Guidelines and Balance: Monitoring an Online Community

Week 12 Process Post

In a digital world, the comment section of any online space can look like a war zone. It has become increasingly easy to hide behind the security of ones screen and launch negative comments like virtual rounds of an automatic rifle.

Creating an open online space also means an open space for the darker side of the internet in regards to online comments, shaming, and negative feedback on a publishers content.

In the article “The Psychology of Online Comments” by Maria Konnikova, it is explained how numerous websites have created community guidelines by removing the comment section. Although the anonymous space of the internet plays can key role in creativity, it can also lend a hand to concepts such as the online disinhibition effect and the diffusion of responsibility and encourage un-civil behaviour (Konnikova, 2013).

Personally, I have not yet had an experience with “trolls” or negative online comments (which could be due to the fact that my blog is basically unseen by the public eye). However, in the case that I do blow up as an online blogging internet sensation, I have outlined below a couple of my own community guidelines for my own website:

  1. Regulate the comment section: comb through the comments to remove any overly negative, rude, or inappropriate comments that take away from the general “vibe” of the site. AKA, keep things happy, inclusive, and fun. Life is hard enough and I don’t need something as silly as the comments section of my website to promote anger and hate.
  2. Create a sense of balance (for myself and my readers): Although it can be easy to only focus on combing out negativity, I also want to make a point of responding to positive comments and highlighting little pieces of encouragement and joy that has been created within my online space,. This could be done by making a “community sunshine patch” page that works to highlight the more “sunny” portions of my online community. For instance, I could repost testimonials regarding positive feedback on this page such as “I tried this recipe and my family loved it!!!”, or “I started a daily stretching routine and I finally feel like I’ve claimed a space for zen in my own mind”. Another thing that I could do with this “community sunshine patch” page would be to screenshot and highlight positive interactions between commenters to encourage others to engage with one another and make an online family (awwww).
  3. Display a set of descriptive community guidelines on the homepage of my website that clearly states that this page will not tolerate any slandering or hate towards others, gender, age, abilities, viewpoints on topics, race, or religion. Basically telling commenters to be open minded, respectful, and kind.

Works Cited: Konnikova, Maria. 2013. “The Psychology of Online Comments”. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-psychology-of-online-comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *