Community Moderation; best practice


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The slides from the second Digital Leap breakfast seminar, on community moderation best practice.

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Community Moderation; best practice

  1. 1. Beth Granter – Digital Leap Date 28 October 2009 Online Community Mediation Training
  2. 2. Ecology
  3. 3. Ecology <ul><li>Large generic networks have critical mass </li></ul><ul><li>flocking effect </li></ul><ul><li>safety in numbers </li></ul><ul><li>but may not satisfy everyone's needs </li></ul>
  4. 4. Ecology © Dorling Kindersley <ul><li>Smaller niche networks offer niche resources and environments e.g. privacy, anonymity, shared interest, tight dependencies, but are vulnerable due to low population </li></ul><ul><li>Plant seeds - resources e.g. intellectual property, to attract resource hungry people </li></ul><ul><li>Migration - of people and information is valuable. Don't put up a fence. Set up corridors of exchange between your network and others </li></ul>
  5. 5. Ecology © Dorling Kindersley <ul><li>Comfort – people adapt to environments they are used to, i.e. Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Energy – benefit of every interaction must outweigh its effort </li></ul><ul><li>Evolution – expect it to take time. Your community is dynamic and its inhabitants are in charge of its destiny (you are not its god!) </li></ul><ul><li>Sociability </li></ul>
  6. 6. To build or not to build? Stolen from t’interweb. Sorry.
  7. 7. To build or not to build? <ul><li>Consider the global audience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how many are already interested in discussing the main topic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many people potentially might want to? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much energy are people likely to put into your project? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much passion do people have about the topic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you need to run a separate awareness raising campaign to boost initial interest? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read 7 Harsh Truths About Running Online Communities </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Communication: conversation
  9. 9. Communication: conversation <ul><li>Offline traditional media is unidirectional – from organisations to citizens </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face cues which aide communication offline: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Body language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gestures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facial expression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tone of voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any others? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the online equivalents? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Communication: conversation <ul><li>Modern online communication is multidirectional – From citizen to citizen to organisation to citizen </li></ul><ul><li>Online methods of communicating intent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CAPITALISATION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Punctuation! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Tone of voice’ (should be very different to traditional marketing copy or emails – don't just put your press release on your forum) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smilies :) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Identity
  12. 12. Identity <ul><li>Offline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical appearance, clothes, hairstyle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How you introduce yourself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where you spend your time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who you spend your time with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How your identity is perceived by others based on the above is not always your choice, e.g. gender, age, social class, dis/ability, religion, race, nationality, sexual orientation </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Identity <ul><li>Online </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avatar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Username </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group membership/associations </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Identity <ul><ul><li>What fields do you ask people to complete on your social network? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you make mandatory? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they restrictive or do they provide opportunities to help people express their online identity? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much personalisation is allowed for self expression? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active, (public?) self definition -> solidification of identity -> acceptance? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teenage reinvention. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Identity <ul><li>Individualism and Social Capital in an Online Social Networking Community: ‘MySpace’ as an organising site for Identity Construction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The valorising of individuality in Western society, which is exaggerated in youth culture, has been described as ‘a cult of individualism’ (Atkinson, 2006). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indicators of such traits may function as commodities in social settings, which in turn could earn social status, increasing social capital (Allik, 2004). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived autonomy of an individual by others is related to the opportunities for social and community involvement they experience (Allik, 2004). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Value
