Moderate Behaviour

I’ve been trying to find alternatives to the awful choice of radio stations, so mixed in with the music I’ve found some downloaded stuff from the BBC, courtesy of the wonderful get_iplayer software, and also the IRL podcast, from Mozilla.

The episode I listened to this morning explored moderation: the process of people approving (or not approving!) content posted online.

This is a bit of a hot topic lately, there’s increasing pressure from governments and others to regulate the web (and social media in particular).

I’ve discussed this before, of course, and I generally get a bit ranty about censorship (and, as the podcast pointed out, moderation and censorship is a close-run thing).

Moderating even a Facebook group or small forum can produce a considerable workload, and not moderating it can rapidly cause it to degenerate into a shit-show. Moderating an entire platform like Facebook, Youtube, or Twitter is almost unimagineable.

There was an angle I’d not thought about before: because computers are not good at judgement calls (like deciding if a particular photo is offensive or illegal), then you need humans to moderate, and these humans get subjected to the full, unfiltered onslaught of whatever the Internet throws their way, and have to deal with that, and the psychological problems that might bring.

As the social networks are companies that need to make money, those humans need to be cheap; so they turn to the Philipines, for example- a very different culture to the west, which introduces another set of problems.

So- who, if anyone, should moderate what we see? My personal choice, as an adult, would be “no-one”, but even if you think content should be policed, is a low-wage young filipino with minimal support the answer?

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