Matt Thompson summarizes good practices in discussing race online as practiced at Code Switch. The key is heavy moderation.
– Ask selected people who posted valuable comments to expand them into full posts
– Delete comments and revoke privileges: “if we delete your comment, it’s not necessarily because we think the comment is “bad” or “wrong,” or because we want to suppress your point of view. Most often, it’s because the comment doesn’t get at the topic we’re aiming to discuss at that moment, in this space. We are trying to curate a discussion that is intelligent, unique, and novel — a discussion that moves us — and that may require removing comments we think are not directly contributing to the focus of the conversation at that time.”
– As moderators be “open about what we’re finding and what we’re struggling with”
– Use the right technology – have functionalities to temporarily suspend users, to easily notify users about their temporary loss of privileges, to “context for administrators reviewing moderation decisions after the fact”
– Accept that one cannot satisfy everyone: “our judgments about which comments meet the bar or whether someone is participating in these conversations in good faith are necessarily subjective”