How Many Facebook Groups Do You Belong To?
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with like-minded people.
Whether you belong to 1 or 6000 Facebook groups – that's the limit of the number of Facebook group one individual can belong to, just in case you were wondering – Facebook group membership can be beneficial to you in many ways.
There are Facebook groups for the purpose of
- selling items
- job searches
- local politics
- connecting with high school friends
- family group chats
- industry-related news
- neighborhood watch communication
- local schools information sharing
- teacher-parent organizations
- alumni organizations
- connecting with fellow hobby enthusiasts
- geographical location
- solo traveling tips
- couch surfing
- restaurant tips
- learning a language
and so on and so forth!
Let's be clear! Membership in any Facebook group is a privilege and s/he who started the group, thus ‘owns' the group, is the one responsible for creating, setting up and enforcing any of their own Facebook group rules.
What happens when people break the group rules or get upset with one another?
The group owner (or other admin) will need to take action and provide a solution to the problem at hand.
One such solution is closing Facebook comments.
However, people can get pretty upset when they feel that they are censored or silenced altogether.
Today we explore what to do when a Facebook group conversation gets out of hand and when closing Facebook comments is the best solution to a problem within that group.
Do You Run Your Own Facebook Group?
Are you a group owner or a group admin?
If you are the owner of the group; you started the Facebook group and you have grown it, you understand the feeling of it being your ‘baby', your ‘brainchild' and you are most likely emotionally as well as financially invested in this Facebook group.
If you are a Facebook group admin, you've most likely been drafted by a friend or colleague to help you out with group management, or you are a paid community manager for that Facebook group.
Either way, you have access to the back-end of the group and you are working with other group admins to share content, vet and admit new members and to monitor the group's conversations.
Moderating a Facebook Group Takes Time and Effort – It's a Job!
Moderating any Facebook group isn't as easy as it may seem from the outside looking in.
The more members the Facebook group has, the more active members there are, the more conversations are happening to be monitored, the more new members will want to join the group! As the group grows, so will the need for additional moderators and stricter rule enforcement. Filtering out spammers before they have access to the group, or preventing people from spamming once they are in the group are two very important tasks.
This can be a full-time job, depending on the nature and size of the group.
Check out the four important roles community managers fill, whether they are Facebook group moderators, or active as community members on other platforms.
These tasks include
No matter how closely you monitor your Facebook group, there is always a chance a conversation goes into an unexpected and then sometimes unpleasant direction. What should be done when that happens?
What to Do When Conversations In Your Facebook Group Go Sideways
If you are an experienced community manager, you are monitoring your Facebook groups pretty closely. Most likely, you are able to spot ‘potential trouble posts' from afar.
It's important to keep an eye on such posts, as you never know who might come and take over the thread.
When conversations go sideways, meaning the conversation is going nowhere or is going south really fast, use this three-step approach.
- Identify yourself as a monitoring admin within the thread.
- Use the comment ‘reply' button to ask specific people to clarify answers, comments or to redirect the conversation.
- Evaluate the value of the conversation for the group members.
If the conversation topic is good enough to keep, you need to make a decision on whether closing Facebook comments is a good idea vs. keeping it open for more people to add to the on-going conversation.
Who Has The Last Word on Closing Facebook Comments?
Ultimately, the group owner and/or main moderator of the group is the one who will make a decision on whether it's better to delete a thread, leave as-is or to be closing Facebook comments for that thread.
We usually recommend the decision be made collectively, or at least that these type of decisions are communicated to the rest of the moderator team. Showing a united front is important, especially when dealing with disgruntled group members.
It is important to be in daily contact with other group moderators. Whether you do that in a Slack channel, a Facebook Messenger chat, a secret Facebook group or via email. Not only will your fellow moderators need to know that a thread was deleted or closed off for commenting, but they also need to know the reason why so that when complaints come in, they can explain the broken rule or the train of thought behind the moderator's action.
It is not required that you give a group member an explanation as to why their post was deleted or why commenting was turned off, however, being transparent in these types of situation is always a good idea!
When Closing Off Comments Is a Good Idea!
When closing off comments, you will find members who are instantly offended.
You might hear
“we were having a great conversation” or
“you are taking away my right to free speech” or
“if am going to leave this group if you keep censoring what we say and post” or
“what rule did I break now?”
None of these questions or observations should sway you to opening the comments back up!
Closing Facebook comments is a good idea when
- you have a topic that is posted weekly and you want to start fresh the following week
- the same question is asked daily – just refer to an older thread and close comments
- adults aren't acting like adults online and feelings are getting hurt when thing get personal
- it feels more like a playground with quarrelsome kiddies
- initial information shared was good enough to stay, before the conversation turned
- you've posted a contest or offer and the deadline has passed
To Close or Not To Close, That is a Good Question!
Only you can ultimately decide what happens within your Facebook group.
Go with what you think the majority of your members want and will stand behind. Being the ‘law' is not always pleasant. However, when you can't decide what to do and thus take no action, in effect you are deciding not to act, and that will have repercussions on its own.
Have you ever had to close off comments in your Facebook Group?
Do tell what happened!
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.