Trust the audience. We were asked all the time, mostly by nervous journalists, how we avoided having Backfence become a nasty free-for-all. There were many answers: We installed profanity filters, required registered membership to post or comment, asked members to use their real names and put “report misconduct” buttons on every post and comment. But most of all, we trusted the audience to do the right thingâ€”and invariably it did.
I recently learned an old programming mantra — trust but verify– originated with Ronald Regan. I’m not sure how well it worked for him, but in social media design, it’s the way to go. We baked it in to PublicSquare; you can see when people logged in and who touched what files last, but our permissions look laughably lightweight compared to any CMS (admittedly draconian next to a wiki, but we are aiming to strike a middle road.)
I also wanted to note the required registration on commenting. This is, in my opinion, a good thing. But not widely agreed upon. I’d love to hear if anyone out there has gathered data on this.