As an exchange leader, deciding when and how you will moderate the thoughts your participants share is a critical step in planning your engagement. It is important to respect and acknowledge all the feedback you receive, and at the same time, remove thoughts that are inappropriate or disrespectful or that identify individuals.
This article covers:
We want you to collect honest and useful feedback on important topics, and this requires the trust of both the giver and receiver.
For that reason, we encourage you to remove as few thoughts as possible to maintain a respectful conversation. Removing more thoughts than truly necessary can:
- Decrease the range of perspectives available to inform decisions
- Lead to participants feeling censored
When it comes to removing thoughts from the conversation, we don’t censor lightly and we assume no malice.
Moderation Best Practices
Less is more
Over the years, we’ve helped leaders run enough exchanges to arrive at some (strongly encouraged) best practices for moderating thoughts. As indicated above, the biggest takeaway is that less is more.
We recommend only removing thoughts that:
- Are rude or hurtful to a person or group of people
- Identify individuals (either by name or by affiliation with a small group)
- Don’t answer the question (meaning they are unintelligible or blank - off-topic thoughts are not included in this category)
- Are duplicate thoughts from the same participant.
As with all things, communication is the key to ensuring a successful exchange. Once you decide on your approach, let your participants know. Set expectations before they begin sharing their thoughts and you will have fewer thoughts to moderate - and happier participants.
Keeping an eye on your conversation is important, and you want to make sure you have the right resources in place to manage it. If your topic turns out to be more contentious than you thought, you may want to have someone assigned to check in on your Quick Results section throughout the day and remove thoughts that violate the moderation criteria.
Once you've considered the philosophy and best practices behind moderation, it's time to choose a method.