Moderators for large platform tell all, reveal good will, frustration, marginalization


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Well, these snippets say everything about the companies’ cultures, where just making your motto “Don’t be evil” is confused with actually having a culture of not being evil. Product (read: profit) rules above all, and the inclination is to be oblivious, if you’re an exec trying to work their way up the corporate ladder.

Not surprising in the least, in other words, because frankly, it’s like this in pretty much every quarter in our late-stage “capitalism.”

Sort of like how a blog can rail against an increasingly monopolistic very large online retailer every chance it gets, while still getting paid to send readers there to shop, not seeing the inherent contradiction in this state of affairs…


Content platforms set out to get rid of expression’s gatekeepers, not become them.

And that, right there, is where they made their category error. If you’re running a platform where you let anyone besides the owner present his speech, you need gatekeeping mechanisms in the form of a stylebook (for employees of the platform) and moderators and codes of conduct and a system that supports the moderators (for commenters). There are laws that protect site owners (and by extension allow commenters to do their thing), but this is one place that a platform owner can’t cut corners.

Instead, the feckless owners of these Silicon Valley platforms did just that. They fell back on that combination of techno-utopianism and Libertarianism that forms the Californian Ideology to abdicate their responsibility in order to get what they really wanted: larger user numbers (“who cares if Nazis are on the platform?”), low churn-out (“we can’t afford to lose Nazi users”), and lots of user engagement (“Nazi users stimulate debate”), all of which lead to big revenues in an advertising-based business model. Their “freeze peach” mantra also ensured they didn’t have to shell out a lot to the cost centres of moderators and well-designed moderation systems, which pleased the shareholders.

For the most part, the founders of these platforms (mostly white and “model-minority” Asian straight males) and their senior product and marketing people had never experienced the kind of extreme racist and sexist bullying and harassment that we see on their sites. Sure, they may have been bullied for being nerds, but the nerds had triumphed so it was the End of History they heard about when they were growing up (the same thing that made not only Communism but also fascism a thing of the past, amirite?). For all they talked about tolerance for different views, they were totally ignorant of Popper’s Paradox and how they might have to handle it.

And so, here we are, with the poor schlubs in the article playing Sisyphusian games of whack-a-mole against millions of trolls and arseholes using poorly thought-out systems and constantly being undermined by their co-workers and superiors. They have my sympathies.


Ya, but sometimes moderators just be “Poopers of Parties”

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