For some time we, at Bang the Table, have steadfastly refused to allow the pre moderation of comments on our sites. Pre-moderation is the practice of not allowing users comments to appear on the site before being vetted by a moderator.
Why? Well, I have written about this at length in the past but to summarise:
1. Pre-Moderation does not work in a discussion forum, you cannot have a discussion where the comments appear with a lengthy lag and not in the order that the user making the comment expected.
2. Pre-Moderation says to the community – ‘we don’t trust you’ and discourages participation
3. With our 3 Stage moderation process pre moderation is an entirely unnecessary precaution.
We all love being principled but, good as it makes us feel, we are a business not moral arbiters. There is clearly a demand in some quarters for pre moderated online engagement and we recognise that in some organisations this might represent a comfortable fairy step towards wider online participation. Because of this we have been thinking hard about how we can accommodate this demand without diminishing our values as a business.
So let me introduce the Guestbook which is now available on all our sites.
The Guestbook is a deliberately plain and simple tool for garnering community feedback about your project. Unlike forums community members cannot reply to each others comments or agree or disagree. Importantly the Guestbook is not a discussion forum. This means that the order in which the comments appear is of no importance and as such does away with our primary objection to pre-moderation.
When might the Guestbook be used? It is designed to be used for consultation processes where dialogue and debate is not necessary. This might be where the issue is fraught and you want community ideas to be respected without debate or it might be suitable for the operational or construction phase of the project where you want the community to be able to raise issues in a transparent way but do not want full debate occurring.
So now we can pre-moderate content for an online engagement, though we will continue to encourage post-moderation even with the Guestbook.
I attach a couple of screenshots below but you can have a play at our demo site. You will see the Guestbook sits in the same space as our forums but is much simpler. It comprises and introductory message, a box to type the comment in to and a list of previous posts. We are also making available 2 iterations of this tool. The first will be a Q and A tool which will allow clients to respond to directly to community questions and the second will be a Brainstormer, a form of Guestbook which allows voting against ideas and orders the ideas accordingly. Let us know if you want these for your project and we will give you a timeline for delivery (it won’t take long).