Digital Publishing
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Inside the FT’s approach to online comments

Lilah Raptopoulos, community manager at the FT, explains how the newsroom approaches editorial projects and stories in a way that involves readers from the beginning

The Financial Times published a series called ‘Management’s missing women’ in April, a collection of interviews, data analysis and reader contributions looking at how women still occupy a fraction of managerial positions in big companies.

When the first story in the series was published, the tone of the comments people left about the gender pay gap “started off a bit condescending”, said Lilah Raptopoulos, the FT’s community manager, who focuses on on-site reader engagement.

But instead of just deleting the inappropriate or offensive comments or ignoring them, Raptopoulos and the team of moderators at the FT jumped in to remind people about the commenting guidelines of the organisation.

When a comment did get deleted, moderators would explain why that decision has been made and that they should be more respectful towards their peers. The tone shifted quickly and led to many contributions from female readers working in finance.

“It reminds people that there is an active presence [in the comments] and that we care about civility and the conversation staying productive,” she said.

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