Certification for Niche Moderators

Service: Narrative

There have been a few questions in the past week about why Narrative requires that Niche moderators be Certified.  Let me walk through the thought process behind that requirement.

There were two primary reasons, but I'll start with the biggest reason first:

1.  Protecting Children

Niche moderators will be able to screen all new content posted to their Niche prior to allowing the content to be published on the Niche.  The idea is to allow new content to be sandboxed before it is seen. Now, keep in mind that each Niche decides whether it wants/needs to prescreen new content like that and we of course have no way of knowing how many Niches will operate that way.

However, the Niche content review queues are, in fact, the first line of defense for each niche and are DESIGNED to catch questionable content that does not belong in the niche. 

If we allow underage members to access these review queues, we are potentially exposing them to content that they normally would not see.  We have an entire system devoted to age-rating content, with the express intention of protecting kids, so to us it seems like a giant hole in the protection system if we allow kids to manage/access these Niche review queues.

Basically, we are trying to keep kids off of the front line of content review.

Now, having said that, we realized that we have not been clear that Niche moderators would not only have to be Certified but also 18+.  We would clarify that in our docs/systems later.

Note that we also plan to require Certified 18+ members for accessing/voting on content in the AUP Content Review Queue.... for the exact same reason-  we do not want kids accessing the questionable content in Narrative. (When members report content in the future (for AUP violations), the reported content will go into a HQ Review Queue, where the community votes to determine if the content truly violates the AUP.)

Thus, if we require 18+ members for the general AUP Content Review Queue, in our opinion it is inconsistent to allow minors to access niche-specific review queues (even though the review purpose is not the same).

2. Prevent Fake Moderators

A secondary reason for requiring Certification is to eliminate the incentives for people to create bots or fake accounts to acquire as many niche moderator gigs as possible, for the primary purpose of generating rewards income.

This is not as big of a concern, because we think that Reputation will be a huge factor in Niche moderator elections, but many smaller niches may have a limited number of nominees and thus this could be an issue.

Requiring Certification effectively solves the problem.

To be clear though, the primary reason for requiring Certification for Niche moderators is the first one-- the issue of kids being the first line of defense in screening potentially questionable content.  We want to avoid a scenario where bad actors post content intended for adults in niches that clearly do not cater to adults.  A child moderating a pokemon niche should not be reviewing renegade erotica posts (or worse).  

We're definitely open to other ideas to solve the problem, but we must ensure that kids are protected as much as possible, especially in this kind of review/oversight role.  Note that we have had internal discussions about some potential alternatives, which we will share if/when they become more clearly defined, but for now Certification is the easiest way to mitigate the problem(s).

One thing I want to be clear on though is that we are not trying to create artificial barriers. In fact, we want LOTS of moderators to fulfill the mission of content review, but it's also fair to say that those moderators have to meet certain criteria and/or assume greater risk (in terms of access to content before others).  

I hope this clarifies things for everyone!  Our apologies if we failed to communicate the reasons adequately.  If we can find a better solution, we are definitely open to it, and as I mentioned above we are actively discussing possibilities internally as well.

Original Post

Activity Stream

Trying to keep children off of the front line of content review.

Welp, I'm not allowed to do the only thing I want to do on this platform. You're excluding a demographic that consist of some of the most active online moderators because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. If this was a serious problem, there would be laws requiring moderators be 18+, there would be rules on every platform.

Not sure if you knew, but the age of consent is 16 in the UK which means that 16 years olds can actually take part in sexual activities, so what you want to prevent us being exposed to, we can be exposed to in real life anyway.

 

This is stupid and I would consider this to be a big downfall. It was fun being on narrative but personally, I'm just disappointed. Maybe if the staff team weren't all adults they would have a different opinion on this.

Hi @James,

    I understand where you are coming from.  It's a little bit like a drinking age of 21 when you can go to war and die at 18... 

