Posted in #HCSM

How do you manage misbehavior in online health communities?

Important guidelines on how to handle undesirable behavior in online communities

Colleen Young

Excerpt from JMIR publication Community Management That Works: How to Build and Sustain a Thriving Online Health Community

Man showing expression of surprise, aghastMany health organizations are concerned about disclosure of personal health or other sensitive information and the proliferation of misinformation. However, if your community has clear policies, proactive community management, as well as active moderation and community participation these concerns are largely unfounded for online communities associated with reputable organizations. Some communities, though, exist for the sole purpose of encouraging unhealthy behaviors, such as pro-anorexia groups [1]. I want to focus on online communities that support healthy behaviors and how they manage transgressions of their terms of use.

Clearly stated policies make it easy for moderators to modify—and in some cases remove—posts that contravene terms of use, such as commercial postings, advertisements, or impersonations; posts that relate to illegal activity; those that contain disrespectful language, etc [2,3]…

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