composers, singers, etc?
    • Checkins – Have they checked in to a performing arts venue?
    • Public photos/posts/comments – Are they arts-related?
  4. Some signs that they are fake accounts/spammers/or trouble.
    • Majority of public posts are cause/political/military related.
    • No friends.
    • Joined Facebook recently.
    • Facebook name is suspicious.
    • Absence of a profile photo.
    • Belongs to more than 50 groups.
    • Belongs to many groups beginning with the letters “Met” that are completely unrelated.
    • Anything that looks suspicious.

As an admin group, we have looked at thousands upon thousands of profiles and get it right 99.9% of the time. When the rare spammer gets through the gates, they usually post right away, multiple times, and one of our admins removes it and bans them almost immediately.

Once we have determined that an applicant should be admitted, we send a private Facebook message that looks something like this:

“Welcome to the Met Opera Live in HD Facebook Group. Please read the “Pinned Post” at the top of the page and “Like” it once you’ve read it. I hope you enjoy our community! — Met Opera Live in HD Fans Admin Team

This is an imperfect system because many people do not see Message Requests from people they don’t know, so they miss this welcome message. We have started tagging them in comments attached to the pinned post so they will read it. This seems to be having a positive effect.

We need new members to read the pinned post to understand how the group operates and our community standards. This is what the current pinned post looks like:

Welcome Letter – Revised January 5, 2016
Please read this entire document and click “like” once you’ve done so. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Met Opera Live in HD Fans group. I highly recommend reading through a few days of posts to get a feel for the group before posting. The cultivation of this group has been a labor of love for many years. My hope is that you find a respectful, spirited, curious, knowledgeable, and interesting community.

Ann Caldwell Adair, Fearless Leader and Founder
Kathleen Crisp, Pastor S. Blake Duncan, Nigel Gallimore, Theresa McCarty, and Ariadne Sophia Auf Naxos (on leave)
We reserve the right to remove comments, posts, or members that are inappropriate.

– Be kind and respectful of other members and the Admins at all times.
– Comments and posts should be constructive.
– Include commentary with links and photos or risk removal.
– Duplicate and unrelated posts will be removed.
– Vulgar, political, sexual, and religious posts will be removed.
– Posts should be written in proper English.
– Problems? Message the Admin Team. We are very quick to respond.

Behavior that will result in removal and possibly banishment includes, but is not limited to:

– Repeated posting of unrelated or offensive material.
– Name-calling.
– Illegal activity.
– Inflammatory behavior.
– Deliberately picking a fight.

Please check out the events tab for the current HD transmissions and other events.

– If you like to play-by-play opera conversations, you will want to check out the new group Sirius Opera Fans at

This pinned post is extremely helpful with maintaining community standards and making determinations when a post or user must be removed.

Another huge help with all of this is our Secret Admins Facebook Group. It has been an invaluable tool in being able to discuss problems, train new admins, maintain a unified front (like parents!), and keeping an informal record of repeat offenders.

The end result of all of this work is to have an active, content-rich community that adds to people’s lives in a positive way.

I think our members would agree that we’ve succeeded.

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The Value of Curated Content on Facebook

“Ann, thank you so much for making this happen! This group is one of the highlights of my online experience.”

The value of curated content is having users feel like this, over and over again! How do you get to that point? Well, let me tell you my story…

I am passionate about opera. Not just any opera, either. I’m passionate about the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series. These are live transmissions from the Met to theaters all over the world. It’s a uniquely shared experience for opera lovers.

Sometimes, I have friends accompany me to our local events, but most of the time I’m flying solo. I thought it would be great fun to talk with other fans after the events, so I set up  Facebook group a few years ago. I didn’t advertise it, but put some important keywords in the name so people who were interested could find it. I called it “Met Opera Live in HD Fans.” It was simple and had the important key elements in it. A critical part of this was setting the group so only Members could post, but everything could be read publicly. Everyone who wants to join must be approved by me.


How do I determine who gets to join? Well, my goal is not to have some special ivory tower of opera worship, but to share and learn about opera. It’s a real community of experts, casual fans, novices, and assorted other types of interested people. If I can’t determine from a quick glance at the person’s Facebook page that they are a real person and interested in opera, I send them this private message:

“I’m the admin for the Met Opera Live in HD fans FB group. I always screen potential members. Why do you want to join our group? What is your favorite opera? I look forward to your response. Thank you.”

After that, it’s just really up to me to say yes. I try to say yes to everyone who is a real person. This membership gate is primarily to keep out spammers and trolls. If any problems in the group occur from a new member, I give them a warning, then ban them on the next offense. Since it’s my group, I get to make those decisions.

The simple action of keeping out spammers and only allowing people in who are obviously opera lovers or are interested enough to answer my screening question has kept the quality of members very high. When new people find our group and are able to read the posts publicly without joining, they can decide whether or not to pursue membership or be an anonymous public consumer.

Once we reached 1500 members, I appointed 2 of my very active and trusted members to admin status to help screen new members and keep an eye on things. This has helped tremendously with the speed of approval.

Administering a Gated Community on Facebook

The group recently passed the 2500 member mark and I felt it was time to have some official group rules to maintain the high standards.  Group Rules and Welcome Letter

The success of this group has far exceeded my expectations! It’s always nice to see messages of thanks from the members on a regular basis. I’ll close with a sampling of those. Thank you!

“The delight and enthusiasm of this group is a breath of fresh air. Thank you all for sharing.”

Ann, thanks for taking the time to spell out the rules. I really appreciate you organizing this group. It’s not an easy task, especially when the group gets large and when issues with some political aspects arise. I have a Local FB corgi group, which is so much easier to run because it’s mainly just pics and likes acknowledging the cuteness of our fur babies. But even then, there a rare issues which require intervention on my behalf. 

Kudos to you. And let me know when you come to the SF area so I can thank you with a dinner.