In this Big Tent I’ll be soliciting feedback on a talk I’ll be giving next week at a virtual event called “All Things in Moderation.” The audience for this event is a combination of academic researchers, industry folks, commercial content moderators, and community moderators. The talk abstract is below:

“Platforms founded on free speech idealism promised to provide the public with new opportunities to connect without fear of censorship. For a brief while, perhaps they did. But they also enabled the proliferation of disinformation, hate, and abuse. This has thrown a spotlight on moderation, and specifically on the policies and decisions that determine who can say what and when. Traditional models for moderation risk silencing those who are most vulnerable—whether too much or too little is applied. 

Getting it right is hard, because moderation is fundamentally about power, and fails without proper scaffolding to consider that power. Inspired by Black feminist theorists, I argues that successful moderation needs to account for power at the interpersonal, community, and systemic levels. Drawing from over 7 years of research with community moderators of the Reddit community, r/AskHistorians, I will share stories of how mods routinely negotiate power, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Accounting for power in moderation shows not only when it becomes oppressive, but also how moderation done right can support freer expression.”

In addition to general thoughts and comments, I’m hoping for feedback that will help me:

  • More effectively move from the details of the project to the big picture
  • Make my take-ways more compelling and less “research-talky” so that they’re more relevant to a wider audience
  • Identify places where I can go lighter on the details to shorten the talk (I have a 30 minute window and am hoping to leave 10 minutes for conversation)