The NY Times has posted a reader Q&A with Digital News Editor Jim Roberts [via CyberJournalist] that contains a lot of interesting information about the operation of the digital side of the paper.
I was struck by the following list of guidelines for readers posting comments on the site so they could avoid having their comments bounced by a moderator. You can see the full version over at the Times, but here’s the shortened version:

  • No profanity. No obscenity.
  • No name calling or insults.
  • Stay on point.
  • Donít bother sending press releases.
  • Donít rage and donít SHOUT.
  • Please use your real name.

These are pretty much the rules that I have adopted in forums I moderate after a few years of painful experience.
Every failure that I’m aware of involving reader generated content on a media site appears to involve a failure of moderation. I’ve come to believe that the biggest mistake that print media make when hosting comments is thinking there is no middle ground between their tightly-edited professional product and anarchy.
However, I also believe there’s more than right way to do this, and it’s a good time for everyone to share information on how to do it. One of my goals for the second half of the year is to come up with some best practices for hosting social media.
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.