Musings on Web Moderation

Tom Coates of plasticbag has a new weblog called “Everything in Moderation.” Its opening manifesto begins:

Online community development is one of my passions, and I have designed and/or managed social software “solutions” for organisations like UpMyStreet, EMAP and the BBC (often alongside Cal Henderson and/or Denise Wilton. Moderation systems are a particular subpassion of mine. In the abstract, people can think they sound bland, technical or intimidating, but fundamentally moderation is really about all those parts of an online community that stop it just being a place where people stand and shout randomly at each other. They’re about finding the structures and the mechanisms, the techniques and the sensitivities which will help a community form out of a seemingly random clumps of individuals, which will help that community defuse unpleasant situations without killing each other and protect that community from attack.

His opening postings on the cliques among teenagers, political economies in self-moderating communities, and the four types of moderation are all worth reading if you have any interest in the development and evolution of online communities.