Community Central
Community Central

Throughout my career at Fandom, I’ve been privileged to work with a lot of passionate Community Managers and other community professionals. These are people who truly care about and want to support the community here at Fandom, a community that’s pretty special. There’s many different kinds of communities online – some are professional networks, some are SaaS (Software as a Service) customer communities, some are brand ecosystems, some are forums or chat rooms, and more. But here at Fandom, we have the awesome opportunity to work directly with people like all of you who are often experts in games, shows, movies, and more, and who in turn are also dedicated to building and nurturing communities based around shared interests.

One of my jobs, as the leader of the Community team, is to make sure that the Community team is set up to support the community and its needs in the most effective way possible. So since last year, the team and I have been working together to assess what we’ve been doing well, where we could improve, and what we need to do in order to make sure we’re working on behalf of the community as effectively as possible—including how we work with other teams within Fandom to make sure that the community is being represented as well as possible.

For today’s Staff Blog, I wanted to continue the conversation we started over the last few weeks – starting with the difficult decision to end the Wiki Representative program and the new opportunities that our new Community Managers will have now that they’re working full-time within the Community team. The next step of the conversation, and what brings us here today, is to give you an overview of the entire Community team, so you know where those new Community Managers fit into the overall work that the Community team does.

We’ll go into even more detail at Community Connect in a few weeks, but for now let’s take a look at the Community team and what it does.

What is the Community team?[]

Steve Buscemi in a scene from the television series 30 Rock saying “How do you do, fellow kids?”

Me right now.

At the risk of sounding very “how do you do, fellow kids?,” one of the best ways I could explain what the purpose of a Community team is—in general, not just at Fandom, since Community teams exist throughout the online industry—is to think of it like the hosts of a party. Our job is to make sure people have a good time, feel safe, and want to come back next time.

Typical community teams strive to keep things fun and welcoming. They help out and answer questions, they help resolve problems, they hear feedback, and they keep an eye out for troublemakers looking to ruin the fun for other people.

It’s no different at Fandom.

Our platform is a community of many communities, and we want to make sure everyone feels welcomed and supported within that—whether you’re here to write about superheroes, dive deep into the lore or mechanics of a video game, or tinker with templates and coding, among the many other things you can do on Fandom. As a Community team, we listen closely to what the community needs, and we collect that feedback and pass on ideas and suggestions to make Fandom even better for you.

The community is the heart of this big party we’re all throwing together, and at the end of the day we want to help make sure it keeps being a fun, safe, and exciting place for you all to do what you love and for fans to find what they’re looking for.

What We Looked At in 2023[]

I mentioned that, since last year, we had been taking a look at how we can best make sure that we’re working as efficiently as possible on behalf of what the community needs and providing you that great experience you’re looking for. 2023 faced a lot of challenges too; it was a time of economic uncertainty, softness in the ad market, a number of new changes to the platform, and a period that saw a number of high-profile wikis fork from the platform.

Obviously, there’s factors that go into that outside of the Community team’s direct control—a Community team can’t control the economy, and the impact of ads on the user experience is one of if not the biggest pain point the community feels right now—but that doesn’t mean we’d want to throw up our hands and say “we’re perfect!” So we took a look at some of the challenges we as a Community team felt that we were facing, and what we could do about that.

These are some of the core challenges we took a look at that are within our team’s control:

  1. Focuses on gaming and entertainment could be better aligned. Our main, but not only, focuses within the Community team are on gaming (inclusive of all types of gaming) and entertainment (inclusive of movies, TV, streaming, and anime), but efforts within those were spread across multiple different sub-teams within Community. Some of those sub-teams focused on community management, and others focused on community partnership efforts—like Official Wikis within gaming. So we wondered, if all gaming Community team members aren’t sitting together and all entertainment Community team members aren’t sitting together, are we missing out on better alignment and more effective ways of working together?
  2. We could do more with partnerships, including transparency. We’ve been building new Official Wikis in gaming for two years now, but one of the things we’ve found is that this wasn’t well known within the community. So we started to ask ourselves, what more can we do to grow that program (including its awareness) and can we start to bring that same focus to entertainment? And what more can we do to improve upon how we support sales partnerships? That’s another area that our team has worked on for years, but isn’t well known within the community.
  3. We could be better aligned with Fandom’s Product team. You may have noticed that Fandom’s been a lot busier on the Product front over the last year. There’s a lot of exciting opportunities that go along with that—such as last year’s focus on successfully reversing the decline in new and active editors. But there’s a lot of Product focuses beyond that effort, and over the last year we’ve developed a pretty dynamic Product focus based around constant experimentation to see what works and productizing what’s successful. But as we looked at how the Community team, which is a vital part of those Product efforts, was set up, one thing that became pretty clear was that we were still set up for supporting larger, platform-wide, all-hands-on-deck projects like the UCP and FandomDesktop. So we figured, is there a way we can set ourselves up to adapt to this new Product set up?
  4. Our communication around Product efforts could be stronger. This is directly connected to the last point – we had to challenge ourselves and ask, how can we improve our communication around Product? People working on communication, whether that was via Staff Blogs or the Fandom Discord or direct outreach from Wiki Reps or Community Managers, were all doing a great job on their own, but we had to take a harder look at whether we as a team had the right structure to make sure anyone involved in communicating Fandom updates was getting the right information and that the community had the right opportunities to give feedback.

