Self-Isolated but Not Alone: Community Management Work in the Time of a Pandemic


As the COVID-19 crisis forces individuals to self-isolate, work from home, and find new leisure activities, an increasing number are turning to online gaming. These online communities are often developed by community managers who work to engage communities and establish norms. Community management work, broadly, is considered the “soft-skilled” labor of communication, diplomacy, and empathy within an online community. Despite an obvious need for this work in mediating the myriad of personalities and sheer number of users, community management is often underpaid and precarious. Using early interviews with community managers, conducted during the COVID-19 crisis, I aim to highlight those who work promoting pro-social behavior in leisure spaces online. This work plays a vital role in community well-being, particularly for those who have not previously interacted extensively online. Community management is arguably an essential service during times of self-isolation, as they corral toxicity and shepherd users into positive online communities.

Leisure Sciences