Here is a potential compromise for the @Narrative team to consider: 

Certification should still be required for moderation positions to verify age, as well as the 2nd point about 'fake accounts' @Ted brought up.  However, I would alter the age restriction and set it to something lower like 15 or 16.  I would also create a little bit of a contract that the user has to agree to before they can become a moderator, basically acknowledging that in this role, the user can potentially be exposed to some very adult content.  With this compromise I feel like we are ensuring moderators are at least of High School age, and are taking personal responsibility for the potential downsides of the moderator role.

@Narrative Team, I would also like to see a severe conduct reputation hit if a user submits content that is 18+ but not marked as such when it is an obvious black and white case.  I'm talking about being in 'time out' for a good month or more.  Hopefully with a severe enough penalty, the chances of moderators being exposed to inappropriately categorized content will rapidly diminish.

Banter posted:

 

@Narrative Team, I would also like to see a severe conduct reputation hit if a user submits content that is 18+ but not marked as such when it is an obvious black and white case.  I'm talking about being in 'time out' for a good month or more.  Hopefully with a severe enough penalty, the chances of moderators being exposed to inappropriately categorized content will rapidly diminish.

Yes, there should be serious repercussions for breaking this policy. If we're going to charge for certifications and require moderators to be certified, the negative consequences for breaking the rules should be severe enough that it causes users to think twice.

James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

As you are a parent, I do understand your response and, as a teenager, I would class it as a stereotypical parental response when they think of the worst case scenario like they always do.

I don't mean to be rude, but Twitter and Facebook are two of the largest social platforms in the world, Narrative is yet to launch out of alpha and I guarantee you that Narrative shall not have anywhere near as many members as those two giants that dominate the industry, for the first few years at a minimum. I'm sorry, but I would not compare Twitter/Facebook and Narrative to show that there will be PTSD inducing content, it's like comparing Bitcoin and MANA to say that more people buy drugs with Bitcoin so people should not use the currency.

If you believe that there will be "truly deplorable, psychopathic content" on Narrative, then that's more of a problem with who they market the platform to and what sort of niches they allow to be made.

Also, moderating isn't a requirement, people choose to do it - if people can't handle moderating, then they can just not propose themselves as a moderator.

 

Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

A little confused, since I thought Ted announced that the age rating feature was shelved for the time being,  unless inappropriate content became an issue - I don't see why a certified member who is under 18 should be dinged if he or she applies to moderate ... perhaps this might better be left up to the niche owner? 

Banter posted:
Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

This would be optimal. I like the way some subReddits handle content publishing where you might start off only being able to comment via text and only after a certain rep is achieved, can you post images/videos/links. Maybe this already exists?

Colleen Ryer posted:

A little confused, since I thought Ted announced that the age rating feature was shelved for the time being,  unless inappropriate content became an issue - I don't see why a certified member who is under 18 should be dinged if he or she applies to moderate ... perhaps this might better be left up to the niche owner? 

Hey @Colleen Ryer,

    Actually, what was shelved was the age restrictions for Niches themselves....think of Niches as the buckets...the buckets don't have a rating anymore, but the content within them will.

Gord posted:
Banter posted:
Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

This would be optimal. I like the way some subReddits handle content publishing where you might start off only being able to comment via text and only after a certain rep is achieved, can you post images/videos/links. Maybe this already exists?

I think it's a great idea @Gord.  I would even say you should create a new suggestion topic specifically for that.  It would be amazing if Niche owners had the ability to specify a minimum reputation level to even submit content to their Niche, or some other factors, like how long has the account been around for, etc.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

This would be optimal. I like the way some subReddits handle content publishing where you might start off only being able to comment via text and only after a certain rep is achieved, can you post images/videos/links. Maybe this already exists?

I think it's a great idea @Gord.  I would even say you should create a new suggestion topic specifically for that.  It would be amazing if Niche owners had the ability to specify a minimum reputation level to even submit content to their Niche, or some other factors, like how long has the account been around for, etc.

That's a stellar suggestion.

Banter posted:
Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

thank you @Banter for providing yet another reason how taking away our simple rep has become a problem. 