So after the last several months, we’ve been working on turning those challenges into opportunities. Most of what we’ve been working on are things you haven’t seen, but now that you know some of the backstory, including what we previously talked about with the limitations of our contract-based set up with the Wiki Rep program, let’s take a look at what our teams look like now and how they’re operating.

Meet the Team[]

Community Partnerships[]

Our Community Partnerships team was born out of combining our now-former Community Activations team and a number of team members from what had been known as the Community Experience team. Community Partnerships, as a combined team, is focused on the essential task of managing relationships with a wide variety of communities on the platform. In addition to community relationship management, we’re also focused on adding additional value to the editor experience through collaborations with external partners like game developers, streaming services, and film studios—all IP holders making the great content that Fandom wikis are all about.

The Community Partnerships team is led by Brian Linder, who is our Director of Community Partnerships. The team is made up of two vertical sub-teams, one for gaming and one for entertainment, as well as a pod that supports sales partnership efforts.

  • Community Gaming and Community Entertainment. These two vertical teams are made up of a few key roles. Each one has a number of Community Managers, including the ones we introduced you to a couple of weeks ago. These are individuals many of you may be familiar with, who work closely with wikis across the platform on a daily basis and whose entire role is supporting editors and maintaining community relationships. These vertical teams also have dedicated Community Partnerships Managers who work with external partners on Official WIki partnerships and, as a growing focus, to bring new benefits to the community in the form of assets, access, or other valuable perks. These are provided by the partner in exchange for supporting editors and readers with a top-tier wiki that builds even more awareness of their property. These are all partnerships and benefits that are done on an in-kind basis, meaning money generally is not involved in them, and will also be supported by our Community Managers who will work directly with wiki communities to hear how a partnership might best support their needs.
    • The Community Gaming team is led by Ran, who has worked on our gaming partnerships team for the last two years and was just promoted to Manager of Community Partnerships, Gaming. The team includes Jieyang as Senior Community Manager (with an increasingly active role in partnership management), Kurt, and Lucas as Community Managers, and Tots who is our Community Partnerships Manager for Gaming (he has a particular emphasis on building new Official Wikis for indie gaming) and manages our Gaming Wiki Specialists.
    • The Community Entertainment team is led by Mandy, who has been with us for five years as Senior Community Manager and was just promoted to Manager of Community Partnerships, Entertainment. The team includes Chris and Miller as Community Managers, and Mike who was just promoted to Community Partnerships Manager for Entertainment and manages our Entertainment Wiki Specialists.
  • Sales Support is a long-standing but now more-formalized pod within Community Partnerships. This sub-team is dedicated to engaging with the community and advertising partners to build fun initiatives on the platform that drive awareness of upcoming releases through sold campaigns. The goal of the team, first and foremost, is making sure that whatever we do is aligned with the community and enhances it in some way – all with the buy-in of the community. By working with communities on pre-approvals, and letting ad partners know what’s doable and possible with community buy-in. These campaigns also often come with additional opportunities to recognize and thank active wiki admins with extra-valuable partner-provided rewards.
    • The Sales Support team includes Shawn, who focuses on high-quality implementation of community campaigns; and Elsa, who was recently promoted to Senior Community Manager and who will focus a lot on transparency and communication around pre-approvals.

By organizing the team in this new way, we aim to solve for Challenges #1 and #2 from the “What We Looked at in 2023” section. In doing so, we bring together our gaming and entertainment team members into specific teams with shared goals, we’re growing our focus on in-kind partnerships that connect communities with partners, and we bring more of a heightened emphasis on pre-approvals with added transparency around our sales efforts in ways that should hopefully also benefit the community.

As part of that partnership focus, we’ll have our April Community Partnerships blog that talks about the entertainment partnerships program and how we hope to replicate a lot of the successes we’ve seen in gaming with entertainment partners. You’ll see that soon.

Community Trust, Safety, and Product Support[]

Similarly to Community Partnerships, our new Community Trust, Safety, and Product Support team—or “TSP” as we call it, since it’s quite a long name!—was born out of a merger of our Community Trust and Safety team and members of our Community Experience team. Where Community Partnerships focuses on how a community’s relationship with Fandom Staff can best support them, Community TSP is about helping to ensure that the Fandom platform works as well as possible for the community through input and feedback on product initiatives and making sure that policy and moderation effectively supports the safety of the community.

The team is led by Tim Quievryn, our Director of Community Trust, Safety, and Product Support. The team is made up of two sub-teams, Product Support and Trust and Safety.

