The Online Sheriff

ESWN translates an article from Southern Metropolitan Daily which includes an interview with Liao Haibiao, the online “Sheriff” of “Yong’an Police Affairs Room” online forum set up by the Yong’an police station in Foshan city, Guangdong province:

Q: In the beginning, netizens didn’t trust you. But now netizens await your information. How did the attitudes of the netizens change so radically?
A: I had to actually solve problems for citizens. When I can solve problems in a timely and effective manner while being monitored by society, the netizens will see the results. We had repeated complaints about the Baiyan Street problem. After we cleaned it up, those complainants are now our loyal fans. They often provide tips for us now.

Q: If you can’t solve the problem quickly, how can you account yourself to the netizens?
A: We have a set of procedures. I gather netizen complaints and I forward them to the police leaders, who will assign the tasks to their staff. Usually, an answer will be available within 5 days. If the matter isn’t resolved by then, we will make a progress report. Most netizens will understand and they know that many complaints cannot be solved immediately.


Q: What are the qualifications for being the Yong’an sheriff?
A: You must be familiar with the Internet, and you must understand the various aspects of police business. You must be able to handle netizen opinions appropriately. If the netizens get emotionally excited, you must not respond with nasty language. After all, the Yong’an sheriff represents the image of the police station. Also, you have to cope with plenty of overtime work. Although you can work from home, it will still take up a lot of your personal time. You must learn to sacrifice.


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