Emily Barnett posted:
Banter posted:
Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

thank you @Banter for providing yet another reason how taking away our simple rep has become a problem. 

Simple Rep is not gone... it is now Conduct.

Garden Gnome Publications posted:
Banter posted:

 

@Narrative Team, I would also like to see a severe conduct reputation hit if a user submits content that is 18+ but not marked as such when it is an obvious black and white case.  I'm talking about being in 'time out' for a good month or more.  Hopefully with a severe enough penalty, the chances of moderators being exposed to inappropriately categorized content will rapidly diminish.

Yes, there should be serious repercussions for breaking this policy. If we're going to charge for certifications and require moderators to be certified, the negative consequences for breaking the rules should be severe enough that it causes users to think twice.

And there will be consequences... so no issue there.

@James I feel quite empathetically for you. Sadly this is an issue that was discussed ad nauseam in the early days. There were many people, myself included that actually argued against allowing nude pics on the platform, predicting so many potential problems. Many of which we are starting to see, even though these are not the ones anticipated. Management decided to go for it anyway, despite all the potential issues, and unpleased people. 

I think it sucks that your right to be a moderator has been shelved  until you are 18, in order to provide people the right to post pictures of naked people to make money. On this issue, Money won, and I have said nothing since then, until now.

It makes sense that Narrative has to take this step James, it is about liability. The @Narrative team needs to demonstrate that by allowing the platform  to be a place for sexual content that they have taken every step to protect themselves from litigation. that means you cannot Moderate yet. I hope you stick around, you seem highly intelligent, and are not afraid to be thought provoking. I would welcome you as a moderator of my niches.

As for the original post by @Ted. Hiding behind the we need to protect the children M.O. as the reason for certification rings really shallow to me, even though I am in agreement, because i remember how I felt when you came back and said your position would be that sexual content would be allowed on the platform despite many people not wanting it. YOU opened the flood gates for your need to certify to make sure people are +18 . It IS YOUR DOING.

All that said. I don't have a problem with certifying. I don't like Steemit because of the bots, and if this helps lower that, I am for it.  BUT I do have a problem with the service provider you are using. As the business owner of Narrative you should be shopping around and negotiating the best value for the lowest fee possible, on behalf of the Narrative community. If this is the best you could come up with, then you need to do better. You won't hit your mass adoption goals, with this barrier to entry. The perception, even though it is wrong, is that it is a stinking fish. So that doesn't mean double down and stand behind your decisions, this is business - not a debate. Fix the perceptions. Get better optics.

 

Ted posted:
Emily Barnett posted:
Banter posted:
Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

thank you @Banter for providing yet another reason how taking away our simple rep has become a problem. 

Simple Rep is not gone... it is now Conduct.

@ted you need both. 

Emily Barnett posted:
Ted posted:
Emily Barnett posted:
Banter posted:
Gord posted:
James posted:

...because of people posting pornographic content to the wrong place. A problem that exists on virtually every site ever. .

@James I get your disappointment, but the issue goes well beyond nudy pics. This is about preventing minors from being subjected to truly deplorable, psychopathic content... the sort of thing that front-line mods of Twitter and Facebook are suffering PTSD from. As a father, I'm pleased to know that Narrative is taking steps to mitigate this kind of damage to our youth, even if governments haven't (yet) addressed the issue. 

@Banter and @Garden Gnome Publications I agree there should be severe consequences, but the fact is that anonymous Narrative accounts can easily be created, which paves the way for abuse. It's not the certified people that will be trolling the platform... moderating these accounts will be simple.

Hi @Gord,

    I think you are right about the anonymous account problem.  I had originally thought that new users would be in a bit of a probationary period until their reputation reached a certain level.  While that would be a barrier to posting content right out of the gate...it would certainly help prevent a 'Create anon account, post spam / horrible stuff, rinse, repeat'.

thank you @Banter for providing yet another reason how taking away our simple rep has become a problem. 

Simple Rep is not gone... it is now Conduct.

@ted you need both. 

No, you don't.   

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