Should You Moderate Blog Posts and Comments in SharePoint?

When using blogs on your SharePoint intranet, it is possible to moderate the posts and comments, meaning you can decide which ones to publish.

So the question is – should you do that?  In my opinion, no.  What message are you giving here if you do?

We keep hearing how companies want to become more social, how they want people to use SharePoint, how they want people to interact with the sites more. That’s the goal, but then in the next breath they want to moderate all that interaction.  It’s mixed messages.  You’re saying in so many words, that you will decide if what they have said is good enough.  And if the wrong person is moderating the blog, and they see a comment or a post from someone they don’t like, that content is never going to get published.  Can you imagine the opinion people will have of that blog after that?

Try giving people the benefit of the doubt instead.

It would be make more sense to automate the governance around that, in other words, make sure that certain language is blocked from a server level.  Then communicate what the terms of use are on the blog, and how people need to behave respectfully even if they don’t agree with what’s being said.  And finally, put an instant alert on for yourself to keep an eye on things in the beginning if you’re nervous about letting go. (And also so you can respond so people aren’t just talking to the wall!).

A common concern is, “but if we don’t moderate the comments, people will just say what they want and complain”.  So?  If people are complaining it’s usually because something is wrong somewhere – giving them a voice publicly and publicly responding could go a long way in clearing the air about that complaint. People are far less critical when they feel heard. It can stop the spread of rumours if the person responding to the complaints has some type of authority because the right version is coming straight from the horse’s mouth as it were.  There’s also that saying about “don’t ask the question if you don’t want to know what the answer is”. 😉

Another complaint is, “but they aren’t talking about anything work related on the blog, it’s just waffle”.  Again, so?  Do you want them to use SharePoint or not? It’s your job to gently guide people to see the business value in using a blog.  In the beginning it will be novel, and there may not be much sense, but that will pass and it will down to business.  There’s a team using blog functionality as a book review portal.  It’s working like a charm with some great commentary going on. All unmoderated.

My vote is, bite the bullet and be brave!  Let that control freak in you go for the moment, (you know you have one), and give people a voice.  If all else fails, you can just delete the whole blog site if it doesn’t work out; but you just might be pleasantly surprised instead.

7 comments

  1. @Brett, thanks Brett. Yep, and don’t we all know how that feels? Getting people to play with on SharePoint is a long uphill battle, why make it harder right. That poor user, one can really feel for him. It’s a fear thing I think, this all requires a new way of thinking and behaving and that’s a scary thing for companies.

    @Theresa, great idea. Give people parameters in which to work, communicate properly, then let well enough alone. Trust a little.

    @Francois, your blog is on the internet though; I was referring to blogs on an intRAnet where spam won’t be an issue.

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  2. Good topic.

    I agree with Brett. Depending on the corporate culture, you likely won’t get blog comments (let alone people clicking on a simple poll or SharePoint survey). It’s even a challenge to get users to embrace the Team Discussion tool.

    I’d say, open it up with a “code of conduct” clearly posted on the blog’s home page. If it applies, mention the connection to the organization’s acceptable use policy.

    Thanks for offering the opportunity to comment :o)

    T

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  3. Great Post Veronique,
    For Corporate Intranets, if visitors see that comments have to be approved, they’ll be reluctant to type anything.
    “Now that’s an interesting Post, I think I can add something to that…. umm I might get in trouble if I do, never-mind”
    I had one user create a discussion topic and asked a simple question, then was berated for posting in the wrong area. Anyone reading that would be discouraged from adding anything to SharePoint. It would become a one-way web-site where people consume, without contributing. It’s hard enough trying to get users to click on a one-question Poll, let alone post their comments.

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