[Web4lib] Academic libs - allowing anonymous comments on your site?

C Ward Price cprice55 at ivytech.edu
Tue Mar 9 11:35:16 EST 2010

I totally agree with Chester's comment.  As far as language goes, if someone thinks your library all &*#%@^ up, that's how you can display it.  You won't be the one who looks bad.  Based on our experience with online reference (chat, email, etc.), my guess is you won't get as many comments as you're expecting, and most of them will be positive.

I can't understand why librarians are afraid of public comments these days.  I can only think that they are extremely thin-skinned, or are afraid (rightly so?) that they have something to hide.

Ward Price, Librarian
Ivy Tech Community College, Northeast
3800 N. Anthony Blvd
Fort Wayne IN 46805
(260) 480-2033
cprice55 at ivytech.edu

-----Original Message-----

From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org [mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Chester D. Mealer

Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 11:19 AM

To: web4lib at webjunction.org

Subject: Re: [Web4lib] Academic libs - allowing anonymous comments on your site?

Conventional wisdom in the social media world says if you're going to block at all, it should be only on the basis of language. If someone complains about something, acknowledge the complaint, and the difficulty they had, then deal with it and be seen dealing with it. If it is something you cannot, or should not, solve, explain why. The only complaints which hurt, are ones you do nothing about. Additionally automatic language filters will not need staff time to moderate every comment.

We do not currently have commenting on our actual website, but we do allow it on our Facebook page, and the information we post there.

Chester Mealer


Rapides Parish Library

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org [mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Melissa Belvadi
Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2010 11:16 AM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [Web4lib] Academic libs - allowing anonymous comments on your site?

Hello. My library is about to engage in an internal debate regarding

whether we should enable the ability of anonymous users to post comments

to any of the pages of our web site. Our site is based on Drupal, so the

feature is very easy to enable. We are assuming that we will moderate

comments (they don't appear until approved), which is also easy with


I have some practical concerns about how much staff time the moderation

process (including the inevitable internal debates regarding what should

and shouldn't be allowed through) will take up, as well as philosophical

concerns about librarians getting in the business of censoring and what

damage there might be if someone whose post we disallow makes a public

ruckus about how the library is anti-free speech.

But my concerns may be unfounded, so I'd like to hear any experiences,

positive or negative, that other academic libraries may have had doing


Do any of you have anything like this on your sites now? Did you try it

and later remove the feature?

Also if you know of any studies, conference presentations, or the like,

on the subject, pointers would be most appreciated.

Thanks for any help and advice you can provide!


Melissa Belvadi

Emerging Technologies & Metadata Librarian

University of Prince Edward Island

mbelvadi at upei.ca



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