If we say as a ballpark figure that the global online community now represents 1.2 billion people, we can understand just how much data is being shared across the world every single minute. It’s a mind blowing amount, and with people looking at your online content for generating traffic, adding comments and sharing information it’s obvious why you need to be aware and very much on top of content moderation.
Content Moderation For Your Business
This type of content moderation means that users who comment on your site are put in a queue to give you time to check the content before you agree it can go online. This way of checking means that you decide what goes up online and gives you the chance to check for libelous or inappropriate comments, or comments that are detrimental to you or your business.
The downside to pre-moderation is that the user doesn’t have instant gratification of seeing their comments online. It can sometimes put people off commenting at all, as they want that instantaneous reaction that you would get if you were commenting on a forum. It can cause jilted discussion due to the delay time of responses and has been described by some as the death of online communities. The types of people who use this type of content moderation tend to be those dealing with particularly high risk groups –dealing with children, where protection is vital, or celebrity-based sites where the risk of libel is high.
For an average business this type of content moderation to protect your online image or brand maybe a little too extreme and would put people off joining in discussion altogether.
Rather than queuing all comments before they appear online, this is far better for real-time conversation and far more pleasing to your followers. Discussion appears in real-time, therefore giving the opportunity for better debate, and users feel that they are not being monitored so tightly. This type of content moderation allows all comments to appear online, but they are still put in a queue for you to check, modify or remove. Depending on the volume of traffic you receive this is often the preferential way of moderation, but if the traffic is particularly high you may come up against a cost/time issue. Spending all your time looking through content can be a drain on resources and you may need to look into other alternatives.
Reactive moderation
This type of content moderation depends very much on your followers and the online community. They are the ones who flag up any content that is in breach of house rules, or deemed inappropriate or offensive. You can use this type of moderation along with the first two suggestions, but more commonly it is used on its own.
Essentially each comment will have a “report” button beside it, or some other alternative, which members can click on if they take issue with a certain piece of user-generated content. This in turn generates an alert for the administrators or moderation team who can then decide what to do with the comment.
The advantage of this particular type of moderation is that of the cost scale. It will save on time and money for your company as you are relying more on those who are actively engaging with the site. You must still remain vigilant however that if anything defamatory is posted online that you have a duty to remove it within a certain timeframe. Companies who are particularly concerned about their brand and how it is viewed may prefer to take more precautions as to what appears on their site first time around and may instead take the first two options of content moderation.
Distributed moderation
This is a much lesser used kind of content moderation system which relies very much on a rating system used by members of the online community to vote whether or not comments are in line with rules and expectations. The control therefore lies within the forum itself, but with guidance from experienced senior moderators.
Handing over responsibility to the community to self-moderate is something that very few companies are willing to do, for legal and branding issues.
Automated moderation
Rather than relying on humans to take the responsibility for content, automated moderation is a valuable tool for moderators. It consists of unleashing various technical tools to process UGC (user generated content) and applying defined rules to reject or approve submissions.
Word filters are common in this type of content, where a list of banned words is entered and the tool will seek these words out, and replace it or block the message altogether.
No moderation
The last suggestion and by no means the best is that of having no moderation whatsoever. This may be because you are such a small group that you feel you don’t have the resources for moderation, or you may feel you creep in under the radar. But the bottom line is that without moderation the likelihood is that things will spiral towards anarchy, which is no good for you, or for your business. Moderation is a must.