There is an easy solution for serious topics like that. You indeed have the danger to encounterof encountering trolls and flame wars, nevertheless you have the advantage to beof being on the internet. Nobody forces you, nor others, to look up certain content. So you could handle it like Reddit did (before Ellen Pao took over).

That's the easy solution but there is a more complex aswellone as well.

One basic step into the direction of controversial topics is to ask why these topics should be discussed on your site.

  • Why do users think that your community is ready to discuss about sensitive matters?
  • What is the advantage of discussing it on your site?
  • Do users think it might help your community to develop?

These are key question you should consider before even starting a discussion toon any topic. As an administrator, moderator or staff member, it's your job to keep the site clean of harassment and trolls. You want to build up a community suitable for many people. I always ask myself these questions before introducing new discussions so I can avoid unnecessary disputes.

To determine if your users are ready or not, you should ask youyourself the following sub-questions:

  • Can I rely on userusers reporting trolls?
  • Can I rely on userusers who keep up a civil discussion?
  • Is the age of my community appropriate for the topic?

The last one is really important for youyour decision: You don't want to discuss laws in a young community. Your users aren't ready for it since they most likely don't know what to say.

Probably it's worthworthwhile to introduce the discussion because of certain circumstances. Example: You want to discuss the issue of (cyber-)bullying in a young community because they are faced with it. This will most likely hardenstrengthen the bonds between your users. However, never lose sight of your real goal: You want to make people happy, as many as possible. So, even though you and your staff like the topic, if it's not beneficial for your community, you shouldn't begin a discussion.

Let's imagine you decided to get the ballsball rolling: Always consider that you have to put extra effort into a sensitive discussion. You have to clean up some insulting posts and have to calm both sides - if you feel like the work part is bigger than the actual benefit of it, close the discussion and concentrate on something else.

It doesn't need to be you who definedefines the playground but someone who understands the complexity of the topic. You don't want your discussion to go into the wrong direction, the so-called off-topic. It should stay on-topic on its own as long as possible. To ensure this,

This is a tough thing to do. We don't live in North Korea - censorship is referred as a bad thing here. Users don't want their post to be edited. Keep this in mind.

However, by entering the playground, they heard your warnings, hence you're legally allowed to take actions against anyone who leaves the playground and hurts your warnings. This simplesimply means that you should strictly censor insulting posts but refrain from censoring offensive posts. Trolls usually tend to clearly insult someone for not sharing their point of view, nevertheless there are non-trolls who are just trying to convince other people. Maybe they were too quick when they pressed "Submit" and just invited some misunderstandings. There is no problem with it since these users usually try to make clear what they actually meant. Normally, you can tell when a user is trying to annoy other users.

Yes, there may be users who think that this isn't right. But you can tell them that you want acclimate a good community where everybody is warmly welcomed. If you side with a mob of users, not everyone is warmly welcomed - at least that's what new users might think. By participating in a discussion about a sensitive topic, you can hardenstrengthen your bonds towith some users but you simultaneously weaken the bonds to users of another opinion. There might be users who feel suppressed because of this - no jokes on this!

There is an easy solution for serious topics like that. You indeed have the danger to encounter trolls and flame wars, nevertheless you have the advantage to be on the internet. Nobody forces you, nor others, to look up certain content. So you could handle it like Reddit did (before Ellen Pao took over).

That's the easy solution but there is a more complex aswell.

One basic step into the direction controversial topics is to ask why these topics should be discussed on your site.

  • Why do users think that your community is ready to discuss about sensitive matters?
  • What is the advantage of discussing it on your site?
  • Do users think it might help your community to develop?

These are key question you should consider before even starting a discussion to any topic. As an administrator, moderator or staff member, it's your job to keep the site clean of harassment and trolls. You want to build up a community suitable for many people. I always ask myself these questions before introducing new discussions so I can avoid unnecessary disputes.

To determine if your users are ready or not, you should ask you following sub-questions:

  • Can I rely on user reporting trolls?
  • Can I rely on user who keep up a civil discussion?
  • Is the age of my community appropriate for the topic?

The last one is really important for you decision: You don't want to discuss laws in a young community. Your users aren't ready for it since they most likely don't know what to say.

Probably it's worth to introduce the discussion because of certain circumstances. Example: You want to discuss the issue of (cyber-)bullying in a young community because they are faced with it. This will most likely harden the bonds between your users. However, never lose sight of your real goal: You want to make people happy, as many as possible. So, even though you and your staff like the topic, if it's not beneficial for your community, you shouldn't begin a discussion.

Let's imagine you decided to get the balls rolling: Always consider that you have to put extra effort into a sensitive discussion. You have to clean up some insulting posts and have to calm both sides - if you feel like the work part is bigger than the actual benefit of it, close the discussion and concentrate on something else.

