How to create an AdSense-friendly community for user-generated content
Google AdSense has one long-standing policy regarding hate speech and abuse not compatible with AdSense ads. Google has published strategies for compliance their policies.
The following is my advice for restructuring a community to be more compliant with AdSense policies. The tips are based on 15 years of moderation experience.
In general, a word filter is not enough to comply with Google’s policy on hate speech and other prohibited content. The solution may require a five-step approach to gradually rolling out changes that will hopefully transform the posting culture without upsetting members.
Five steps to creating an AdSense-friendly community
- Update the posting guidelines
- Make the guidelines clearly visible
- Set the tone by example
- Gentle and patient moderation
- Introduce a feature to report a post
1. Update the posting guidelines
Update the posting guidelines to clearly prohibit racist language, hate speech, and advocating violence against any person, government, or company.
The posting guidelines are intended to help users understand what is acceptable. It also sets the tone for your entire community. It is important to link to this document from the registration form and make it clear that publication rights are granted provided they comply with the publication guidelines.
If someone violates the posting guidelines, you can reference those guidelines and remind them that posting permissions are granted in exchange for complying with the posting guidelines.
2. Posting guidelines must be prominent
It is not enough to have guidelines for publication. When a new member signs up, the registration area should reference and link to the policy.
Posting in a forum should be understood as a privilege bestowed by the forum on the member in exchange for agreeing to comply with the posting guidelines.
3. Set the tone by example
A moderator must always be patient, polite and courteous.
Therefore, a moderator should never ridicule a member. Ideally, a moderator should be consistently pleasant. The way a moderator behaves becomes the model for how the rest of the community behaves.
4. Gentle and patient moderation
The moderator’s role is not the same as that of a police officer. The role of a facilitator is more that of a servant of the community. The moderator’s job is to support the community by helping new members find their way around, setting the tone for the community by example, and removing spam.
If community moderation is done well, the amount of time spent editing or moderating members will ultimately decrease.
5. Activate the “Report post” function.
The Report a Post feature isn’t just about members reporting bad behavior to moderators. The real point of the Report a Post feature is to give a member the ability to take action against bad behavior without resorting to bad behavior themselves.
Reporting a post gives members options so they don’t have to deal with trolls. You can avoid aggravating a confrontation with a troll by reporting the troll.
The real value of a report a post feature is to help your members have a better experience without having to deal with the bad members.
A side benefit of reporting a post is that members who regularly use this feature tend to make ideal moderators. They are the good members.
There is no freedom of expression in a forum
Trolls tend to believe they have a right to free speech. The US government has laws that protect violations of free speech by the government itself.
But there’s no law that says a person has the right to say whatever they want in your home, business, or web community.
However, parishioners should never be monitored or made to feel that they are being monitored. Excessive moderation of a community can result in members leaving the community.
If you find that you need to change the community post culture, it may need to be done incrementally, starting with updating the post guidelines, changing the culture of the moderation team, and rolling out the changes to the community.
Images from Shutterstock, modified by the author