Whilst comments on blogs and news sites promote a healthy discussion, they also need to be closely monitored, a task which can be time consuming for your company. We look at the best ways to handle blog comments and what to do when a comment is considered unacceptable.
Comments can be crucial
For some blogs and news sites, comments can be a great way of gaining feedback on a particular subject and prompting discussion. It’s also a good way of building and nurturing new audiences, and it can create a strong, personal connection between the organisation and the public. It’s also another valuable way of finding further stories which associate with the article.
Killing the comments section
Whilst there are clear positives to a comments section and discussion on threads, the list of organisations who do not permit comments on their articles is growing larger. Outlets such as The Verge and The Daily Dot became some of the latest last month, according to the BBC.
This may be down to the fact that monitoring of comments is becoming more difficult to manage, even becoming a full-time job at many organisations. The BBC states that for someone to moderate their comment section for an article, the person would require knowledge of at least 12 different disqualification categories. Swearing, sexism, racism and incivility are just some of the problems that can be found in comment sections.
How to handle the comments
Comments require constant observation, and some companies may find it more suitable to set up a system where comments require approval before being displayed rather than editing once they’re online. Whilst this prevents spontaneous discussion, it can also maintain your organisation’s professional image and keep integrity throughout the comments.
If rude, crude, and offensive content is posted and it becomes difficult to track, then it can be more useful to implement a moderation policy. When deleting comments, best practice is to remove the following:
- Spam: This is usually easy to spot. Some of it will be in a different language or won’t make coherent sense and may include links to other websites. ‘Secret spam’, where the comment is written coherently but outwardly links away from your site for a specific purpose, can be difficult to spot. Pay attention to the context and make sure the comment is of some value to the conversation; if it’s not, remove it.
- Off-topic comments: Some of it can be abusive, some of it can be for the poster’s personal gain and some of it can be for no reason whatsoever. It doesn’t belong on your thread, so make sure it is removed swiftly. Some people comment without even reading the article, so you’ll spot some of those easily enough.
- Trolls: The more you feed them, the more they will come after you. Responding can often put your company in a positive light when done strategically, but it can be risky and it may be more beneficial just to remove negative or aggressive comments.
What would be unfair is to delete a comment that you don’t particularly like. It is better to engage in healthy discussion – don’t delete the dissenters as your business needs to be shown to accept negative feedback in the correct way. A balanced conversation often looks the most natural and encourages positive discussion.
Igniyte works to help businesses present themselves effectively online and manage their online reputation. For more information on how Igniyte can help you or your company, please contact Caroline Skipsey on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 8689 or email [email protected] in confidence.