Almost all media – paper, web or audio-visual – now maintain a dialogue with their public which is fed by a system of comments or forums.
How are these interactions managed? Is there pre- or post-moderation? Who filters and answers the comments: community managers, who are, to all intents and purposes, journalists or journalists from the editorial department itself? Are these moderators internal or external? What rules are applied?
De Standaard : Pre-moderation
The De Standaard website now opens certain articles to comments; the number is determined by the availability of editorial staff to ensure moderation.
This hybrid solution is the result of our first experiences of free comment. Moderating demanded too much time but is, in fact, essential given the sometimes aggressive, rude or irrelevant nature of some comments.
Management temporarily closed the Comments section and re-opened it later following the urgent request of Internet users and readers who denounced this as “censorship” and demanded the right to read something other than the “opinions of specialists”.
Europe 1 : External post-moderation
The radio station has set up an alarm system. An e-mail can be sent to the webmaster when an internet-user feels that an on-line comment poses a legal or privacy problem.
France 24 : These are post-moderated at two levels
There is no forum but comments can be posted.
There are two post-moderation levels at France 24. The first is carried out by an external company and is not concerned with the meaning of the messages but filters out insulting content or incitements to racial hatred. The second level involves the website editor-in-chief, the journalists who have written the article and the editorial secretaries. Internet users have an alert button and can also send a message to signal inappropriate content. These are then partially or completely deleted and the author informed.
For controversial subject, e.g. inter-ethnic conflicts, no commentary is possible.
The external company post-moderates social networks and they have two community managers, one for French and English, the other for Arabic.
Le Monde : There is internal pre- moderation.
The website is pre-moderated by journalists.
Blogs are post-moderated by an external company who do an initial filtering. After that, the blog author moderates the comments themselves.
Ouest France : Information not provided
The Irish Times : Internal post-moderation
Polskie Radio, kanal 3 : No real forums
BBC : Internal pre-moderation
Forums and comments are pre-moderated by an internal team.
The Guardian : Post-moderation
Editorial staff work both for the print edition and the website and there are non-journalist Community Managers for all subjects.
For certain sensitive subjects, comments are deleted or moderated before. The rest are post-moderated.