Wednesday, 5 August 2015

LinkedIn Groups: new and troubling behaviours

I am a keen supporter of LinkedIn, involved in many groups, and actively posting and sharing content. I encourage my students to sign up, and regard this space as a highly professional and collaborative platform.

However, there are some changes that have been taking place lately that trouble me.

LinkedIn spent June this year adding a range of - uh - group 'features'. These include axing the group statistics, cutting back the emailers to one thread from some of the groups we belong to, and the persistence of being unable to select post images on our profiles and the chopped nature of what we do get (threads having run for two years with no fix on that one).

But the one that has really got me a bit impassioned is that lots of group discussions are being auto-moved to the promotions tab. I posted a reply to a thread to the Women in Sport Network Group last week containing a link to a Guardian article, to find that it didn't appear in the discussions tab as expected... and just, from the corner of my eye, noted a header box saying that this contained advertising content and had been moved to promotions...! What?!

When I went to in-mail that group manager to explain that my post was not a promotion, the manager was not in-mailable, because they are not one of my immediate connections.

So I went to add another response to an active thread in a second group, and found that my reply (on another matter entirely, not regarding the Guardian article) had been added to the moderation queue for the second group manager: presumably because I had posted 'promotional' material to the first group.

Apparently I am now in the naughty corner. Goodness only knows how long for. I have no idea what the appeals process is, either.

It appears that if you post something legitimate that LinkedIn decides is a promotion, your posts are AUTOMATICALLY slated for moderation. That means that the group manager of EVERY group you are a member of now has your posts added to their moderation queue, and you have no opportunity to participate - despite the auto-move being based on an obviously error-ridden algorithm - until LinkedIn decides to allow you back.

If you are (a) a group manager so can reinstate your posts you are OK, or (b) if you are connected to all the group managers for the groups you want to post to and (c) then email those other managers and ask them to moderate your posts until LinkedIn lets you out of the naughty corner, you can continue to post.

For those of us who post often and enjoy the discussion, it is a serious limitation.

In the groups I manage, I have gone in, found the settings, and turned this 'facility' off. I, for one, would like the auto-move function to be (a) clearly communicated to all LinkedIn group managers and members, and (b) be set to an auto-off setting, rather than an auto-on setting.

All group managers need to go in and untick the promotions and job boxes in their group settings. Please keep an eye in your groups on what is being auto-moved, and move erroneously-moved posts back.

LinkedIn's algorithm in this space gets an epic fail from me.


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