Sunday, March 7, 2010

LinkedIn and Crowd Sourcing

Does crowd sourcing work? Here is a small but cute example which I came across. It is a discussion thread on LinkedIn group on Web 2.0.

Jeanine Willoughby started the thread by posting the question “How do I convince my company to relax a little on content ‘moderation’?” about 15 days back on 18th February, 2010.

The organization she works for supports businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber region in the UK to prosper a low carbon economy. Part of the vision is to establish online communities where any stakeholder in the region (staff, customers, suppliers, buyers, consultants) can discuss and debate issues relating to their interests. People who do wish to participate must register their details and be approved to join the community. Her problem was that all content contributions are moderated before they appear and the system has not helped foster an online community. She was having a difficult time convincing the managers to move to a reactive moderation model as they are too afraid of defamatory remarks.

In 15 days she received suggestions from 18 people:

1. Dan Mason: provide guidelines – dos & don’ts
2. Kevin Shea: create a vision of the changed state that works for everyone
3. Jeff Heine: customers are going to communicate anyway – it is better to know what they are saying and take those as opportunities to correct any issues and/or misunderstandings and build a better relationship
4. Karin Wills: use IBM’s “Social Media Policy” as a guideline
5. John Ferrari: reasonable entry barriers to a group and reasonable post-moderation
6. Jeff Cole: refer to U.S. Air Force’s policy on content- “if you are old enough to die for your country, you are old enough to blog.” (more detail)
7. Tina Gleisner: refer to examples of top competitors who are building stronger communities by not only allowing, but encouraging more community dialog – remove moderation after an initial period
8. Jeremy Lundberg: read Groundswell – it has lots of great case studies
9. Robby White: use profanity filter
10. Jay Friedman: find a few references where your company is already being talked about online – in areas outside of your control
11. John Whaling: promote self regulation – even Disney’s Club Penguin (for kids) works this way
12. Tim Licence: users will not risk harming their own reputation by posting defamatory or libel comments, therefore the forums would be self moderated
13. Emer Mc Ginley: based on 2 years experience – it’s the cheapest form of customer/employee insight you can get – many of your online contributors WILL become your advocates if you listen and respond with speed
14. Susan Crawford: separate social media policy for each platform (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.)
15. Courtney Hunt: monitoring and moderation (post only) are critical responsibilities of community founders and managers
16. T.S. Elliott: focus on strengthening the understanding of all stakeholders – they will become more relaxed and less moderated (more detail here and here)
17. Bruce Galinsky: develop some common sense social computing etiquette
18. Vincent Berthelot: you have to explain the rules and the role of the community manager and it will be OK in 99%

Yesterday, she successfully presented the case to management. This is what she wrote:

“To everyone who contributed to this discussion and provided insight and guidance into my query – thank you all.

I presented the case for a more relaxed approach to moderation to our community managers about an hour ago and I’m pleased to share with you that my colleagues agreed to adopt a self-regulating approach to moderation, i.e. give the community users the responsibility and ownership of content.
We’ll back this up with robust guidelines, code of conduct for users and also adopt an internal protocol for community managers to ‘keep their eye’ on things.

Once again, thanks to all. Without wanting to sound like Kate Winslet at an awards ceremony, your advice and support really have on this occasion made the difference.
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