Social community moderation is one huge opportunity, but also one huge burden for every social website. The system of moderation can actually influence the mood of the crowd and the fate of the website. epSos.de was testing different social websites and different moderation platforms for multiple years. This article is a quick and personal story about previous experiences.
Youtube commentators will offend anyone for no valid reason. Seriously, epSos.de has got cruel threats for posting videos about horses in there. Say water on Youtube and people will scream for fire. The best guess is that Youtube is populated by teenagers who are rebelling against anything that moves.
Reddit commentators will down-vote everything that is in disagreement with the headline. They will up-vote any lies that are funny or humanly sad as long as it is supporting the topic or the message in the title. It feels that the Reddit users are angry with the world and anyone who is happy to say something logical or realistic.
epSos.de got banned on Reddit, because epSos.de told the people to cool down and be happy. The messages had an attached link to a smiling plant in the comment and got banned for Spam. The community management is a mess in there.
Flickr commentators are great and probably the most polite people on the Internet, since Flickr will ban anyone who says anything bad or anything with Spam. The social atmosphere is friendly, but everyone is also very reserved with words. Not sure why. It seems that people like to respond to comments less often in there. One time comments for any topic are over 90% in there.
Slashdot commentators seem to be used to the bad and to the evil too. It is great, because very few are over-reacting. Nothing can offend them anymore. A good guess is that most people on Slashdot are long time experts of the Internet and have seen too much to be shaken. I also suspect that most of the people in there had to manage users of their own websites and are used to more insanity than the average person.
Numbers, examples and facts are welcome on Slashdot, unlike in other places where people scream about spam, blasphemy and cats, when you post a link to news or Wikipedia or any image for reference.
The comment rating system of Slashdot seems to work fine, because there is a limit for negative points, unlike on Reddit, where unpopular comments can get you banned, even if they are right and correct.
It feels that the masses of Slashdot are more contained by the numerical fence that keeps the system alive and the conversations flowing. It is almost like a numerical type of democracy that is fail-proof against populism. Look at Reddit and you will see blind populism in almost every corner.
Google+ commentators are also great, because the system of Google+ will ban anyone who will say 5 to 10 bad things in one day or send 10 links to the same URL. The rules are strict in there, so no one is trying to misbehave.
One good thing about Google+ is that even the famous people in technology can get to talk to you in a conversation, but the conversations are often short for the lack of creative space. Google+ is actually prone to over-positive populism, but at least it will block the bad one out.
Commentators on major news websites are usually fighting to be correct. Very often the people repeat ideas and thoughts that mirror their personal views about the world. The topic is irrelevant. The typical commentator on a major news website will speak about own opinions and own life for ever. Facts are irrelevant. News is second to personal agenda in there.
Facebook commentators are superficial, because everybody is afraid to say real things and loose good face in front of their friends. You have seen it yourself, I guess.
In total, Slashdot is a great place for making comments, because the average users are not shy to speak about facts, but also cool with people who have a bad day or a week. Writing comments on Slashdot is fair. The people seem to be more tolerant to different opinions than on other social websites. One prohibited topic is the criticism against technology. Slashdot is probably the last place in the universe where people will be afraid about the dangers of technology. Atomic power for breakfast, yes please. Robot uprising, yes please. Artificial parts for the body, yes please. Slashdot will welcome any technology as longs as it is not from Microsoft.
The bad thing is that Slashdot is limited to people who understand technology, numbers and facts. The good thing is that their system of moderation and community management can be used in other places. It is moderately fair to the user and to the crowd too.
In reality, the community moderation system is creating an atmosphere by creating the rules. The possibility of negative points will create an atmosphere of simplistic populism. The lack of negative points will create positive utopia. The best system for social community moderation must encourage realistic rating of messages and content. But the rating system must also be fair to the user that is different from the popular opinion. There is no positive history for societies that give more points to the screaming populists than to real people with simple or wrong or incorrect opinions.
Thank you for sharing this story with your friends !