Leap Year Lesson #355: You’re Likely Being Fair if Both Sides Accuse You of Favoritism

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Justice
Tags: , , , ,

Blind JusticeVery few days go by without someone complaining to me about something happening in our company’s internal social network.  Usually it’s about a specific discussion that someone takes offense at or because they think a rule or two have been broken that requires my intervention as community manager.  That goes with the territory of managing a community of 23,000 people that posts over 1,000 messages a day.  Given the activity level, the number of complaints is remarkably low.

An interesting phenomenon of late, however, is the complaint that suggests I don’t moderate political discussions fairly – that I allow people on the left (or on the right) to get away with more than the other side.  The funny part of that complaint is that I hear it from both sides.  The fact that both sides complain tells me I’m being as fair as I know how to be.

While there is some subjectivity to moderating online communities, there are also specific rules in place that I have communicated and that I follow.  The clear-cut rules when broken are the easy ones to enforce.  It’s the more subjective guideline such as showing respect to fellow employees that is up to interpretation and more challenging to enforce.  These are also the ones where people are more likely to disagree with my decisions.

I have no fantasy and no goal of trying to please everyone.  My goal is to do what I think is in the best interests of the community and the business.  As was mentioned by my manager earlier today at a team get-together, you have to develop a pretty thick skin as a community manager given all that comes at you.

If you are in a role that occasionally requires you to make a judgment between sides, then you know the situation I’m in.  Heck, even a parent of two kids knows that situation, much less anyone in a work-related role that calls for mediation between two parties.  As challenging as the role may be at times, there is some comfort in leap year lesson #355: You’re likely being fair if both sides accuse you of favoritism.

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