Tue 29 Nov 2022 2:13AM

Advance notice of news item Dec 5 11am ET that could increase moderation workload

JNM J. Nathan Matias Public Seen by 71

Hi all, I just joined this week, and I'm excited and grateful for the resources and structure that this community has built up over the years. As a researcher who studies online communities and content moderation, I'm deeply impressed by what this community is doing.

With that in mind, I wanted to offer advance notice of an upcoming publication that might (or might not) create more of a moderation burden for 2-3 days starting Monday Dec 5 at 11am ET. That's when we can expect the publication of a new article in Nature Human Behavior related to questions about diversity and inequality. I expect and hope the article will generate a significant discussion, including on Mastodon.

As for any scholar of color writing about inequality, there's also a hard to predict chance that it might generate significant backlash from racist groups and tabloids in the US and beyond. With that in mind, my colleagues Neil Lewis Jr, Elan Hope, and I have worked with two reddit moderators and a strategic communications team to:

  • develop talking points

  • host the main conversation on r/science, benefitting from their 1k or so moderators

  • monitoring social media, helping us triage the influx, and if (hopefully not) necessary, coordinate with security at our universities on any threats that come our way

If it is helpful, I would be willing to follow up with the moderators on duty in the 2-3 days following publication and connect them with the team we've built to triage things. Since Neil and I have recently left Twitter, I expect our two (amazing) volunteer supporters might also be able to lend some time/effort to support moderation on Mastodon as well.

I imagine this will feel like a short time to respond with one week notice, and maybe an unasked-for burden. Unfortunately I only just heard from Nature today. And unfortunately this is the nature of being a scholar of color on social media—every time you make yourself visible through your work, you need to be prepared to face attacks.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and working with this community to support you in this.


--J. Nathan Matias

PS: I have updated the text of this article to remove sensitive details after remembering that these posts are public.


Evan Boehs Tue 29 Nov 2022 3:11AM

@emi do you are on call currently right?


Stephanie Jo Kent Tue 29 Nov 2022 9:44PM

Hi, welcome, and thanks for the heads-up. I'm eager to read your article and wonder if there's a way you'd like non-moderators to engage with the paper?


J. Nathan Matias Wed 30 Nov 2022 4:14PM

Hi Stephanie, that's a thoughtful suggestion! I don't think anyone should feel any obligation to engage with the paper when it comes out, though if you do have questions or ideas, feel free to ask me on Mastodon, or in the reddit thread that I post!


J. Nathan Matias Tue 6 Dec 2022 2:08PM

Hi all, here's the thread (My internet was out most of yesterday, so I couldn't post it as planned, alas) https://social.coop/@natematias/109466986212207992