Social media moderation: You can’t please them all, but you can try

How some of the most epic comments fights get started.
How some of the most epic comments fights get started.

Moderation ain’t easy; it’s impossible to please everyone.

At AL.com, we use a third-party team of moderators for the comments on our site. There, we hold users to our community rules, which they agree to follow upon signing up for an AL.com account. On the same day, one person may send me an email about their comments being deleted unfairly, and another will send me an email about how awful and inappropriate the comments are under that very same story. But our moderators weigh comments against our rules and approve and remove as necessary.

On our social media accounts, it’s a little more complicated. Our site moderators do not participate in any moderation on our social accounts; it’s up to us. We don’t have specific rules of engagement posted on any of those accounts. When I’m on duty, I try to very lightly apply our standard community rules to the comments and posts left on our page. When I see spam, I report it as such. When we get angry posts or comments or tweets, I let a little more language slide than we might on our site and I do my best to respond to them.

In moderating on our social media accounts, I try to keep in mind that it’s not “our” space in the same way that our site is. People use social media differently, and I allow them that freedom, as long as their “freedom” is not hurting others (like making libelous comments).

We often curate content from Facebook and Twitter. We are increasingly elevating opinions, observations, question and jokes from social media in posts on AL.com. It’s positive reinforcement for our best commenters, and it also shows our followers that we are listening and appreciate their participation.

It’s interesting to see the differences in each network’s communities and etiquette. We often see more heated exchanges on Facebook, and it can get very personal. On Twitter, we see the occasional personal tweet war, but our @mentions are mostly questions and general observations or jokes. In general, Facebook requires much more moderation than Twitter.

What are your social communities like? Which networks require your brand to do more moderation?

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