What does it take to become a content moderator?

What does it take to become a content moderator?

Connie Lansangan
July 10, 2018

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Content moderation isn’t something we could just rely on automation to accomplish. Despite the speed advantage that it can provide, there’s nothing safer than the conscious judgment of the human mind because of one thing: context.

Context is the mighty fine tool that helps human beings read between the lines. It’s what distinguishes an algorithm from a person—what a computer might find perfectly safe might actually be distasteful. Take for example the GIPHY racist death counter issue. It passed the GIF database’s radar, despite its obviously hateful content. It’s not until the uproar that it was removed. It took GIPHY a month to get back to social media platforms Snapchat and Instagram’s good graces, too.

Content moderation might seem like an easy job for anyone who could discern good from bad, but it’s more than that. Sifting through the inherent vileness of the Internet requires a sharp eye, a trained mind, and a tough stomach. It requires precise, level-headed analysis that can analyze context properly. Having these make content moderation a bit easier, without discrediting its difficulty.

Aside from these, content moderators should have these other traits to help them maintain a safe space for their platforms.

Online community exposure and experience

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Context is key. What might be inoffensive to one group of people might hurt another. Having experience in managing user-generated content from sprawling online communities—be it a forum, a Facebook group, a subreddit, or one’s own website—helps moderators in policing a platform’s content. It gives them an idea how members interact with each other, which behaviors are normal, and which actions shouldn’t be tolerated.

This especially helps in moderating niche communities. Some rules are uniquely a community’s and wouldn’t apply at all to other forums. An extensive knowledge about a specific community helps in developing better judgment and insight if one’s tasked to handle an account with similar nature.

Multi-platform savviness

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Those who monitor content and social media must also be knowledgeable in the usage of various social media platforms. Most companies don’t stick to a single social media account. As much as possible, they need to get their word out. It’s ideal for them to know the way around each platform—which content works for one, which policies affect another.

Linguistic expertise

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Photos and videos aren’t the only submissions that undergo evaluation. Particularly in ecommerce and review sites, keeping client testimonials and comments accurate helps give better impressions to brands. This is why multilingual moderators are necessary in such diverse communities. They can check the quality of text in a particular language and understand colloquialisms, slang, and other nuances some people may miss out.

Since most Internet-related actions are human interactions, they require human sensibilities. They need to be managed by real people with excellent judgment. Allow context to thrive. Let automation help smoothen the process and let the human touch take care of maintaining order and quality in your online community.

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