To Moderate or Not to Moderate? That is the Question.

Post by Frank Barry - 3.13.2009 - Follow me on Twitter

I’ve got a few questions for you related to managing comments.

1. How do you handle comments that are rude, aggressive, inflammatory or misleading?
2. What is your standard operating procedure for dealing with these comments, etc.?
3. What are some best practices around managing your blogs comments?

For a nonprofit, there are many reasons to blog. A major reason is the ‘community’ nature of blogging. It’s no longer a one-way medium where an organization shouts out to anyone listening. It’s a vehicle where your volunteers, donors, customers, prospects, supporters, competition and the like can interact with you, talk to you, tell you what they think, share their opinions, tell you what they like or don’t like and sing your praises. It’s also a place where malicious people can spam you, mislead you (or other readers), post incorrect information, use inappropriate language and a whole host of other negative things.

Therein lies the dilemma, to moderate or not to moderate? Should you remove comments? Should you engage in a flame war with a commenter? There’s a lot of material out there on the Internet. A quick Google search reveals some great information.




Responsibilities of Commenters

Commenters have a responsibility to be a person of integrity and self-respect while also possessing a simple desire to treat others with respect, professionalism and love. Yep, I said love!

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts:

DO: Add value and stick to the topic at hand. The people writing the blog work hard at making it great, so work hard to help contribute and make it better - not tear it down. Enough said.

DO: Be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone else or hide your identity. That’s what we call a hypocrite.

DO: Provide a link to your blog. If you don’t have a blog leave a link to your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t use LinkedIn how about a Twitter page? Facebook page? Email? Leave something to let us know you are a real person so we can continue to interact and build a relationship with you.

DON’T: Spread rumors or non-factual or misleading information. This one is HUGE! These types of people are the ones that give blogging a bad name.

DON’T: Spam, link to inappropriate material or use inappropriate language.




Responsibilities of Bloggers

The resounding position from the blogging community is to respect freedom of speech and let comments live on. That can be scary. What’s going to be said about you and your organization? How will it look to your readers? How will others perceive what’s being said? There’s a lot to consider as a nonprofit when jumping into blogging. So make sure to have a plan in place, but don’t let it scare you away from taking the leap – its well worth it!

In my opinion, you have every right to delete a comment if a person or organization is not following the five (5) things I laid out above.

If you want to take it a step further think about a commenting policy. Here’s a pretty simple one (see bottom of post)


For those of you already blogging please let me know your thoughts
  • How do you handle comments that are rude, aggressive, inflammatory or misleading? 
  • What is your standard operating procedure for dealing with these comments, etc.? 
  • What are some best practices around managing your blogs comments?


Photo credit: Paul Keleher



Editor’s Note:

NetWits Think Tank’s general policy is to let comments stand. You would have to push well outside the boundaries Frank described above for us to limit the conversation. So be you, add value and join the conversation!

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