Give Trolls a Time-Out using Participation Suspension

Give Trolls a Time OutAt Get Satisfaction, we believe in organizations engaging in open and productive conversations with and between their customers where all voices get to be heard.  We recognize that there are times, however, when some of those voices turn towards unproductive, self-interested, or even abusive tones, and the community as a whole suffers.  Call them trolls or spammers (or perhaps an expletive if you’re having a particularly rough day).  Whatever you want to call them, they’re not good for your community and it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep them under control.

To foster more healthy communities, several years ago we published the Company-Customer Pact and Community Guidelines.  These best practices focused on the behaviors that encourage healthy and productive conversations between company and customer.  Our entire community platform is architected to reinforce these types of behaviors, and many of the features we’ve developed directly impact this, including moderator tools, the change log, flagging, and others.

We’re happy to announce a new feature that we released in recent weeks that’s available on all paid plans to help community managers further ensure members participate in the most productive and healthy way possible.  Introducing participation suspension

What is Participation Suspension?
All paid plans now have the ability to suspend a user’s posting privileges in their community.  (This is commonly referred to as “User Banning”).  After you’ve enabled this feature, any moderator in your community (both employee moderators and champion moderators) will have the ability to suspend a user from participating in the community.  The suspended user will continue to be able to view content, but will be prevented from posting topics, replies, or comments or voting on topics and replies.

What’s required to setup Participation Suspension?
To enable this feature, you’ll need to:

  • Be on any paid plan
  • Have moderators
  • Provide a verified email address where suspended users can engage in a private discussion with you regarding their posting status.

What happens when you suspend someone?
After you’ve suspended a user from your community, two things happen.  The first is that users will be presented with an error message when they try to participate in any way:

Error message for suspended user

The second thing that happens is that we publicly display the fact that the user was suspended in your community on their user dashboard.  We believe this is an important part of reputation (similar to your participation activity metrics, champion status, and employee status) and signals to other users and community moderators what your history of behavior has been.  Here’s an example dashboard of a user that has been suspended:

Suspended User Profile Page

The suspended user will continue to be able to participate in other Get Satisfaction communities and will be able to view all content in your community.  After a “cooling off” period or after you’ve resolved the reason for suspension privately (or for any other reason), you can re-enable the user’s privileges at any time.

How do I enable and use this feature?
For details on this feature and a step-by-step guide on how to enable it, please reference this community update.

Remember, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
It’s best to reach out to someone (either publicly or privately) prior to revoking their participation privileges, otherwise you run the risk of getting a flood of emails from members. We all have our bad days, so making the extra effort to remind folks of the Community Guidelines can make a world of difference when cultivating your community. If you want to make sure you’re being fair, we invite you to re-read our Company-Customer Pact.

We highly encourage everyone who will be using this tool on your team – champions and employees alike – to watch our presentation on how to best use this new feature.

Posted in General, Moderation, Product Updates

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