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Tools vs. Humans – Content management

This is a topic that will always be debated and discussed around Moderation services.

“Can’t we just allow our members to moderate themselves?” While this may be an ok tactic within some communities, it can be a cause of disaster in others. You will always have groups of people within an online community that become friends (like High school). Whether it is based on demographic, likes/dislikes or whatever, this can cause an unwelcome feeling for “Newbies” within your community. Members may/will end up removing content based on the fact that they do not like what is being said, and you may/will end up with a community with no content. There always needs to be some form of Governance within online communities – an “Over-seeing” authority to assist. Imagine a football game without any Ref’s, a baseball game without any Umps……..I think that you get the picture.



“The tools should be advanced enough to not need any human intervention.” Tools can only capture so much, and “false positives” can ruin a community. Filters can only catch what they are told to catch. Words and phrases can be taken out of context and removed incorrectly. Having a system where content is removed after “x” number of people report it is not an effective tool as well. Members will figure out how the system works and game it – not to mention, tools are only as effective as their owners ūüėČ


Obviously those are the most extreme statements on either side of the fence, but these types of thoughts do still exist within online community management and moderation. As I have posted time and time again across many of my blog posts, there needs to be a balance between tools and humans. Tools can not catch 100% of content that may fall outside of your stated policies, nor can humans. Allowing your members to report content that they believe falls outside of your policies is very effective and should be included in every community. This allows your members to feel that they have an “individual” say in what is/not allowed to be posted. Not to mention, that when your members report something, and you end up removing it, they will recognize the removal and it will encourage them to report other items as well, assisting in the Management and moderation of your community. This balance between appropriate tools and Human interaction and oversight¬†is key to the success of every Online Community. Thoughts?

I cannot believe that it has been over a month since my last post, so much for keeping up with my responsibilities.

The last month has been full of everything, traveling, interviewing and landing a great opportunity. First, let me tell you about my travels over the last month……….then again, what the heck am I thinking, let me tell you about the opportunity that I landed 3 weeks ago.

Thanks to Heather Strout, I was able to get my foot into the door at AAA, working with their Mid-Atlantic division (DE, MD, PA, DC, VA, and NJ). They had launched new communities (blogs, message boards, profiles, recommendations) around Cars & Driving and Travel. Through their strategy phases with Mzinga, they realized the importance of having someone Manage the area and become the internal evangelist for their community and its members. After a couple of meetings, I was offered a Contract position with AAA Mid-Atlantic. This is a very exciting opportunity for me, as I am getting back to my roots of Social Media/Online Community management Рbuilding an online community and developing a Social Media strategy around it to increase customer satisfaction, brand awareness, membership, visibility and all of the other things that come along with a successful plan.

I have just begun my 2nd week and am already in the depths of the Metrics and Measurement side of things, so that I have a holistic view of what can/not be accomplished. Granted the “anything is possible” saying comes to mind, but I like to be a little more realistic.

As for my travels, they were all New England based, some Vermont, some NH and some MA. Nice to do a little bit of camping and hiking while the weather is nice.

As I have promised in the past, I will try to update my blog as much as possible; you may notice a slight change in the “Voice” as it may come on less of the Moderation side of things, and more of the Management side of things.

As always, thanks for reading.



I am currently employed at Bose as the Digital Platform Manager, leveraging Ratings & Reviews and Community content to increase customer acquisition and retention

Community Roundtable

August 2009