Online communities are about relinquishing as much control as possible, while at the same time providing straight forward Rules and Regulations / Terms of Services Policies so that members know what is expected.

Time and time again, clients come our way with the thought that they would like to pre-moderate every piece of User Generated Content (UGC). Pre-Moderation is very time consuming and does not facilitate interactions between members within online communities – not to mention it can be very costly. If you are looking for interactions and communications between the members of your community, then you should provide the best user experience as possible. This approach can actually have a negative effect on your community.

At the same time, there are always certain times and places where pre-moderation is an effective tool. In this post, I wanted to discuss some of the situations that we think that pre-moderation can be an appropriate approach.

1. Visual content – Photo’s and video’s that can be uploaded and streamed within an online community should probably be pre-moderated. I say this because visual content can be very damaging in nature, and easily “seen”. When you think about textual content that needs to be read, you actually have to take time to read each and every post to see if a post is actual damaging or has content that violates your policies (not to mention that there are pretty good tools that can be leveraged to find this content ahead of time. Photo’s and video’s are easily looked at and can be easily viewed – especially those that are obviously unacceptable. I also realize that there are photo and video tools out there, but nothing is 100%

2. Sites that appeal to a sensitive demographic – Young children, Financial advice, Health care, Automotive Industry…there are others, but I just wanted to point out a couple. There are many rules/regulations and laws within these specific demographics that need to be followed and addressed. You do not want to be liable for information that is posted within your community based on the fact that you were not following these regulations and laws. You also want to ensure that if you do have a piece of content that falls within these laws that you take the appropriate action and report the content to the proper authorities.

3. Blog comments – If I own my own blog, and want to ensure that the content that is being posted is clean and accurate, then you may think about allowing a member to decide to pre-moderate their own individual blog. Some members want to truly “own” their blog and decide what content should be allowed, especially if it is located within their profile page. Now, they may not approve posts that attack or question their views, but in those cases, they will discredit themselves.

Can you think of other instances where Pre-moderation would be beneficial, or you have witnessed it working?

Mike

Note: Cross-posted at mzinga.com

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