The Content-Moderation Time Gap

Hey everybody,

So, I want to address a concern of mine that I've been mentally calling the "Content-Moderation Time Gap" (hereafter "the Mod Gap" for short).

The Mod Gap is the several months between when it is projected content creators will be able to post content, tagging it for future moderation, and when it is projected moderator elections will take place subsequently allowing mods to perform their duties.

December - Content Creator Uploading

Mod Gap

March - Moderator Elections/Moderation begins

From what I've seen, aside from development timelines, the Mod Gap is purposeful, intended to allow potential moderators to build up reputation in order to be eligible to become mods in accordance with the democratic principles of Narrative in the first place.

I have some concerns about this gap, and I am hoping to get some thoughts from the community and staff about it.

Reputation Building Prior to Election

Requiring a build up of reputation prior to being elected moderator, presumes user behavior not yet in evidence. It may be that the best, fairest, most dedicated mods prefer engaging in moderation actions upon recruitment. Looking to the future, when hopefully the whole world is using Narrative or a Narrative descendant as one of their primary social and content tools, mod candidates can organically emerge (hopefully well before then ). But the reputation requirement might not be flexible enough regarding user behavior for this time when we're just getting off the ground. 


Missing Recruitment Opportunity

One of my worries is that we're missing months worth of recruitment opportunities. 

I've been looking closely at reddit moderation. What are the duties of reddit moderators? How active are they? And so forth. 

My impression is that moderators there, especially for the larger subreddits are dedicated, hardworking, underpaid and abused. They do the work for the joy of moderating and engaging in the topic. Some of them do the equivalent of a full time job's worth of work! With NO PAY.

Certain subreddits even require college degrees in order to moderate them. Again though... with no pay.

Recruiting mods from reddit seems an obvious priority, particularly as we try to expand the community and get the pieces in place for widespread adoption sometime in 2019-2020. Every year the idea of paying reddit moderators is floated and is shot down/mocked. As a former union organizer for graduate student teachers, another group that had to fight (and still has to fight actually) to be recognized as contributing workers, this annoys me. But it doesn't annoy me enough to approach them at the non-ideal time, in the non-ideal way.

It will be much, much easier to recruit these people once there is something for them to actually do, and if they can jump in without having to engage in behaviors strictly for the purpose of acquiring reputation.

Re-recruiting is a pain and a falloff point

It is obviously possible to recruit in the absence of the ability to perform moderation functions, as we've recently seen. However, anybody recruited now who signs up and gets off the waitlist will have to be recontacted and essentially re-recruited. This creates another recruitment falloff point (and more work for e.g. owners.)

Current Moderator Falloff Points

1 User interested but fails to get on wait list

2 User gets on wait list but fail to register

3 User registers but fails to self-nominate

4 User self-nominates but fails to show up after election

Each falloff point above needs followup action from owners/Narrative in this building period. The more time between falloff points the more likely it is that someone will need nudging at the next point. The Mod Gap is, currently, the longest gap we have, and it leads right into Beta. I'm not sure that's a great setup.


Final Thoughts

I haven't listed all my concerns here, just a few I think really warrant discussion and that can be naturally grouped together. I don't know what the solution is either. Waive reputation for the first election? After all, the reality is most currently nominated mods are likely niche owners. Maybe waive the rep requirement upon recommendation of several current users? Inherit Reddit rep based on an algorithm for a limited time? Push content to March so content and modding can roll out/be alpha tested together? 

In any case, I'd like to hear thoughts of other folks.

Original Post

Just a quick response for now: I'm 100% with you on the Reddit moderator aspect of things.  I really hope we seize the opportunity to welcome such seasoned and motivated mods on Narrative before launch.  It will fill our moderation slots but also provide a fantastic organic exposure to Narrative for the members of the channels they moderate on Reddit. 

As a reddit moderator, including for one subreddit that requires a college degree, I am curious about how much time and effort is expected for niche mods. I'm currently the most active mod on a relatively small subreddit, where I only need to respond to issues once or twice a week. In the Very Popular Subreddit I needed to have a degree for (I was invited to mod; I did not apply) there are literally hundreds of us "comment mods" who put in time if and when we have the capacity to do so because it's such a demanding job. (The sub also has some of the strictest commenting guidelines on reddit.)

I would be interested in moderating multiple niches here, but I definitely don't want to overextend myself. Even after looking at all of the documentation Narrative has provided, I'm unsure of what "a day in the life" of a moderator is supposed to look like. 

Important question.  Lets see what the response is.

I'm guessing the full extent of that answer is very difficult to know at this stage.  We don't know how quickly Narrative will grow, and that's naturally a big factor in what the work load will look like.

It is possible that some aspects of mod duties may still be somewhat in flux.

Another variable is how the number of mod slots will be determined.  We bounced some good ideas about this around in another thread a few months ago.  It is too late now in the evening here for me to dig it up without falling asleep at the keyboard though!  But it involved automatic triggering of prompts to the owner to increase the mod slots if activity on the niche rose above a certain level consistently over a certain period, to weed out anomalous spikes.  And likewise we discussed the need for owners to be able to temporarily let go of moderators if activity falls below a certain threshold consistently over a certain period.  I think we may have also mentioned the option for the network to force another slot to be opened if the algorithms flag a situation where this action is really needed.

Another question related to yours.  If you do find yourself over-extended, and you have to resign from one of your roles as a mod, how does that play out?  Is there a rep hit?  Is there a period of notice that you can give that avoids getting a rep hit?  If one can avoid a rep hit in that way, that makes it safer to go ahead and not be too overly worried about being overextended.  The network can go through a learning curve where mods owners and devs adjust their expectations until we are all in sink with the pace Narrative is growing at.

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