What is restricted content ?

Increasingly community participation is becoming an important aspect on most websites. People have thoughts and experiences that they want to share. In this expression of thought, is there something that we call restricted content. Content that makes the legal departments of companies cringe.
While there is a sample code of ethics for people to follow, there is still a need to define what is restricted content and also how a site can work towards ensuring it is free of such content.
Restricted content could be defined in the following four ways:

  1. Confidential Information
  2. Inappropriate Content
  3. Licensed Multimedia
  4. Copyright material other than multimedia

Confidential Information

Documents or information that is covered by some legal document for non disclosure etc would be considered confidential. It would be very difficult to judge, for the site crew, if a specific information provided on the site is confidential or not. This kind of information will likely be reported through a Report Content option on the site. Once reported, the site would need to start removal proceedings including warning the user of this violation.

Inappropriate Content

Spam and other offensive material, Personal Attacks, Offensive language and other such issues would be considered inappropriate. There does not seem to be any foolproof way of technology assisted monitoring. Ensuring a strict watch on proceedings by the site community is possibly more effective. Again an option to report content should be available at all places so that it is easy for people to report content.

Licensed Multimedia

It could be in the form of images from stock libraries such as Corbis, Photo Library and more. It could be in the form of videos from established content providers such as television networks, movie companies etc. It could be training videos, corporate videos etc.
While it may be ok for a participant to hyperlink to the 3rd party content, such content should not be uploaded onto the community site. In the event of a report of such content being uploaded, content removal proceedings should start. In some cases a participant may be asked to clarify the origin of the content and the same should be recorded.

Copyright Material other than multimedia

It could be in the form of paid or subscribed reports from companies such as Forrester, Gartner or other companies. It could be in the form of books from authors. It could be content available on third party sites .
Report Content Option is still the best option to track and remove such content. A paid service such as Copyscape could be signed up to study such content. Manual scan of suspicious content may even be done through Google.

What more can be done?

  • The bottomline is in a community site, the participant is completely responsible to maintain decorum etc. The IP address of the participant could be tracked on each posting. If a person is found to be posting restricted content, then they could be barred from services and eventually there membership to the community could be removed.
  • Signup for professional services such as Copyscape.
  • Remove upload options for multimedia and images in the site. It may depend on the nature of discussions and topics.
  • Periodic review of such activities should be undertaken to constantly enhance this aspect.
  • Maybe even have moderated posting.

I am sure there is much moreĀ  that can be done to have a spirited community with engaging content. What do you think?