It doesn't need to be you who define the playground but someone who understands the complexity of the topic. You don't want your discussion to go into the wrong direction, the so-called off-topic. It should stay on-topic on its own as long as possible. To ensure this,

This is a tough thing to do. We don't live in North Korea - censorship is referred as a bad thing here. Users don't want their post to be edited. Keep this in mind.

However, by entering the playground, they heard your warnings, hence you're legally allowed to take actions against anyone who leaves the playground and hurts your warnings. This simple means that you should strictly censor insulting posts but refrain from censoring offensive posts. Trolls usually tend to clearly insult someone for not sharing their point of view, nevertheless there are non-trolls who are just trying to convince other people. Maybe they were too quick when they pressed "Submit" and just invited some misunderstandings. There is no problem with it since these users usually try to make clear what they actually meant. Normally, you can tell when a user is trying to annoy other users.

Yes, there may be users who think that this isn't right. But you can tell them that you want acclimate a good community where everybody is warmly welcomed. If you side with a mob of users, not everyone is warmly welcomed - at least that's what new users might think. By participating in a discussion about a sensitive topic, you can harden your bonds to some users but you simultaneously weaken the bonds to users of another opinion. There might be users who feel suppressed because of this - no jokes on this!

There is an easy solution for serious topics like that. You indeed have the danger of encountering trolls and flame wars, nevertheless you have the advantage of being on the internet. Nobody forces you, nor others, to look up certain content. So you could handle it like Reddit did (before Ellen Pao took over).

That's the easy solution but there is a more complex one as well.

One basic step into the direction of controversial topics is to ask why these topics should be discussed on your site.

  • Why do users think that your community is ready to discuss sensitive matters?
  • What is the advantage of discussing it on your site?
  • Do users think it might help your community to develop?

These are key question you should consider before even starting a discussion on any topic. As an administrator, moderator or staff member, it's your job to keep the site clean of harassment and trolls. You want to build up a community suitable for many people. I always ask myself these questions before introducing new discussions so I can avoid unnecessary disputes.

To determine if your users are ready or not, you should ask yourself the following sub-questions:

  • Can I rely on users reporting trolls?
  • Can I rely on users who keep up a civil discussion?
  • Is the age of my community appropriate for the topic?

The last one is really important for your decision: You don't want to discuss laws in a young community. Your users aren't ready for it since they most likely don't know what to say.

Probably it's worthwhile to introduce the discussion because of certain circumstances. Example: You want to discuss the issue of (cyber-)bullying in a young community because they are faced with it. This will most likely strengthen the bonds between your users. However, never lose sight of your real goal: You want to make people happy, as many as possible. So, even though you and your staff like the topic, if it's not beneficial for your community, you shouldn't begin a discussion.

Let's imagine you decided to get the ball rolling: Always consider that you have to put extra effort into a sensitive discussion. You have to clean up some insulting posts and have to calm both sides if you feel like the work part is bigger than the actual benefit of it, close the discussion and concentrate on something else.

It doesn't need to be you who defines the playground but someone who understands the complexity of the topic. You don't want your discussion to go into the wrong direction, the so-called off-topic. It should stay on-topic on its own as long as possible. To ensure this,

This is a tough thing to do. We don't live in North Korea censorship is referred as a bad thing here. Users don't want their post to be edited. Keep this in mind.

However, by entering the playground, they heard your warnings, hence you're legally allowed to take actions against anyone who leaves the playground and hurts your warnings. This simply means that you should strictly censor insulting posts but refrain from censoring offensive posts. Trolls usually tend to clearly insult someone for not sharing their point of view, nevertheless there are non-trolls who are just trying to convince other people. Maybe they were too quick when they pressed "Submit" and just invited some misunderstandings. There is no problem with it since these users usually try to make clear what they actually meant. Normally, you can tell when a user is trying to annoy other users.

Yes, there may be users who think that this isn't right. But you can tell them that you want acclimate a good community where everybody is warmly welcomed. If you side with a mob of users, not everyone is warmly welcomed - at least that's what new users might think. By participating in a discussion about a sensitive topic, you can strengthen your bonds with some users but you simultaneously weaken the bonds to users of another opinion. There might be users who feel suppressed because of this no jokes on this!

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There is an easy solution for serious topics like that. You indeed have the danger to encounter trolls and flame wars, nevertheless you have the advantage to be on the internet. Nobody forces you, nor others, to look up certain content. So you could handle it like Reddit did (before Ellen Pao took over).

You are on the internet. You are to decide what you see when, therefore you are to decide if you either participate in this sensitive discussion or if you not. Be aware that statements might offend your point of view.

