In the B2B community that I used to manage, there was not much need for officially moderating member comments as our overall traffic was manageable without significant oversight. When I heard about the Mzinga-sponsored webconference on moderation featuring Scott Monty (who ‘drives’ Social Media at Ford Motor) and Mike Pascucci (Director and ‘King’ of Moderation Services at Mzinga), I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the best practices around community moderation.
Here’s what I learned.
Mike and Scott had slight differences in opinion on moderation vs. management. Mike refers to the processes as moderation as a reactive activity and community management as a proactive step, while Scott somewhat jokingly referred to moderation as ‘censorship’.
One of my favorite slides showed the life cycle stages of a successful community – and the take-away is that both management and moderation play a critical role in starting, growing and maintaining a community. The slide also provides a representation of how a community grows from launch to maturity.
Mike discussed the pros and cons between pre-moderation and post-moderation services. Pre-moderation refers to reviewing all submitted content before it goes live vs. post-moderation review of content after it has been posted. One benefit of post-moderation is that it provides a better user experience – but that benefit comes with the risk that offensive or out-of-policy content may appear on the site before it is self-policed by the community or acted upon by the community managers. It ultimately comes down to several factors: what you’re trying to accomplish in the community, regulations and laws that may impact what is being said, and management comfort with natural conversations about your product and brand. Then, it is a matter of coming up with a tailored plan to address moderation and management issues which is usually results in a hybrid pre- and post-moderation plan.
In any case, moderation is a key part of any community manager’s job description. While I rarely had to moderate a comment, I was reviewing all postings on a daily basis.
The case study portion of the webinar was also interesting. First, Scott shared his experiences with creating the SyncMyRide community at Ford to facilitate peer-to-peer support where all submitted posts were pre-moderated to comply with strict automotive regulations. Mike also discussed moderation experiences at RateMyProfessors.com, Liberty Mutual and CBS:Kid Nation.
During the Q&A session, someone asked about the optimal number of moderators to community members. Mike answered that the important value to track is the volume of posting activity and drive the moderators based on that activity. As a rule of thumb, Mike said that the number of posts that violate community rules or require moderation is generally 1% to 3% of the total activity volume.