Managing Trolls - Setting up a policy
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Of course, before you start making wide-ranging changes to your site, you are going to have to give your commenters a fair shot at changing their ways. The best way to do that is by setting a policy that will give them a set of clear and practical guidelines to what is and what is not okay behavior on your site.
The policy should also spell out clearly what the penalties are for the first violation. If the penalties are successive (comment modification on first offense, comment deletion on second offense, and account restrictions on the third offense), then this structure should also be put in writing.
The most important part of defining your policy has to be your definition of what is clearly not acceptable on the site. You should give clearly defined examples of the types of speech. Granted, if you run a family- or child-oriented site, that list will be a lot longer than if you run a site dedicated to Jello wrestling divas. There are, however some common issues that a site may want to cover, including: profane language, hate speech, sexual speech, harassment and a blanket statement about your right to determine any other comments that are inappropriate.
The important part is your policy's clarity, and your ability to keep the right to decide what is, and what is not, acceptable even if you also choose to allow for a community voting system. Should you choose to use a voting system, that should also be spelled out in the policy, along with your ability to override the votes if a comment is put down unjustly.
Now that you have a whole variety of options for managing the trolls that make their way to your site, there is just one more thing to consider. You do not have to be bound by only one method. Community rating may work for 99 percent of the time, but if you have a post that you know is going to be controversial, you may want to enable the comment moderation for that specific post. Be sure to do what is right for your site on the whole and for your individual posts.
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