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In light of recent issues on Clubhouse & harassment targeted at @taylorlorenz, I want to share some thoughts re how difficult it will be for CH to set up an effective moderation system -- in particular, how difficult it will be to protect women & other marginalized groups. /1
My comments here aren't limited to Clubhouse. Any decentralized social audio product will face significant moderation challenges. /2
For context, I helped lead moderation & community at Quora from 2011-19. Quora has one of the best user-generated content moderation systems. (Thanks @adamdangelo & @ccheever!) I helped draft many of Quora’s policies and enforce them in high-profile situations & edge cases. /3
The nature of social audio makes it very difficult to establish basic moderation blocking & tackling. How do you report a specific interaction? Audio is fluid/interruptive. Will Clubhouse record all sessions, so that a moderator can review reported content? /4
Often times, moderation problems are about a pattern of behavior — not just about a single comment or two. /5
The nature of social audio makes it very difficult to enable basic moderation tools. Take reporting for example. How can User A report a bad experience with User B? Audio is fluid & interruptive. Will Clubhouse retain records of any reported session? /6
Important to note: in many cases, moderation problems are about a pattern of behavior by a user — not just a single comment or two. /7
And to be clear, you can’t rely on reporting alone. Many bad actors engage in bad behavior that goes unreported. Will Clubhouse retain logs of old sessions — for even, say, a month? Without logging, there really won’t be accountability for bad actors. /8
But I want to step back from the mechanics of moderation. The real problem here is online misogyny and how badly men treat women in social conversations. Men are often interruptive & rude. How do you establish a culture where this doesn’t happen? /9
Men have a hard time seeing this, but unconsciously many men are more likely to cut a woman off in a conversation -- correct her, disagree with her, "actually..." her, etc. Male voices tend to crowd out women in group conversational settings -- both online and off. /10
And this interruptive male behavior rarely violates rules. Can you establish a rule policing obnoxiousness and interruptiveness? To some degree yes, but mostly no. /11
The sexism/male-interruptiveness problem is *much* worse on audio than w/text. Text is at least somewhat asynchronous — even basic chat. Each participant gets time to compose a thought, put it into an editor, & post it in whole. A man basically can’t cut off a woman in text! /12
Clubhouse has to deal with this problem both with policies (to kick off bad actors) and with culture. The culture needs to encourage listening, and valuing female voices. And to be honest, many early adopter tech men are bad listeners and don't value hearing from women. /13
So is this impossible? Probably not? But in my experience, moderation and culture have to be a huge priority for both the founding team as well as for the community as a whole. /14
I know that many people are interested in this topic / in online moderation generally and I’d love feedback: @yashar @CaseyNewton @Can @wongmjane @juliacarriew @kimmaicutler /end
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