  17. 17. Value <ul><li>Positive social interaction – make sure people are getting a nice response in return for their efforts – the feel good factor </li></ul><ul><li>Resources – your own and other people's – a hub </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling comfortable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>avoid cliqueiness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>be welcoming (Tom from MySpace is everyone's friend) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and understand new people will make mistakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they will post in the wrong place about the wrong thing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If they are posting at all, they are precious. Nurture them. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Value <ul><li>Provide opportunities for people to gain social capital. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Friend lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Badges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Roles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Everybody builds social capital individually by improving each others’ knowledge capital collaboratively ” The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online - Howard Rheingold </li></ul>
  19. 19. Community moderators
  20. 20. Community moderators <ul><li>“ A host is like a host at a party. You don't automatically throw a great party by hiring a room and buying some beer. Someone needs to invite an interesting mix of people, greet people at the door, make introductions, start conversations, avert fisticuffs, encourage people to let their hair down and entertain each other.” Rheingold </li></ul>
  21. 21. Community moderators <ul><li>Must understand the purpose of the community </li></ul><ul><li>Moderate </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate </li></ul><ul><li>Host </li></ul><ul><li>Referee </li></ul><ul><li>A ‘conversation convener’ </li></ul><ul><li>Pick a welcoming collective name! </li></ul>
  22. 22. Community moderators <ul><li>Are the founders and original participants </li></ul><ul><li>Initially, THEY are the destination </li></ul><ul><li>Set the standard </li></ul><ul><li>Build the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Direct the topic </li></ul><ul><li>Set the tone </li></ul>
  23. 23. What you want people to do
  24. 24. What you want people to do <ul><li>Log in regularly </li></ul><ul><li>Talk amongst themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to you </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss </li></ul><ul><li>Debate (contentious issues are helpful) </li></ul><ul><li>Banter </li></ul><ul><li>Inform </li></ul>
  25. 25. What you want people to do <ul><li>Connect </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With people with shared values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is the purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The essential shared value of the community should be the same ideal that the campaign is working towards </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. What if people go off topic?
  27. 27. What if people go off topic? <ul><li>Don’t be too strict </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>It's healthy for the conversation to develop in ways you couldn't predict </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget – you don't own the conversation just because you own the site </li></ul>
  28. 28. How to host
  29. 29. How to host <ul><li>Active participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give opinions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thank people for contributing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thank people for joining </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make suggestions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide crosslinks </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Volume
  31. 31. Volume <ul><li>Consider volume </li></ul><ul><li>Remember it’s not all about you! </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to the mood </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage lurkers to speak up and join in </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be too cliquey </li></ul>
  32. 32. Recycle, tend and prune
  33. 33. Recycle, tend and prune <ul><li>Recycle - old useful conversations can add value </li></ul><ul><li>Tend </li></ul><ul><ul><li>welcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consider an introductions area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>look out for first time contributors and say hello and thanks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>build a community of hosts and communicate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prune - retire obsolete sections… with notice </li></ul>
  34. 34. What to talk about?
  35. 35. What to talk about? <ul><li>Current events </li></ul><ul><li>New research </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Related campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use all your ideas at once – keep a list and stagger them </li></ul>
  36. 36. Rules
  37. 37. Rules <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Opinions that move the debate forward. Disagree with what we or another commenter has to say? Let's hear it! But please be respectful. </li></ul><ul><li>Comments that connect the dots. We appreciate you linking the subject of one post to other posts, even (especially!) when the connection isn't obvious! </li></ul><ul><li>Factual corrections! We make mistakes, we fix 'em. </li></ul><ul><li>Please don't personally insult, bully, threaten, or harass the writers or your fellow commenters.  Comments referring to other commenters as &quot;idiots&quot;  or the like will be disemvowelled or not published. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Rules
  39. 39. Rules <ul><li>Will be questioned </li></ul><ul><li>Segment rule questioning so it doesn’t take over </li></ul><ul><li>May be circumvented via </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innuendo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ambiguity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Innocent postings may be misinterpreted </li></ul>
  40. 40. Rules <ul><li>Be direct and respectful </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for clarification </li></ul><ul><li>Remind people of the rules </li></ul><ul><li>Be consistent </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a process for democratic decision making </li></ul>
  41. 41. Sharing responsibility
  42. 42. Sharing responsibility <ul><li>Share responsibilities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make sure it is somebody's responsibility! </li></ul><ul><li>Allow staff to report on their hosting activity publicly </li></ul>
  43. 43. When mistakes happen… apologise
  44. 44. Sustainability
  45. 45. Sustainability <ul><li>Good hosting is contagious </li></ul><ul><li>You are modelling civil discourse </li></ul><ul><li>The early crowd influences late arrivals </li></ul>
  46. 46. The End The end Date 28 October 2009 p.s. some of my favourite moderation links: