If McDonalds, a criticism lightening rod if ever there was one, can do it – so can your company. Here’s a great exchange that took place on the McDonalds Corporate Responsibility Blog last week:

I really appreciate the transparency and efforts you make to deal with the controversial issues surrounding your company… How do you handle those comments which challenge or even are malicious towards McDonalds? How much will you allow? I think it’s important to allow those dissenting voices and yet I also recognize eliminating those who cross the line. Just wondering how you handle this.

And the reply from Bob Langert (McDonald’s Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility):

The purpose of our CSR blog is to have a dialogue on important social and environmental issues. The spirit of our effort is to raise awareness, address complex issues with an open mind, and to illustrate the multiple facets and trade-offs involved with these issues. All viewpoints are part of this, including dissenting voices. What type of comment is inappropriate to post? That’s a judgement I have to make. Basically, I won’t post vulgar, irrelevant or other types of comments that are posted in this spirit. I don’t believe a blog should be used as a campaigning place. Rather, it should be used as a place for civil, smart and constructive exchanges of points of view on how we can do better. With this blog, and others like it, we can elevate the discussion and increase the opportunity for CSR issues to become more mainstream.

Well said, Bob. Now, if you could just ensure that your comment moderation process doesn’t take two days, everything would be perfect.

Update: And then, on November 3rd, I got an email notification that my comment had been responded to. This isn’t exactly what I would call “The Conversation”, because all the levels of security are effectively stalling any kind of discussion – there’s just too much of a time lag between comment being submitted, comment being approved and response being posted – the whole thing has taken over a week. But perhaps that’s the point?