Facebook is currently rolling out – at least as a beta test – an “application questionaire” feature for Facebook groups. Currently, we’re only seeing it in the larger groups and it’s not yet confirmed if we will see a full roll-out.
This type of improved application system is a major win for Facebook group moderators. Its use is not mandatory and it’s something the community has requested for many years.
From your group wall/home page, click the […] menu and in the drop-down select “Manage Group”. Then in the internal left-hand menu select “Member Requests”.
If the feature is available to you, you will see a box that says, “Learn more about pending members. Review people who want to join your group by asking them some questions. You can ask up to 3 questions, and only the admins and moderators will see the answers.”
Click the “Get Started” button to be presented with the form. (If you need to revise or change your questions later, they are on the GEAR icon shown in the screenshot above.)
At this time, there is a FLAW in the implementation of the feature though it may only affect some browsers.
When a member applies to join the group, they click the request to join button and they get presented with this screen:
It’s not until they return to the group wall that they correctly get presented with this screen:
Fortunately, if they don’t find it immediately on their own, Facebook sends them a notification that looks like this:
When they click that, they are presented with a very nice looking panel:
Completed questionnaires do not have their own viewing page but instead are simply provided as supplemental information in the “Member Request” page which makes viewing and decision making easy.
While I’m not entirely happy with the questions I’m currently using in the YCDI community (which is hard-limited to 3 questions), I will share them with you to help give you some ideas.
The question and answer fields are all free form with no option for line breaks/spacing. They do not natively have numbering so if you omit adding numbers, they will not have any.
Here’s an example of a completed questionnaire (with sensitive data redacted).
It’s of utmost importance that you use questions that are relevant to YOUR group and that you think carefully about them. Don’t hesitate to tweak them as you go. It’s unlikely you’ll find the best questions on your first couple attempts. Let the responses from applicants guide your hand.
However, one key point is important for most groups… keep them as short as possible and require as little response typing as possible. Make long replies optional. Sure there will be some very rare exceptions to this but in social media keeping the workload low (and remembering that many are on mobile phone keyboards) is important.
So far, I’m thrilled by the application responses and knowing that I’ve found engaged individuals. However, I’m noting SOME individuals that, based on profile I would have admitted, are not completing the form. This is going to be the drawback. Those super busy types or non-engaging types, or “lurking” types, are sometimes good people, but if they don’t respond then you have to make decisions.
It’s important to understand that non-engaged lurkers, unfortunately, HURT a group’s reach (the edge rank calculation) and over time reducing lurkers should help the group’s reach. If you keep your application condensed enough and don’t make it require long form answers then you SHOULD still catch the best people and that sincerely is good enough.
For some groups, this now makes it possible to collect an email address or method of cross reference that ensures a person has also signed up to your email newsletter. (Using a cross-reference method such as a “code word” you give them on a page after opting in, is superior to using an email address that some people fill feel concerned at letting all your moderators see.)
TL;DR: Yay for new tools that make FB group moderation saner. Ask your applicants some questions. Get only engaged members and increase your group visibility/reach.
I sincerely hope that this feature gets a full roll out and becomes available to all groups!
~ Kim ~
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