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Subject: User-centric moderation systems? rss

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Mark Goadrich
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With the recent change to adding flags here at BGG, I started thinking about the evolution of our current moderation system and what might lie ahead.

When I joined, everyone on BGG had the ability to rate everything just like game ratings. But as these ratings were being used by some to target other users and their contributed content, this slowly changed to a "thumbs up only" system for the pictures and posts, with the intent of encouraging a more hospitable atmosphere of rewarding good contributions. As trolls and disruptive behaviour crept back in to the forums, some users were upgraded to moderators and admins to begin deleting posts and enforcing the rules of civility. A number of people started chaffing at the changes with charges of censorship, and eventually admins took a more hands-off approach as a "thumbs down" button was added, returning to users the ability for self-moderation. But it also brought back the perception that some users were rating other users and not the content for their own purposes, especially since the up/down balance was displayed next to the post, so finally we've arrived at the current thumbs up with flags option, where the flag count it hidden and only the positive thumbs are shown.

Although the intent of each change seemed to be the same, to create a better BGG community, the community seems to have found ways to use these tools (ratings, thumbs, etc) in ways they weren't intended and then bring about the next revision of moderation. I'm curious, what other types of user-centric moderation systems are out there for online communities, and how do they encourage their tools to stay in line with their intent and not go awry? I've seen mention of the Slashdot or kuro5hin in a few places, are there other popular methods I can learn about? I'm really curious if there's any general concensus about what makes some moderation systems work and others fail, thanks for your help.

In case others are interested, here's some links that a google search turned up on the topic, enjoy:

http://www.everythinginmoderation.org/2003/10/on_four_types_...
http://www.everythinginmoderation.org/2003/12/a_guide_to_sla...
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2000/9/30/214129/356
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/060831miller/
http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050623mallasch/
http://designforcommunity.com/essay8.html
http://depts.washington.edu/ccce/digitalMedia/reps.html
http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/wise.html
http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2006/05/selfreflexive_rul...
http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2003/10/political_economi...
http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2005/03/dunbar_altruist.html
 
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