Two questions regarding moderating our forums came up today.
The first involved a post that was deleted; the second was a user asking why we don’t moderate more aggressively when people get out of control.
We don’t delete forum posts very often. Our theory is that “Your Talk,” the open discussion forum on MonroeTalks.com, belongs to the community of users. It’s intended to be a wide-ranging, free-for-all discussion. If we were keeping tight reins on the conversation, deciding what we liked and didn’t like, people soon would go somewhere else.
As one person on the forum said, they come to “Your Talk” to find out what we didn’t put in the newspaper. If they wanted our opinion, they could read the paper.
Of course, we’re going to watch for content that really doesn’t belong. We remove commercial ads as soon as we see them. We remove profanity or pornography as soon as we see it. Neither happen very often, but both are inevitable.
Ironically, today’s missing post wasn’t deleted by The Evening News. The person who made the post apparently deleted it. Some good came of it, anyway. We learned that a user who started a new topic could delete his comments and in the process delete the entire thread, including subsequent comments.
We’ve changed that. Topic starters can still go back and edit their comments, but the thread is not deleted.
That’s one of the reasons we switched to this new forum platform from the Eyes and Ears on monroenews.com. It gives us the flexibility to make changes to improve the forum.
We’ve had great participation from users suggesting improvements. As I said, this forum really belongs to the community of users. It’s no better or worse than they make it.