Rules of the road

A moderation policy is an essential element of any online dialogue, experts say

A moderation policy is an essential element of any online dialogue, experts say. By defining the rules of engagement clearly and visibly, moderators protect themselves from charges of censorship if they need to remove postings.

That is how it worked during the brainstorming phase of the Open Government Dialogue when a group of individuals overwhelmed the site with comments challenging the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The system invited participants to flag entries that did not meet the criteria posted on the Web site. Moderators reviewed and, in some cases, removed the offending posts.

Here is the policy as posted:

This online dialogue allows you the opportunity to fill out custom text fields, which are publicly visible. The site therefore operates a moderation policy to ensure that your comments are appropriate and not harmful to others. Comments which include any of the following may be deleted:

  • Threats or incitements to violence.
  • Obscenity.
  • Duplicate posts.
  • Posts revealing your own or others' sensitive/personal information (e.g., Social Security numbers).
  • Information posted in violation of law, including libel, condoning or encouraging illegal activity, revealing classified information, or comments which might affect the outcome of ongoing legal proceedings.
  • Moreover, while we invite open participation and diverse viewpoints to be shared, the main goal of this dialogue is to answer the overarching question: How can we strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative? Moderators therefore reserve the right to remove posts which are not "on topic" or do not address some aspect of that question. Our desire is to remove as few posts as possible while ensuring that a focused, constructive discussion takes place.

About the Author

John Stein Monroe, a former editor-in-chief of FCW, is the custom editorial director for the 1105 Public Sector Media Group.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1996, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group