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Last updated March 15, 2022

What is the role of moderation in communities? What does good/bad moderation look like? (posts/comments/membership)

I think a key part of answering this is trying to define what role a community occupies. Is it just a collection of people gathering around a shared identity? Or is it supposed to be a platform for moderated idea discussion/generation? Or something else in between.

Thinking about this at the infrastructure level too, if a community’s purpose is to serve as infrastructure so that it enables conversations, should infrastructure be regulated/enforced or something that should just play out naturally?

Broadly defined, I see moderation as having two main categories: moderation of users and moderation of content. Moderation then, is to ensure that the set of values that is being conveyed by the users/content roughly aligns with that of the group/community.

Moderation of users involves regulating the membership of individuals within the community whereas moderation of content regulates what can/can’t be said in the community.

Moderation gets problematic when it is used to target and discriminate against individuals because of personal relations or vendettas. I was thinking about also saying it becomes problematic when it discriminates against characteristics but I’m hesitant on this bit. Is it categorically different to exclude people who are misogynistic vs those of a certain race? Probably yes but I don’t have a solid argument for it yet.

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