Consider Comment Moderation

The dynamics behind a good discussion community can be quite tricky. People can type out a comment or even a lengthy essay of a comment, rather quickly and hit ‘publish’ while you’re still trying to think about how you’ll respond to the comments before it. If you’re planning a blog article that could potentially draw out a lot of feedback, you may want to take the time to thoroughly think about what comments might be made and how you’ll respond to them.

Sunday by mrsmarybetht, on Pix-O-SphereSome topics can be quite controversial and before you know it; your comment section can become a battlefield. Each community has different guidelines and even with those guidelines, you will need to monitor your community with wisdom.

{photo credit Marybeth}

Each type of community needs to be approached with a variety of moderation techniques. A blog’s comment section needs to be moderated differently than a Facebook group. An online forum requires different moderation guidelines than your personal social networking circle. The method in which these communities need to be moderated is somewhat different because each one has varying access to all sorts of people. While a blog’s comment section can be moderated to publish when you’re ready, a Facebook page is open 24 hours a day with no ability to moderate while you’re sleeping.

These are things you need to keep in mind before you post a wild controversial topic. How you handle the initial article or ‘status starter’ can help determine the response you might receive from your audience. You also have no way of knowing what each person has faced during their day before they come upon your article. Sometimes we present ideas, clichés, and statements that can become triggers for people on the verge of hostility as it is.

While there is no way we can accurately and efficiently predict the response we’ll get in our online communities, there are steps we can take to take our best guess and write our articles to get a good momentum started to cultivate healthy and respectful dialogue.

For a blog, you might want to consider comment moderation. In WordPress, you can set the moderation to allow comments from people you have allowed through at least twice. You can also set your blog to hold all comments and notify you by email. Some larger blogs require that you register with their site before their comments will be allowed. There are also some plug-ins you can use for WordPress and there are options for Blogger that have various settings for comment moderation. You need to decide which method of moderation will work best for your community. You can also add text near the comment section reminding them to be respectful or link to a page on your blog with your blog commenting policy.

When you have an online forum or group, you will want to establish guidelines that each member must agree to before they can participate in your online community. The larger your group grows, you may want to consider appointing officers to help moderate your community. Make sure your team is all in agreement on how to handle flare ups or abusive comments. When one of you has to discipline an abusive member, be sure to communicate that with your whole team.

On public Facebook pages where people from all over the world can come in and jump into conversations while you’re snoozing in bed for the night, may require that you ask a friend on another continent to keep an eye on things. Many online forums like Facebook or iVillage, have a report link for members to use and you’ll want to encourage them to use that if necessary. No matter what you decide, having a good plan for moderating can help you avoid social media burn out.

In what ways have you monitored your online communities?

Lisa (Sisterlisa) blogs at The HomeSpun Life and is a contributor at The Homeschool Post. She enjoys blogging, photography, and cooking. Her homeschooling family is active in their community and enjoys traveling with friends and family.

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