CERDEC Math and Science Summer Camp, 2013
Creative Commons License photo credit: CERDEC

Sometimes there are things posted on my community that I am not sure about. Usually I can give a definitive answer easily, but once in a while, it isn’t as clear and I want to ask for feedback from my staff.

In these cases, the temptation is to say that if you can’t decide it’s inappropriate, then it stays. That is reasonable and I do that most of the time. But if you feel like it may not be OK and the resulting thread could easily lead to guideline violations, I wouldn’t feel bad about removing a discussion while I made the decision.

For example, there was a thread posted on my martial arts community about a highly charged political issue. We only allow political discussions that relate to the martial arts, not general ones. If people want to discuss the election, they can do so elsewhere. But this one is kind of sketchy as it may or may not. I am leaning towards not, but I want to ask for feedback from my staff of martial artists.

Because I felt like the thread would quite possibly lead to posts that would violate our guidelines, I went ahead and removed it and sent a private message to the member who started it, just to let them know that I had removed it while I made a decision.

I’m not scared of violations. We have played host to many highly charged discussions that have had to be well moderated. But if we are going to spend those resources, I want to make sure it is for a topic that actually fits within our community. Hence, the odd removal while we make sure that we make the right call. Spend your effort wisely.