LinkedIn has emailed moderators of various groups to expect some changes to LinkedIn Groups which apparently will happen “in a few weeks”.
The biggest changes are the addition of unlisted groups and what LinkedIn describes as “content filtering”. Previously groups themselves could be private, though their existence would show in a search of groups. The content of groups was able to be set as either private or public and viewable only by group members. Under the announced restructuring, it appears that open groups will no longer be offered by LinkedIn. Under content filtering is appears that LinkedIn may begin controlling how frequently certain content appears in your group feed, similar to how Facebook’s edgerank newsfeed algorithm filters posts and controls which friends’ content is seen first.
Here’s the LinkedIn FAQ regarding these changes:
We want everyone to get the most out of every visit to LinkedIn Groups. To that end, we’ve simplified several group features to ensure that groups will always be the most trustworthy place for you to gather with like-minded professionals. The new Groups changes will make sure that the LinkedIn experience is easier to understand and navigate for all members.
We’re making the upcoming changes below after listening to member feedback and studying internal data on how LinkedIn Groups are used. These changes will be released in the next couple of weeks.
Changes to Groups Features
Standard and Unlisted Groups
Your feedback has been clear: there are too many confusing settings in LinkedIn Groups. We’ve looked at every part of the Groups experience to see where we can simplify, starting with the settings.
Now, all groups are either Standard or Unlisted.
Unlisted Groups don’t show up in search results and only the group’s owner and manager can invite members to the group.
Standard Groups do show up in search results and any member can invite any of their 1st degree connections to join.
If your group currently has public conversations or is free to join, it’ll become a Standard Group.
Learn more about the differences between Standard and Unlisted groups.
All Groups Are Now Private Groups
Our research has shown that professional conversations are most effective in a private trusted space, so conversations in groups won’t be visible until you’ve joined the group.
All Groups Are Now Members-Only Groups
Joining a LinkedIn group now requires either an invitation or approval of your request. Our data has shown that open groups have historically attracted a larger percentage of low-quality conversations. Members-only groups have created significantly more participation and conversations than others (up to five times more), indicating that members feel more confident contributing in these types of groups.
Timeliness and high engagement go hand-in-hand and are key to a successful group.
To ensure groups are effective as timely conversation forums, conversations will now be posted instantly to a group without the need for manager approval.
Group owners, managers, and moderators can still remove off-topic conversations and place members in moderation.
Other group members can also flag inappropriate comments and conversations after they’ve been posted.
Not all moderation is going away. According to LinkedIn:
We want to make sure that helpful contributions aren’t affected by this process. Keeping in mind member feedback, we’ve also started enhancing our system for detecting promotional and low-quality content. When we identify a new conversation as low-quality or promotional, we are limiting the distribution of that content. Group owners, managers, and moderators will be alerted when we detect low-quality content and the content will be moved to a moderation queue. The group’s owners, managers, and moderators can approve the content to be distributed if it’s appropriate for the group. Similarly, if other group members report a conversation as spam, the distribution of that content will be limited. If members are repeatedly violating the rules, the distribution of subsequent posts will be limited for a specific duration of time.
Better Content Filtering
LinkedIn has improved the filtering of spammy and low-quality content so that promotional conversations stay out of the conversation feed and conversations can happen around more relevant topics.
Note: Job listings and job conversations posted to the main conversation feed are automatically moved to the Jobs tab.
Learn more about job postings on the Jobs tab.
Removal of Promotions Tab
General member feedback indicates that promotional content in LinkedIn Groups isn’t a valuable experience, as it can quickly lead to spam. In an effort to focus on quality conversations, we’ve removed the Promotions tab.
Any new promotional posts will go to the moderation queue for the owners, managers, and moderators to approve.
Removal of Subgroups
We recognize that subgroups were important to the organization of some of our larger groups. However, for the majority of our members, the experience was confusing. In order to surface these subgroups to members and to help these subgroups grow, they will now be treated as their own independent groups.
Group owners will no longer be able to create subgroups.
If you’re the owner of a parent group with subgroups, you may wish to rename your subgroups. Try including links to these subgroups in the About page of the parent group to maintain the hierarchical structure.
The About page is populated from the Group Information page, found under the Manage tab. You can enter your related groups in the Description section on the Group Information page.
LinkedIn Groups iOS Mobile App
You can follow conversations on the go with the new Groups mobile app for iOS. You can receive push notifications for conversations in your groups so you stay updated on what’s happening in your community.
Note: The mobile app is currently only available on iOS, but an Android version will also be available soon.
Posting Images in Conversations
We heard your feedback about posting images in conversations. You can now make conversations as engaging as possible by posting images to any new conversations.
When you start a conversation, you can click the Image icon in the lower left corner of the conversation window to upload your image.
Currently, you can’t post images in comment replies to a conversation.
Member Approval in Standard Groups
When a member requests to join a Standard Group, their connections in the group can approve the request. Group owners and managers can also approve any request to join.
Mentions in Group Conversations
You can now reference other group members and bring them into a conversation by typing “@” followed by the group member’s name.
Click their name from the dropdown menu to mention them in your conversation. This notifies others to view and participate, driving more engagement around your conversations.
You can mention a group member when you start a conversation or when you comment on an existing conversation.
Groups Highlights and Email Digests
We’ve created a digest of the most popular and recent conversations to cut down on emails from your groups and help you follow the most interesting conversations.
You’ll also find your personal Highlights page within LinkedIn Groups. Highlights are a snapshot of the most important conversations happening from all the groups you’ve joined.