Almost 4 years ago (wow, it definitely doesn’t seem that long ago), I wrote a long article discussing suicide threats and how to handle them when they are posted on your online community. I’m proud of that article and of how it has helped people.
Due to a recent experience (which I don’t feel comfortable sharing now), I’ve decided to make an update to the piece. The update has to do with the handling of a publicly posted threat. In the article, originally, I suggested that you remove it. I believe that to be good, sound advice – generally speaking. If you believe that your members may cause more harm than good, or if you are really undecided, then there is a good chance that it is in the best interests of everyone to remove it.
That said, however, if you feel that removing it may do more harm than good or that it may help to leave it in public, I am willing to open that door a crack and leave it to the discretion of the community manager because you have to do what you feel is right, what you can live with. It may backfire on you, but so could removing the thread. You can’t control the person making the threat, you can only control what you do and how you feel about it.
For that reason, I wanted to adjust the original piece (in addition, I also made some adjustments to the contact templates in the article). This also gives me an opportunity to share it with you, a new group of readers at ManagingCommunities.com. I hope that it helps you deal with this type of unfortunate situation, should you be faced with it.