I was at an event last night called Third Tuesday Toronto where Mathew Ingram spoke about how the Globe and Mail is using social media to connect with it’s users. It was an interesting discussion, and perhaps an even more revealing back and forth in the Q&A at the end.
It turns out that Mathew deals with many of the issues we deal with on a day-to-day basis, one of which is moderating comments. Trying to decide what goes up in the comments connected to a Globe story is quite a similar challenge to deciding what to post about a company on HomeStars. We have a current set of guidelines about what we post here. There’s an interesting discussion going on in our forum about which reviews we post online – do we post ‘no-shows’ or even complaints from a supplier side of a company. We want the comments connected to a company to be additive to the conversation and useful to the homeowner, in the same way that the comments connected to a Globe article, ideally, should be beneficial and informative to the reader.
We’ve opened up our forums to be a much more ‘free-for-all’ type conversation where we can have discussion about issues in general. For the most part that conversation has been good. Right now people can post there about the no-shows and other issues connected with home improvement and we’ve rarely had to go in there and moderate that discussion. We post things there that we wouldn’t post in the general listing based on our guidelines.
As Mathew pointed out last night, there are no correct answers to these issues on what to post and what to moderate. He mentioned that Rob Hyndman, a Toronto lawyer, told him that really the old versions of libel and slander law don’t really apply today, but no one has tested this theory. Mathew, in the Q&A section, said “It is the Globe & Mail’s duty to get sued so that law can be developed in this area.” We agree – better them than us.
Let us know what you think!