Danny Dagan, head of online communities with News Group, told the Beyond the Printed Word conference that a single discussion thread about Madeleine McCann overseen by his moderation team has taken over 120,000 contributions and been viewed over three million times.
Attesting to the success of News Group’s reader community areas, Dagan – whose team of seven moderators and one manager oversee the communities for Sun Online, thelondonpaper and the News of the World – told delegates that he had developed a 152-page moderation policy book that his team is tested on every three months (bonuses depend on knowledge of it, he added.)
The policy is to assure the smooth running of the reader discussion area and to lessen the threat of legal action from rouge posts and when discussions turn ugly.
As an example, Dagan said that when the tide of opinion turned against the McCanns his team were removing up to 500 comments a day.
The policy book was developed, he said, from the responses News Group’s team of lawyers to 100 ‘borderline’ pieces of user-generated content (UGC) submitted to its newspaper sites.
Industry norms, he added, of having to remove a piece of unsuitable content within 24 weekday hours were massively surpassed.
He told delegates that his team was committed to removing unsuitable content within 15 minutes. Although, he added, the average time between complaint and removal was two to three minutes.
He added that moderation was made for both inappropriate content and from an editorial perspective, also for ‘brand protection’ (which basically means if the Sun, the moderators or Rupert Murdoch get slagged off too much).
So heavy traffic and a fabulous number of users of MySun then Danny? Oh yes, but he remained steadfastly tight-lipped on just how many people had signed up.