Monday, 13 August 2018

Moderation - and why it is SO vital

It's a funny word, yet another - like forum or post or thread - that the internet has adopted, and changed the original meaning of. But of all the words we use here at HelpHound it is arguably the most important, so what do we mean when we talk or write about 'moderation'?

A quick word about the history of moderation on the Web

Moderators first appeared in forums back in the 1990s, when it became apparent that without them the forums would become empty deserts, all reasonable people having been driven out by trolls and flamers. Their role was - and is - to ensure that codes of conduct are adhered to. 

Moderation - how does it apply to reviews?

Most reviews sites are unmoderated. That is to say: anyone can post virtually anything. You only have to look at Yelp...




...or Trustpilot...







...or even Google...




  Luckily Tim was helped by HelpHound - and this review is now longer showing on Google. There's more on this story - and how HelpHound were able to help the business when the national press had failed -  here.



The issues with the three reviews above? The first (Yelp) and third (Google) were both written by reviewers who had patently never used the businesses they were reviewing. The second (Trustpilot) is alleging illegality without providing any proof.


Moderation at HelpHound

All three reviews would have been challenged by a HelpHound moderator. Not because they are negative in score or content (we are just as likely to challenge a positive review if we think the content merits it), but because the review itself contains sufficient information for us to suspect that our T&Cs have been breached.

Our moderators look to see if a review...

  1. is the genuinely held opinion of a bona fide customer of the business
  2. contains any factual inaccuracies
  3. is potentially misleading
  4. alleges any criminal wrongdoing (theft or deception, for instance)
  5. Uses intemperate language

...and if 2, 3 or 4 applies we will contact both the reviewer and the business before we publish the review. In the case of 5 we simply contact the reviewer and explain that we think their review will be far more powerful if it does not contain expletives. If we have any doubts as to number 1, these are almost always cleared up by asking the reviewer for their point-of-contact at the business and the date of interaction. 

This means that a HelpHound review is, as far as can be reasonably said, genuine, accurate and, by far the most important, a reliable guide for anyone considering using the business.

It also means that businesses can confidently engage with online reviews without that perennial concern: that their reputations will be unfairly damaged by inaccurate or potentially misleading reviews.


It works so well we gave it a name: Resolution™





 Here's a typical example of a HelpHound client - they only had a small handful of reviews before they joined and HelpHound's moderation - Resolution™ - gave them the confidence to fully engage. 


We call the method by which we interact with both business and reviewer Resolution™. There's much more about the nuts and bolts of the process here.

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