Comment/conversation moderation

Social media administrators should respond to commenters who express concerns and attempt to address them directly or refer them to a person or department who can.

The structure of your response will vary based on the nature of the social networking platform but it should always be friendly and representative of Virginia Tech’s culture and values.

Not every critique needs a response; some people are just venting frustrations, or they are “trolls” — those who engage in off-topic or inflammatory posts in an attempt to provoke others.

Comments that are inappropriate, offensive, insult or attack, contain illegal suggestions, or use foul language should be removed as allowed by that particular social media platform, as should those that are intentionally repetitive (spam). Keep a log of any comments removed, and be consistent.

Removing posts that have become controversial

Occasionally, you may find that something you’ve posted to your page has taken a life of its own in the comments section. If your audience is staying on-topic and remaining civil as per your community commenting guidelines, it is advisable to let the commenters keep each other in check.

However, if the conversation seems to be sliding toward only one point of view in a manner that is contrary to the spirit of your post, you may decide to turn off commenting or take down the post altogether. If you choose to do this, be sure to take and save screenshots of the post and note the metrics. Before exercising this option, which should be treated as a last resort, you should first remind commenters about your commenting policy and see if that stems the tide.

Keep in mind that even after removal, controversial comment threads may still be found using web tools such as the Internet Archives: Wayback Machine —archive.org/web — or someone may have screenshotted the thread to post again later. Nothing is truly gone once it’s posted online.

Moderating decision tree
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How to: Create engaging content

How to: Creating graphics

Questions?

To suggest new How To guides or for questions about these guidelines and best practices, contact Susan Gill at susan83@vt.edu.