Why Moderating (Not Avoiding!) Political Discussion is Important

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We’ve endured an ugly election year, and all throughout many have been content to speak their minds—sometimes at the expense of their fellow users. Much of the discussion around the election has been saturated with hate speech or general profanity from all sides, sometimes including death threats, and things became so bad that the language has been trickling offline since the election’s been over.

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How naïve were those who thought the dust would settle afterwards! With partisan groups as divided as ever, there’s been no end to political flame wars on social media. As a comment moderator or community manager, you might be wondering how you can cultivate a safe space for your fans or readers to respectfully discuss the matters important to them—without censoring thoughts, silencing perspectives or stifling a spirited debate.

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And that’s what’s important: allowing for debate and discussion. The reason why we’re in this mess now is the filter bubble, in which social media algorithms designed to surface up content that we want to see has largely closed us off from different opinions that challenge our views. Filter bubbles eschew reality and further divide us, which is why discussion to gain a better understanding of “the other side” is so necessary.

The good news is that you don’t have to censor ideas or ban all political discussion in your community; you can accommodate for all points on the political spectrum with good community guidelines and swift comment moderation. The only language you need to erase are abusive, profane statements—and chances are, such rules are already present in your comment guidelines to enforce.

To keep up with the near-constant stream of political discussion today and in the months ahead, you may want to employ 24/7 comment moderation on your social media profiles. But don’t worry about having to pull another shift to do so: Smart Moderation will automatically protect your commenters from abusive language, fostering a space where everyone’s voices are valued and heard. Thanks to machine learning, this AI assistant cleans up profane, abusive language (and spam!) within the minute that it’s posted. Instruct Smart Moderation as you would a human moderator to fit your community’s needs, so you can rest assured that it’ll enforce your community’s rules and brand values.

Remember, politics is messy—while you might be committed to not silence others’ opinions, others may not see it that way. Be transparent about your community guidelines so everyone understands what constitutes as harmful language or abuse that won’t be tolerated. Should someone complain of censorship for having a comment deleted, you can refer them back to the rules.

There have been so many calls for all sides to come together in the wake of the election, and the best way to do so is to encourage your fans to engage in respectful communication—not fighting and attacks. But here’s our question for you: when it comes to comment moderating, how do you de-escalate an argument or flame war? Feel free to share your tips with us!