Content moderation: Crowdsourced or outsourced?

Content moderation: Crowdsourced or outsourced?

March 11, 2014

Content-moderation
In its traditional sense, content moderation is done as a way to maintain the quality of posts submitted by the online public to your website. These posts typically go through outsourced moderators who monitor, filter, edit, approve, or reject the submissions before publishing them. This activity has a flipside known as crowdsourced moderation, which puts the moderating process on the hands of the same online community that produces the content.

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Crowdsourcing is just like outsourcing, in the sense that you get help from outside sources in doing usually manual tasks that your internal staff cannot handle. But instead of availing services from an outsourcing vendor, you delegate the task to practically anyone who is willing to do it.
Crowdsourcing has advantages, but can it stand as a sturdy alternative to outsourcing? Let’s take a side by side look at the two content moderation options.

Costs

If you resort to outsourcing as a cost-saving measure, crowdsourcing could bring in an even bigger cut to your expenses. Paying crowdsourced staff is significantly cheaper than contracting a dedicated third party team to do the moderation for you. Along with affordability, a large number of people is always readily available to do work for you when you consider crowdsourcing.

Quality of output

The main disadvantage of crowdsourcing mirrors its biggest benefit: with cheap labor, you get cheap products. The sum that you could save from crowdsourcing can come at the expense of work quality because this method can’t completely assure you that the people you hire are professionals or experts of the processes you send out.

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Outsourcing, on the other hand, eliminates this risk. In the first place, one of the main reasons behind businesses’ decision to outsource is that they need expert help in the area where they lack proficiency.
When you outsource content moderation, you can be sure that your team is made up of capable individuals with relevant training and experience in web-based tools and Internet publishing ethics. They are cherry-picked, personally interviewed, and qualified by your outsourcing partner. This means they work under one management unlike crowdsourced members who could run off anytime because they are not bound by any concrete employment contract.

Skill level

Crowdsourcing is highly advisable for small companies with limited funding and for businesses that need aid on simple tasks. If you only need someone who could tag, categorize, and sort your inventory or media library, then find anyone on the Internet who is willing to accomplish this.

If you don’t have the financial capacity to hire a pro to create your brand’s logo, you could turn to crowdsourcing as well by hosting a logo-making contest. However, if the work is as complex as e-commerce site building or app development, getting help from a community of casual workers can be a bad decision.

Now, you may ask where content moderation falls under. The answer depends on you, your moderation policies, and the type of web content you want to moderate. If you want someone to simply delete profanity, flag spammers, or approve comments, then crowdsourcing could best fit you. But if you need expert scrutiny, on image submissions for instance, then it would make greater sense to outsource a team of moderators who could make sound judgment on every entry sent to your site.

Moderating content can be as easy as sifting quality content from a flood of unqualified submissions, but it could also involve elaborate analysis. However, the decision on who would do the task always boils down to the type of content you allow, the process of moderation you require, and ultimately, the budget you have.

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