What happens when journalists interact with the comments section?

Over a study period of 70 days, the TV station reacted to comments on its Facebook page in one of three ways: a prominent political reporter interacted with commenters; the station, using a generic station logo, interacted; or no one interacted.

The results showed that when a reporter intervened in the comment section, the chance of an uncivil comment – defined as obscene language, name calling, stereotyping and exaggerated arguments – declined by 15 per cent compared to when no one did so.

I’ve been teaching this as best practice for years now – based on experience and anecdotal evidence collected from friends working in full-time community management. Nice to see some research starting to emerge that backs up that experience.