Shut Up! No, *You* Shut Up!

Clay Shirky introduced a pattern language for moderation strategies, using Slashdot as a case study:

  • Freedom’s just another word – with increased freedom to publish, the level of annoyingness increases and mechenisms are required to mitigate increased noise.
  • Slashdot’s defenses – members defend readers from writers by ranking comments on individual posts…around 20% of comments are therefore hidden (those below a certain threshold).
  • Tragedy of the Commons – Move comments to a separate page, treat readers & writers differently, let users rate posts and include defensive defaults.
  • Who Will Guard The Guardians – Treat users and members differently, measure good behaviours, enlist comitted members – judges can’t post.

Shirky went on to describe Bronze Beta, where there aren’t ‘features’ as such, comments are central to the content base of the site and logging in is an optional interaction, removing a barrier for user contributions. Shirky’s ITP students at NYU have made available a wiki and mailing list to foster collaboration and discourse on patterns for moderation.

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