Nov 1, 2014

Don't kill me, don't kill me

Artwork on an internet-posted suicide note

Gallia divisa est in partes tres. Along those lines, there are two types of content moderation. Active moderation monitors each post on a social network; reactive moderation lets things float until somebody complains. Content moderation is important, we learn from an article on Wired, not only because we are prudish, but also because we don't wanna lose our grannies or other objectionists (spelling checker objects)---folks who are not going to share their cat-and-dog pictures or their grandchildren's likenesses amidst adult parts and other shockingness. 

More than hundred thousand people are monitoring content worldwide, twice as many as are working for Google. Most of them are based in the Philippines because wages are lower there, and because the locals have a sense for American sensibilities (don't ask).

We (I mean us, Michael Ampersant and his alter egos) have been subject to content moderation two or three times on Facebook, last time with this picture...

(no, wait)

...which was taken down after a few minutes with a stern warning from the Philippines; we got blocked from posting anything for three days. Right, so we've been moderated twice exactly; the first time we've got blocked for one day only. Do the math (catchword "series"), it's frightening if you are one of these people always itching to push the envelope. 

Over-sexed as we are we think about only one thing, but porn appears to be the least of the social network's concerns---it's fairly harmless, especially for the souls of content moderators. Gore is worse, not to mention ISIS clips with beheadings of nosy journalists, or suicide notes, or clips of pet torture. And there's apparently lots of that stuff going on. The average content moderator is given only a few seconds on her Stachanovist clock for each picture. That may be a lot for the active moderators who have to check all those pictures of cats and dogs and birthday cakes, but very little when we talk reactive moderation.

&-t back of the envelope: Assume that half of the moderators do reactive stuff, and that each works 40 hours a week, and each has 10 seconds per flagged post, dum dum dum, we get 144 million flagged pictures per day, except for the weekends when the moderators are off.

What else? Lets keep it short and Socratic. O reader, we ask, would you moderate this picture that we've been dying to post for quite some time:    

(This is the picture that Facebook took down after a few minutes)

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