The Borg vs Moderators
Oh look, a technology-infused humanoid! It’s like a site operator’s dream: a calculated, pre-scripted worker and mindless drone who is completely infused within a system and operates purely by code. Drastically lowers human error, right? Debatably cost effective!
Would you let this creature moderate your message board? How about moderate your virtual world or your Facebook page?
If you answered “yes” to those questions, then you need to catch up on your Star Trek. Meet The Borg. The Borg are a scary race of cyborgs that would likely overrun your community. They have a directive, and that directive is to stomp out individuality in lieu of assimilation – abide or be destroyed. Mindless drones with a militaristic directive watching over your online community may sound ideal in a scalable sense, but it’s not.
The world is obsessed with technology, and that technology has opened the door to new forms of communication and engagement online. Unfortunately, that communication isn’t always friendly. True, often sites need strong hands in community, and although it may seem like a more militaristic hand is involved to curb the issues, it’s not the healthy approach. Neither is a hardline filter that almost blocks as much good as it does bad. That’s where Metaverse comes in!
Of course, along with the evolution of online communications channels, we’re seeing constant improvements to moderation software, chat filters and other tools. Every now and then, someone assumes that these tools alone are enough to keep their community free of spam and abuse. Like the Borg after trying to assimilate Species 8472, they’ll soon see the error of their ways.
When moderating, you need that human touch to analyze the context of your chat, make sure you’re catching the latest slang and properly deciphering clever attempts to get around filters. You need someone who can understand perspective, judge for the betterment of the community, but still exercise discretion or empathy in managing a behavior situation. You need a voice that understands when a situation needs a hardline response, or a sensitive mediation. Moderation software on its own is a lot like the Borg: powerful, technologically advanced, an impressive collective overall, but lacking the all-important human instincts and creativity.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m in NO way implying that moderation software is a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it’s a great thing (sort of like 7 of 9)! I highly recommend having filters and moderation software for your community, but they should be used in addition to live moderators and not as a means to replace them. Just as the Borg can’t function without the Queen controlling the hive mind, moderation software simply won’t be as effective without a trained moderator at the helm – a moderator who understands compassion, context, and works with the community. And that’s what we do.