How to Moderate Online Discussions

If you are unsure about how to best resolve a situation regarding comment/conversation moderation, contact 
Susan Gill, Director of New Media, 540-231-0946

Comment/conversation moderation

Social media administrators should respond to commenters who express concerns and attempt to address them directly or refer them to a person or department who can.

The structure of your response will vary based on the nature of the social networking platform but it should always be friendly and representative of Virginia Tech’s culture and values.

Not every critique needs a response; some people are just venting frustrations, or they are “trolls” — those who engage in off-topic or inflammatory posts in an attempt to provoke others.

Comments that are inappropriate, offensive, insult or attack, contain illegal suggestions, or use foul language should be removed as allowed by that particular social media platform, as should those that are intentionally repetitive (spam). Keep a log of any comments removed, and most importantly, be consistent with the treatment of all commenters.

Removing posts that have become controversial

Occasionally, you may find that something you’ve posted to your page has taken a life of its own in the comments section. If your audience is staying on-topic and remaining civil as per your community commenting guidelines, it is advisable to let the commenters keep each other in check. If needed, remind commenters about your commenting guidelines.

However, if the conversation seems to be sliding toward only one point of view in a manner that is contrary to the spirit of your post, you may need to make a moderator decision. Please contact Susan Gill, 540-231-0946, to discuss the best course of action.

Example of community commenting guidelines

From Virginia Tech's Facebook page

Virginia Tech welcomes your comments on our Facebook page and encourages interaction among Hokies around the world. We ask that you use the Virginia Tech Principles of Community ( as guidance in your posts and remain true to the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

We review all comments made. Comments may be removed if they are off-topic, defamatory, an unauthorized commercial solicitation, or an attack, or if they contain illegal suggestions or use foul language. We reserve the right to terminate access to the page by repeat offenders.

Please email us at with any concerns about the content on this site. Comments made to this page are the opinions of the authors, not of the university.