I had the fortune of speaking with Soraya Chemaly for her recent article discussing the management of moderation teams.
It’s a long article, but worth the read, as it discusses many of the rarely talked about issues that those of us managing audience deal with on a regular basis. Soraya and I discussed many of the shortfalls that currently appear within moderation teams, both for youth and adult communities.
Joi Podgorny is former vice president at ModSquad, which provides content moderation to a range of marquee clients, from the State Department to the NFL. Now a digital media consultant, she says founders and developers not only resist seeing the toxic content, they resist even understanding the practice of moderation. Typically cast off as “customer-service,” moderation and related work remains a relatively low-wage, low-status sector, often managed and staffed by women, which stands apart from the higher-status, higher-paid, more powerful sectors of engineering and finance, which are overwhelmingly male. “I need you to look at what my people are looking at on a regular basis,” she said. “I want you to go through my training and see this stuff [and] you’re not going to think it’s free speech. You’re going to think it’s damaging to culture, not only for our brand, but in general.”
This is why it was important for me to start my own company, with the experience to handle the myriad of potentially harmful brand and audience situations, but also with the foresight and integrity to think about the well-being of our employees at the same time.