EDITORIAL: Social media management and you
We sometimes receive feedback from readers on social media who ask why their comments have been deleted and what our moderating strategy is. Those readers sometimes accuse us of censorship.
Generally, if your comment has been removed or if you have been blocked from our social media it was done to keep discussions civil and productive. We try to keep the comment section on our website and Facebook as a forum for intelligent discussion and a tool to gauge reader feedback.
When Central Michigan Life decides to remove a comment, it has nothing to do with the opinions presented and is used as a last resort. Our goal is not to favor one side of an argument over the other, but when commenters begin to attack an individual, they cross the line. We also don’t tolerate personal attacks on reporters, editors or any students.
We love having an open comments section and need to hear from you. Because of it, our stories have become places for longer, deeper discussions where writers and readers both participate.
Sometimes deleting comments or banning users has prompted charges of censorship or accusations that the university told us to delete critical comments. Neither of these are true.
If we were a government entity that attempted to pass a law preventing you from expressing yourself, that would be censorship. If you showed up in our living room attempting to say the same thing, we'd have the right to throw you out. The First Amendment forbids Congress from passing laws that abridge freedom of speech on a national level; it does not apply to our right to manage our own student-run social media presence.
While we welcome criticism of our work, it is best to send complaints about our reporting and presentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. That is also the way to quickly point out grammar, spelling and factual errors in stories.
Our editors have taken control of posting our content to social media this semester, which is a new process with a learning curve.
We may not always be able to catch and delete everything that might not fit under our guidelines. Just because an offensive comment made it past us doesn't mean we approved of it, and doesn't mean we won't delete similar comments in the future.
Thank you for participating in discussions on our website, Facebook page, and on Twitter and Instagram. Please keep it civil.