  • Product Support is dedicated to building a direct and mutually beneficial connection between our community and our Product teams that build and improve features on the platform. While Community has, for years, served as a liaison for feedback, testing, and feature announcements, formalizing this into one clear organization with those roles as its specific focus aims to solve Challenges #3 and #4 in the "What We Looked At in 2023" section to align ourselves with a dynamic Product team strategy. We kicked these efforts off in earnest toward the end of 2023 and are already seeing promising results that are starting to bring more information in front of users quicker, and that has embedded our team members directly into the planning and development process of our Product teams. Beyond this blog, you can find summaries of platform updates in our bi-weekly Technical Update blogs. You can also apply to join our Fandom Stars program, which includes early opportunities to participate in the feedback and experimentation process. And with our Community Partnerships team now working in full swing, we’ll be able to connect the Product Support team and our vertical teams together to make sure that information is being shared effectively between them so communities that our Community Managers work with are as informed as possible whether or not they read Technical Updates or join programs like Fandom Stars.
    • Our Product Support team is led by Antonio, who was recently promoted to Product Support Lead. The team includes Héctor and Jenny who, along with Antonio and Tim, work directly with our Product teams; and JP who manages our Fandom Stars program. Lady Lostris, who was a member of the Wiki Rep program, also continues to work with us on our Product Support team.
  • Trust and Safety is more or less the same as it was prior to the addition of Product Support. Trust and Safety focuses on user safety on the platform by working to prevent harassment,, bullying, or other bad behavior from users who aren’t operating in good faith. A big reason why it’s staying the same is because it’s working pretty well – we’ve been able to stay on top of JavaScript reviews and image reviews across the platform, and our Admin Plus program that rolled out in 2022 has over 1,500 certifications awarded so far. You can also check out our 2023 Transparency Report to see all of the steps this team took in 2023 to keep the platform a safe and vibrant place to participate.
    • Our Trust and Safety team includes Sannse, our longest-serving Fandom Staff member; and Dylan, who focuses on moderation and support for our News and Ratings brands, like GameFAQs.

We’ll also have more deep dives into how the team, particularly Product Support, works soon so be on the lookout for those.

Team Org Chart[]

For those who would prefer visuals to understand how the Community team is set up, as well as anyone who may want to see the general structure laid out in a clear way, here’s an org chart that shows the Community team set up:

Community Team Org Chart April 2024

The Community Team org chart as of April 2024.

Where Customer Support Fits In[]

Another team you may be well-familiar with is Customer Support, made up of Fandom Staff staples like Kirkburn and Kimberton. These are the dedicated staff members who work tirelessly on answering tickets that come through Zendesk, or “Special:Contact” as many of you know it. You’ll see them answering anything from bug reports to technical questions to user disputes to wiki name or url change requests, and more.

The reason they have their own section here is because they’re actually not part of the Community team anymore, though they continue to work hand-in-hand with the Community team. They are now part of their own dedicated team, and have merged with the Customer Support team that supported Fanatical, our gaming retail platform, so they answer Fanatical customer tickets in addition to wiki tickets. Dylan from the Community TSP team also works closely with Customer Support to answer tickets that come in from GameFAQs as well as other News and Ratings brands like GameSpot, Metacritic, and TV Guide. The team of Kirkburn and Kimberton are led by Steve, who has been with Fanatical Customer Support for many years and also now works on Fandom wiki tickets.

Final Thoughts[]

I just threw a lot of information at you, but hopefully that’s a good first stab at explaining the new structure and how everyone fits into it. We have a few upcoming opportunities for where we’ll dive into this even more, and answer a number of your questions:

  • Community Team AMA. We’re going to be holding a Community Team AMA on the Fandom Discord on Friday, April 12th at 11am Eastern / 8am Pacific with Brian, Tim, and me where we’ll spend an hour answering some of the questions you may have about this new structure and what we’re working on. We’re also looking at following this up with additional AMAs with some key Community team members so you can learn even more about what we do as a team.
  • Community Connect. On Monday, April 29th, the first day of programming at Connect, we’re going to spend most of the morning diving deeper into how the Community team works, introducing some of our key leaders like Antonio, Mandy, and Ran, and putting special emphasis on community management, partnerships, and product support efforts so attendees (both in-person and virtual) can hear from us directly (literally directly, our voices and faces and everything!) about these changes and how we’re operating.
  • Points of contact. Our new Community Managers spent their first full week, which was last week, starting to get up to speed on working full-time at Fandom. Over the next few weeks, we'll be finalizing which wikis they'll be assigned to and will be able to reach out to wikis about where they can get support after that. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through this part of the transition.

In the meantime, I’m happy to spend some time in the comments answering any questions – and I’m sure it won’t be long until I get some pings on the Fandom Stars Discord. So let me know if there’s anything I can answer or clarify. Looking forward to chatting more!

Fandom Staff
Hey I'm Brandon, VP of Community at Fandom.
I'm a huge fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel.
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