Thursday, June 19, 2008

Community moderation ideas

Howard Owens has a good list of tips for newsrooms on how to manage online communities.

Two I really like:
  • Make checking comments on stories, forums and other venues for reader-submitted content a routine part of your job. There’s no need for this to overwhelm your other work. Keep a browser window open to your latest story, or the RSS feed or e-mail inbox for where comments appear as they come in. Glance at it between phone calls or before you get up to get another cup of coffee. Make it a habit to periodically check.
  • Take ownership ... Ownership means you pay attention and you care. You won’t let guests trash your house or apartment, so don’t let them trash your stories. Assert your ownership on your section or your stories — readers should recognize you as the owner.

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At 6/21/08, 11:29 PM, Blogger Anthony Palmer said...

Dr. Fisher,

I think this is a good idea, but what happens if you write for a well-read publication that frequently generates hundreds of comments. Chris Cilliza's "The Fix" at WaPo is a perfect example of a community that needs to be moderated, but is perhaps unmoderatable because it generates so much traffic. So I guess having a "report abuse" button may help commenters better police themselves.

At 6/22/08, 3:56 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

I think it has to start with the report abuse button, but someone still needs to keep an eye on thing, if for no other reason than to pick up on some of those new ideas.

That's one thing newsrooms are struggling with -- how to monitor the various streams of information and conversations.

We might end up with new positions designed to do that and to deal the stuff out to the relevant positions in the newsroom. A long time ago, at KYW in Philadelphia, we had positions similar to that. We called them "inside reporter," and their job was to sit and listen to a wall of police scanners and dish out the relevant stuff to the desk (and to hit the phones immediately when something big happened).


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