That's the easy solution but there is a more complex aswell.

One basic step into the direction controversial topics is to ask why these topics should be discussed on your site.

  • Why do users think that your community is ready to discuss about sensitive matters?
  • What is the advantage of discussing it on your site?
  • Do users think it might help your community to develop?

These are key question you should consider before even starting a discussion to any topic. As an administrator, moderator or staff member, it's your job to keep the site clean of harassment and trolls. You want to build up a community suitable for many people. I always ask myself these questions before introducing new discussions so I can avoid unnecessary disputes.

  1. Why do users think that your community is ready to discuss about sensitive matters?

This usually is the question on which you can determine if introducing the discussion is worth it or not. Especially in younger communities, I tend to avoid discussions on the community platform because I know that it can get messy and tense real quick. In older communities, I know that there are people feeling responsible for keeping up a civil discussion. I can rely on valuable reports.

To determine if your users are ready or not, you should ask you following sub-questions:

  • Can I rely on user reporting trolls?
  • Can I rely on user who keep up a civil discussion?
  • Is the age of my community appropriate for the topic?

The last one is really important for you decision: You don't want to discuss laws in a young community. Your users aren't ready for it since they most likely don't know what to say.

  1. What is the advantage of discussing it on your site?

Probably it's worth to introduce the discussion because of certain circumstances. Example: You want to discuss the issue of (cyber-)bullying in a young community because they are faced with it. This will most likely harden the bonds between your users. However, never lose sight of your real goal: You want to make people happy, as many as possible. So, even though you and your staff like the topic, if it's not beneficial for your community, you shouldn't begin a discussion.

  1. Do users think it might help your community to develop?

It's useless to start off a discussion when everybody's trying to enforce his point of view. This will only tempt people to be trolls. If your users don't think it will help the community in any way, then you simply shouldn't do it. Ask your users if they really think whether it's possible to keep up a civil discussion about the particular topic in your community.

Let's imagine you decided to get the balls rolling: Always consider that you have to put extra effort into a sensitive discussion. You have to clean up some insulting posts and have to calm both sides - if you feel like the work part is bigger than the actual benefit of it, close the discussion and concentrate on something else.


Let's cover the real question here, now: You've decided to start the discussion, what to do next? I've been a moderator in several communities and over the years I slowly developed a system to introduce new (sensitive) topics.

  • Define the playground.
  • Speak out warnings.
  • Control it.
  • Don't bother with it personally.

Define the playground.

It doesn't need to be you who define the playground but someone who understands the complexity of the topic. You don't want your discussion to go into the wrong direction, the so-called off-topic. It should stay on-topic on its own as long as possible. To ensure this,

  • someone introduces the topic,
  • talks about the problems,
  • and asks some questions.

The questions are the key here. If you don't define questions in a topic, people will start to share their personal opinions and eventually start from the beginning over and over again. There most likely won't be any progress in the discussion. If you ask questions however, your users have a guide through the topic. When you now picked someone to lead the topic by defining it in the beginning, this is the person who will keep on asking questions.

Speak out some warnings.

Here goes your rule set. By defining your content playground, it's now time to define the rules. If your users (children) leave the topic (playground), you kindly remind them of your pre-defined rules in this matter. Tell your users what they are allowed to post and what not.

Control it.

This is a tough thing to do. We don't live in North Korea - censorship is referred as a bad thing here. Users don't want their post to be edited. Keep this in mind.

However, by entering the playground, they heard your warnings, hence you're legally allowed to take actions against anyone who leaves the playground and hurts your warnings. This simple means that you should strictly censor insulting posts but refrain from censoring offensive posts. Trolls usually tend to clearly insult someone for not sharing their point of view, nevertheless there are non-trolls who are just trying to convince other people. Maybe they were too quick when they pressed "Submit" and just invited some misunderstandings. There is no problem with it since these users usually try to make clear what they actually meant. Normally, you can tell when a user is trying to annoy other users.

Don't bother with it personally.

Okay, I lied. This probably is even more tough. Even if the discussion is the subject you wrote your thesis about, please refrain from participating in it. Even if you try to be objective as much as possible, some users are going to see misunderstandings. These misunderstandings hurt your relation to them. However, if you don't participate, you can't be judged.

Yes, there may be users who think that this isn't right. But you can tell them that you want acclimate a good community where everybody is warmly welcomed. If you side with a mob of users, not everyone is warmly welcomed - at least that's what new users might think. By participating in a discussion about a sensitive topic, you can harden your bonds to some users but you simultaneously weaken the bonds to users of another opinion. There might be users who feel suppressed because of this - no jokes on this!