Small-scale pods as moderation advantage

Yesterday, I had a lengthy discussion with a proponent of big centralised social media platforms. Not because they have a particular love for big companies, but because moderation is actually one of these issues that are hard to do right.

The numbers I could find say that about 20% of all content posted in social media needs to get removed from moderation. Most of this is probably automated spam and similar, but there is also a fair amount of graphic violence, outright porn and, because humans are terrible, abuse and hate.

Moderators who have to sift through all this have the worst life, not few of them have to get counseling after a while.

So if you do moderation, you have to have the infrastructure in place to deal with large volume of content, the wellbeing of your staff, all the hassle of dealing with complaints about your moderation plus whatever regulatory requirements are needed.

Typically, this calls for a large scale operation.

Now, one of the reasons this happens is because people behave differently in a large-scale corporate environment than within their smaller circle of friends and acquaintances. If your social media pod is run by someone closer to you, you tend not to shit the bed so to speak. Because you know that your behaviour will possibly reflect poorly on your host.

If you federate the system, good moderation will still be needed, but it is entirely possible that one won’t have to deal with that many bad things, especially if there is an option to cut off whole pods from the federation if they behave too badly.

Of course, that last bit needs to be very carefully tuned, lest it results in censorship.

5 Gedanken zu „Small-scale pods as moderation advantage

  1. I think the last part is key here: in federated systems, there *will* be cesspools of various kinds (for some, this is fine, like kink-oriented stuff). The problem is that just shutting them out of your stream does not make them not exist. Again, for stuff that you just find bizarre or annoying, that is okay. It can become a huge problem for political cesspools, because they fester and grow until they burst into the mainstream. They can also become coordination places for brigading into other pods using throwaways or yet-different pods that freely allow anonymous communication.

  2. yep, that can become a problem — although I would argue that those folks can also just use 4chan & co to plot before invading someone…

  3. I think another challenge with cm is what to moderate. Only as required by law (which law?) or by own guidelines (who sets Thema?)?

  4. The ideal solution is probably to enable community ambassadors to act on the small and local level, ensuring that each community can set it’s on tone and mood, while relying on global moderation to ensure no actual laws are broken.

    And then there’s the area where you need to police self-harm, abusive (but borderline-legal) behavior, trolling, and so on…

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