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Moderation I

· Read 03/30/21

Community moderation vs content manangement; value and limitations of human and computer actors

  • Reading suggestion: The Costs of Connection, Couldry
  • Intro to STS: 2 books TL recommends

    • Rich, small field: turf wars, internal debates, etc.
    • Non-human actors, forms of knowledge production, materiality, infrastructures
  • Connie Chung visit on Thursday
  • Very few people pay attention to Twitch re: content moderation

    • Gaming spaces have been wrangling with this before social media did; earliest multiplayer games
  • TVC = temps, vendors, contractors
  • Interesting project: App walk-through method, see paper; look at affordances to see what kind of moderation practices are possible
  • Idea: Thinking about moderation and "community management" in Hack Club Slack

    • Lol I opened Twitter during class and saw the Orbit Model — dev rel and open source communities seem like a rich case study
  • TL: "community management" used to be the term for this
  • See also: Tarleton Gillespie’s article
  • See also: Whitney Wolfe’s co-founder lawsuit & work for Tinder as “community manager”

    • "Whitney Wolfe was basically like employee number 2 at Tinder before it was even a dating app, she came up with the name, and also the outreach strategy (of getting state university sorority girls to join first by paying them so that guys would follow, and it was wildly successful), and also headed up their community moderating guidelines which def differentiated the app from others at the time which were pretty gross. She then started dating one of the two named male co-founders and when she broke up with him he retaliated. She filed a lawsuit for co-founder status with Tinder because al of its “non-technical” concepts came from her and she implemented it. She won the lawsuit and founded Bumble with the money. So just thinking about the decisions about non-technical decisions that are as much a part of the product/community. Well there’s a lot of other complications too. See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/style/tinder-bumble-lawsuit-explainer.html"



  • Author bio

    • Library and info sciences
    • Time between degrees
    • Is it her dissertation? (Raw) dissertation book usually looks respectful to the field, citation-heavy (you can tell they're "showing their work", lit review stands a bit separately from the argument)
    • Center for Critical Internet Inquiry with Safiya Noble; funded by Ford, Knight, etc Foundations, NSF, DuckDuckGo
  • How is she nodding to other scholars? See also: feminist politics of citation

    • Explicitly build on knowledge of others, be in conversation with others, think about the larger production of knowledge
    • Idea: Interesting to study how scholars contextualize their work

Round of appreciation

  • Presentation of interviews, quoting at length
  • Deftly grapple with contradictions that the interviewees bring up
  • Not sensational, very measured, no subtheme of "tech is destroying the world"

    • Make an argument with impact, but not hugely generalizing; do the authors hit the right balance? where you come away thinking "this is important, I get it" but not overextending
  • Good pace, zooming out and in
  • Readibility in spite of coming out of Yale Press
  • The taxonomy — hard to get, recognizing that these workers are, by design, scattered and often can't communicate with each other; this topic is the topic of her career
  • Aside: Academics calling out journalists for not citing academics; talk for an hour, give tons of info, journalists take it just as background

    • What should the relationship be?
  • Liked style and tone; easy to read