Should You Participate In LinkedIn Discussions If They Are Moderated?
Recently I have noticed that several different discussions in the groups I follow on LinkedIn are now being moderated. When I submit a comment I get a message that my comment will be reviewed by the moderator before it is posted. I have decided I will no longer participate in these moderated discussions. The problem is I haven’t yet figured out how to tell if a discussion is being moderated until I hit the submit button. Does anyone know if there is a way to tell if a specific discussion or group is moderated?
I understand that some moderators with good intentions may be trying to eliminate the non-professional comments and personal attacks. If you frequent LinkedIn groups with contractors as members you have probably noticed that there are some members who resort to foul language, unprofessional comments and even personal attacks. I have also noticed one particular commenter who seems to always find something wrong with someone’s opinion and proceeds to kill the purpose of any discussion simply by participating.
Top two reasons why I have decided not to participate
- First, my feeling is that they are not discussions if someone can decide whether or not they want my comment to be part of the discussion. I say this because I have noticed both on LinkedIn and on several different national newspaper sites I visited and commented on the moderator limits the comments to only those that support their own opinions and or to control the direction of the conversation. We live in a free country where our freedom to express our opinions differentiates us from many other countries on this planet. It pains me to see that some are trying to take that freedom away from us to serve their own purposes and or to purposely mislead readers.
- My second reason is because unless comments are posted instantly, and someone reading the comment can in turn instantly respond with another comment, it’s not a discussion. Instead it becomes a collection of thoughts. Think about it. Unless the moderator is sitting at his or her computer waiting for the next comment, there will be gaps in time between when the submit button is clicked and the moderator reviews the comment to decide to post it or not. This being the case I have already noticed that the comments, when eventually approved, become out of order and out of context. That’s not a discussion.
I think both reasons above are actually starting to reduce the conversations at these sites and is already compromising our industry’s ability to openly share information and help each other. This is a very bad thing for our industry.
I see and offer three options to address this concern about discussion moderation.
- LinkedIn could make it obvious to group members which discussions are moderated. I think this should be done in an obvious way right within the discussion’s description at the top of the page. If every discussion posted to the group will be moderated, I think that needs to be obvious as well. Also, to avoid wasting time, I think all moderated discussions should somehow be flagged within in the emails we all receive as group members letting us know about new discussions and new comments on existing discussions. If done this way we can decide for ourselves if we want to participate or not, in a discussion and or a group.
- If group members are behaving in an inappropriate and or unprofessional manner, there should be a defined way to have their ability to participate in the current discussion instantly terminated. And, if they have been terminated from a certain number of previous discussions, perhaps they should be permanently removed from the group, maybe even from LinkedIn.
- The last one I offer is the one I hope doesn’t become the default choice. With this third option those of you who feel the same way about this as me will have no choice but to discontinue our participation and or membership in a group that allows moderation of comments before they are posted.
We can be frank, but we must remain professional
I hope those of you reading this see my purpose in writing this as a genuine attempt to protect the value we get and enjoy from productive and professional discussions at social media sites and online discussions. To protect and facilitate discussions where all members can openly share advice and opinions without the risk of attacks and being subjected to foul language. As one frustrated commenter put it, LinkedIn should be a place where we can safely ask questions and as true professionals safely help each other improve our businesses and our lives. If you have a suggestion to help accomplish this, I hope you will add it to the list I offered above.
What say you?
If you agree something must be done about this concern please make others aware of this blog post so they can speak their views as well. Although I will post this blog to LinkedIn discussion groups, I cannot know for sure or control whether they are being moderated or not. If you find this article via LinkedIn, rather than post your comment on LinkedIn, post it here. I promise I won’t moderate the comments you leave here at my blog, every comment will be posted right away. I have and will however delete inappropriate comments and or comments with foul language. My blog use policy can be viewed here.