The man who monitored 40 million comments a year


What a thankless job monitoring Reddit must be… if you moderate too much, you’re gonna have Godwin’s Law invoked on you inside of 5 minutes, and if you moderate too little, you’re going to get called all kinds of names for “defending” things simply because you haven’t deleted them yet. I don’t envy that job for a second.

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And these two classes often overlap to a pretty significant degree.

Wow, I absolutely love the idea of this service. I think I could both use their services and volunteer for them. There have been tons of times I’ve just walked away from situations because I didn’t feel like I should be so insistent. I rationalize with “Not worth my time” but really standing up for myself just makes me super uncomfortable. On the other hand, standing up for someone else doesn’t make me the slightest bit uncomfortable, and I’m sure I can be hell to deal with.

What I love about the idea the most, though, is that I think that currently bad customer service is a rewarding strategy for businesses. The goal of customer service is to make people go away. Whether that’s by appeasing them or frustrating them doesn’t matter. I like the idea that whenever a company decides it would be easier to frustrate than to appease they would suddenly have to deal with someone who is harder to frustrate. I want people who are often frustrated by customer service to have a weapon to turn this into an arms race. What great about this potential arms race is that it’s terrible for the company who is sinking time into it, but, done properly, it’s actually delightful for the person who is fighting against them. How cathartic to get to be completely inconsiderate and feel good about doing it!


Do difficult, stressful work that helps people in a big way? Why should you be paid for that? Welcome to the 21c.

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I know, I used to volunteer on crisis hotlines which basically fits the description you just gave. Unfortunately work pays based on: 1) how much it enriches the already wealthy; and 2) how little people want to do it. When it comes to work that is directly about caring about other people, even though it’s stressful, the world just seems to be full of people who feel compelled to do it. I mean, if you are going to go home feeling good about yourself because you genuinely helped people today, then presumably we can subtract the worth of that feeling to you from your paycheck and you’ll still do the job, right?

Thanks capitalism!


In another internet lifetime I moderated a forum with 3-5000 posts a day. It was an utter pain in the ass, but I loved building community by carefully tweaking things. The right rules allow a lot of freedom, but you do have to skirt an edge around “just don’t be an asshole” rules.

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Dear sirs, can’t tell you how disappointed I was in your ‘Assholes on Demand’ site. You’ve got a long way to go to compete with pornhub here.


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