Community Can Be More Than Just a Place “Where Everybody Knows Your Username”

I recently had the opportunity to attend the annual FOSI ( conference in Washington, DC, and it was a great reminder of why what we do at ModSquad is sometimes life changing.

A lot of our work is in moderation and customer support of games and entertainment, and that’s awesome. We love talking to peers about things they’re excited about and working with both clients and their customers to get issues solved quickly so they can go back to having fun. But some of our work affects people’s lives to a deeper and more serious extent. In working with ReachOut over the last few years, we’ve been able to take part in a meaningful way with helping youth struggling with change and issues.

But this post isn’t really about us; it’s about the wider realm of community moderation and online safety and access. At the conference, there were a number of great speakers, including:

Chris Wood, who was held hostage by a suicide bomber in the Discovery building (less than a mile from my house), back in 2010. During that experience, he realized that all his fears before that moment were really nothing worth fearing. Now he’s asking what is holding you back from your dreams. #WHYHostage

A 16-year-old girl, Trisha Prabhu, who is fighting cyber bullying by coding her own Apple- and Android-compatible keyboard that asks you to #ReThink before you say something mean.

Nancy Lublin, who runs Crisis Text Line, which is doing amazing things both on a social level (they are initiating five active suicide preventions a day) and on a technical level: They’re analyzing all incoming message traffic (10 million texts so far) for trigger words/phrases and dynamically queuing the messages based on urgency. This has resulted in a 1.8-minute average response time for their Code Orange messages (where someone’s life seems to be in immediate danger).

All of these groups use mods (not ours, but maybe someday) in one way or another, and some of our projects as a company are similar to what they do. One reason to continue to improve what we do at ModSquad is to share what we learn from doing the day-to-day work of commercial CS and moderation with our non-profit friends who are making a difference in people’s lives every day.

It’s by working together as both commercial enterprise and non-profit social enterprises that we can achieve amazing results. And that’s something that keeps me energized and engaged.

Lucien Parsons
Head of Services

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