3.0 Web Commenting Guidelines

Managing comment responses on our blog and social media platforms is a very important aspect of community building and brand management. If you are slow to respond, if your responses have a negative tone, if you censor comments inappropriately, or if you don’t respond at all, you can promote a feeling of neglect or negativity that can affect the Chapman University brand. As an active brand representative for your school or department, it is imperative that you are attentive and responsive when it comes to commenting. If you show a lack of effort, the school or department will take proper action to rectify the situation.

3.1. Commenting Roles

3.1.1. Administrators: Consisting primarily of Strategic Marketing and Communications staff members, the administrators oversee the blog networks and ensure that each school’s or department’s moderator is following commenting procedure. Administrators have the authority to revoke responsibly if procedures are not met and to respond to comments if needed.

3.1.2. Moderators: Consisting of staff members who are assigned to oversee comments on specific blogs and social network accounts. They are responsible for the day-to-day management of these accounts, including responding to comments. Moderators must follow the commenting procedures described in this document.

3.1.3. Commenters: This is the general term for any individual that comments on our platforms. This includes post authors, Chapman community members, and the general public. Commenters must follow the commenting guidelines described in this section or their comment will be removed.

3.2. Replying Procedures

3.2.1. Hierarchy of Official Response Author: Authors should monitor and reply first because of their advanced knowledge on the subject. Moderator: If authors are not available to respond in a timely manner, the moderator should respond in their place. Administrator: As a last resort the administrators will monitor the comments and either nudge the moderator or respond themselves.

3.2.2. Who Can Respond Officially the author, moderator, or administrator, if needed, should reply to questions and comments. Other staff, faculty, and students may respond as well, but under their personal handle and as an independent commenter.

3.2.3. Timeliness of Responses: Comments prompting a response should be addressed within 24 hours, the sooner the better. If the administrator notices a lack of timely responses, blog control will be reviewed with the moderator’s superiors.

3.2.4. Types of Responses: Answering Questions: Post the information requested and link to a source for the information when possible. If you do not know the answer, refer the reader to someone they can contact for assistance Receiving Feedback: Forward the remark (positive or negative) to the appropriate individual. Post a reply thanking the reader for his or her feedback and letting him or her know that you forwarded it to the right place. If appropriate, provide contact information (publicly available only) for the reader to further voice his or her feedback. Correcting Information: Sometimes we make mistakes and post incorrect information. Our users help us to find these errors and correct them. Thank the user for pointing out the error, correct it, and let him or her know it’s been updated. Responding to Negative Remarks: When possible, it is best to address negative comments with constructive, positive information. In most cases, users will be happy to see that their concern is addressed. Inaccurate Information: If someone posts a false claim or statistic, try to find the correct information and reference it online. Politely offer the correct information and a link to a source confirming it. Negative Experiences: If appropriate, apologize for the experience that the person had and either let him or her know that his or her feedback will be passed on or provide him or her with a resource to help correct the situation. Continued Negativity (aka Internet Trolls): If negative remarks continue after you try to turn the conversation around, don’t engage in an argument. Bring the thread to the attention of an administrator for assistance with other options such as closing the conversation.

3.2.5. Censoring and Deleting Censoring versus Deleting: Occasionally someone will make an inappropriate or offensive comment through our blog and social media platforms. In this case the moderator must analyze the content to determine whether to delete the entire comment or just censor the offensive section. As representatives of a university that encourages conversation and free speech, moderators must use this power sparingly. Use common sense to identify whether a comment is intentionally hurtful and should be removed, or the comment advances the conversation yet needs censorship of certain derogatory text. Partial Censorship: When part of a comment may be hateful or inappropriate, but the overall context legitimately contributes to the conversation, please edit the original comment and replace the inappropriate text with “REMOVED BY [Your Name].” Then post a reply explaining why the remark was moderated. Deleting: When the entire remark falls under one of the categories below, you can completely delete it. Offensive or Hateful Remarks: Remarks that negatively impact a specific person or group of people. Examples include racist remarks or insults. Personal Information Disclosure: First and last names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, etc. of individuals who did not consent to having their information publicly posted. This excludes someone choosing to post his or her own information online, and also excludes university contact information that is publicly available. Spam or Advertising: Content or links completely un-related to the original post or subsequent comments. Copyright Infringement or Plagiarism: Any content that violates copyright law.

3.2.6. Banning Users If a user has had two or more comments censored or deleted, please contact the administrator for assistance in banning that user. Every case is different and the administrator can select the most appropriate method to address each individual situation. Your administrator will work with you to implement an appropriate response for dealing with abusive commenting, including temporarily increasing the restrictions on commenting for specific blogs or communities.

3.2.7. Post Authorship Identification: We encourage members of our community to post using their first name. Community members may elect to post anonymously using their department name or title, or they may post using their first and last names. Attribution: If posting on behalf of another person, authorship attribution should be easily identifiable so that a reader will not be confused about who the message is from. Forgery / False Identification: If a community member is impersonated online, that comment should be deleted. If appropriate, the posting name can also be changed. If a community member requests that we remove something associated with his or her name we should remove it immediately regardless of who posted it.