Steve Radick

I think it’s safe to say that a majority of GovLoopers can be considered “change agents,” in one fashion or another. We’re all here because we learn from one another, we empathize with each other, and we help one another. GovLoop isn’t just a website, it’s a living, breathing, community of people (at least that’s how I see it). And anytime you get that many people involved and interacting with one another, you’re going to happen upon disagreements similar to this, and in some cases, even more divisive. It happens. People are messy and hard to figure out. That’s why I think this issue is less about who was right or who was wrong, and more about how do we use this as an opportunity. I would take this opportunity to remind everyone of one of Wikipedia’s core guidelines -“Don’t Bite the Newcomer,” which has become a core tenet of a lot of online communities. In essence, rather than taking a stand for yourself or for what you believe in, you instead consider the community as a whole and figure out how to help move the entire community ahead.

That’s where I’m coming from – not simply as a user of the GovLoop site, but as a member of the GovLoop community and as someone who has served as a community manager in other situations.

Having said all that, I agree with the blogger AND of GovLoop’s. I’m a staunch supporter of all things free speech and agree that videos shouldn’t have been deleted just because some manager might have potentially not approved.If I’m looking at this in a vacuum, I agree with the blogger.

However, I don’t believe that’s the reason they were removed. GovLoop doesn’t operate like the FCC where if a small group of people complain about something, they’re going to regulate and ban it. I think GovLoop was operating in the best interest of the entire community in removing the post. This is where I agree with GovLoop. While making the stand might have been “right,” they would have also risked winning the battle, but losing the war, inadvertently driving said agency away from social media altogether. The only thing I would have done differently is that I would have liked to see GovLoop and the blogger use this as a teaching opportunity with the government employee and his/her boss. For example, when my firm was reluctant to get on Google+, I sent our POCs the story about Bank of America getting brandjacked, and that resulted in a conversation where they ultimately decided to set one up to avoid that very thing happening to them. I think GovLoop, the blogger, and the government employee should have had that discussion to figure out how to turn this from a potential negative to a net positive.

Taking a “who’s right/ who’s wrong” tone here is the wrong question – we should instead be asking, how we can use this situation to help the government employee advance open government at her agency?