One bad person can ruin a great community. And this is the beginning of the story where “social media” and “soccer” have more in common than just their first three letters. Soccer? Social Media? What could the two have in common? (And btw, apologies to readers and friends outside the US … I do realize the proper name is football, but hey, you Americans would just get it confused with that other football game we play here.)
So let’s begin with the problem statement first – What do you do when someone is abusive, inappropriate, and/or insulting to the community? I’m not talking about being negative – but down right offensive to the community as a whole. You must allow the members of the community to voice their concerns – even if they have some criticism of you. You can not pull comments and posts that are critical of you or your brand. (Case in point – Nestle’s fiasco).
But when someone uses your community or blog as a platform to mouth off inappropriately you must step in. You should start by having a policy that is viewable by the public. A policy that states something like, “We at ___ value freedom of speech and welcome all your comments, with few exceptions … We will remove comments that 1) are offensive and/or attacking of other members, 2) use vulgar language, and 3) that are off topic.”
So what do you do – and here my friends are the tie into soccer. You play referee and administer “Yellow Cards” and “Red Cards.”
In soccer, a Yellow Card indicates a formal “caution” for things including unsportsmanlike conduct and dissent by word or actions (among other things). So in social media communities and blogs, this means giving the perpetrator a warning. You should pull their comments down and send them a personalized note reminding them of the policy and the intent of the community or blog. You should provide specific reasons why their comments have been flagged and tell them they are still invited to participate in the community within policy. Failure to do so will result in a “Red Card” and being thrown out of the community.
When a player is shown a Red Card, they are sent off the field. After you have “shown” a disruptive member the yellow card, and they continue to go against policy, then you show them the red card and throw them out and block them from the community.
This action needs to be taken to preserve the value of the community for all the other members. Make sense? Any questions?
Make It Happen!