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  1. When people have the freedom to create and post content on the internet, particularly anonymously, they do not always respect the rules and regulations of the websites on which they post, leaving other unsuspecting users vulnerable to sexism, racism, threats, and other unacceptable content in their daily cyberspace diet. However, content moderators witness the worst of humanity on a daily basis in place of the average netizen. This takes its toll on moderators, causing stress, fatigue, and emotional distress akin to the symptomology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The goal of the present study was to explore whether adding positive stimuli to breaktimes-images of baby animals or beautiful, aweinspiring landscapes-could help reduce the negative side-effects of being a content moderator. To test this, we had over 300 experienced content moderators read and decide whether 200 fake text-based social media posts were acceptable or not for public consumption. Although we set out to test positive emotional stimulation, however, we actually found that it is the cumulative nature of the negative emotions that likely negates most of the effects of the intervention: the longer the person had practiced content moderation, the stronger their negative experience. Connections to compassion fatigue and how bestmore »to spend work breaks as a content moderator are discussed.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 7, 2023
  2. Volunteer moderators (mods) play significant roles in developing moderation standards and dealing with harmful content in their micro-communities. However, little work explores how volunteer mods work as a team. In line with prior work about understanding volunteer moderation, we interview 40 volunteer mods on Twitch — a leading live streaming platform. We identify how mods collaborate on tasks (off-streaming coordination and preparation, in-stream real-time collaboration, and relationship building both off-stream and in-stream to reinforce collaboration) and how mods contribute to moderation standards (collaboratively working on the community rulebook and individually shaping community norms). We uncover how volunteer mods work as an effective team. We also discuss how the affordances of multi-modal communication and informality of volunteer moderation contribute to task collaboration, standards development, and mod’s roles and responsibilities.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 29, 2023
  3. Content moderation is an essential part of online community health and governance. While much of extant research is centered on what happens to the content, moderation also involves the management of violators. This study focuses on how moderators (mods) make decisions about their actions after the violation takes place but before the sanction by examining how they "profile" the violators. Through observations and interviews with volunteer mods on Twitch, we found that mods engage in a complex process of collaborative evidence collection and profile violators into different categories to decide the type and extent of punishment. Mods consider violators' characteristics as well as behavioral history and violation context before taking moderation action. The main purpose of the profiling was to avoid excessive punishment and aim to integrate violators more into the community. We discuss the contributions of profiling to moderation practice and suggest design mechanisms to facilitate mods' profiling processes.
  4. Modern social media platforms like Twitch, YouTube, etc., embody an open space for content creation and consumption. However, an unintended consequence of such content democratization is the proliferation of toxicity and abuse that content creators get subjected to. Commercial and volunteer content moderators play an indispensable role in identifying bad actors and minimizing the scale and degree of harmful content. Moderation tasks are often laborious, complex, and even if semi-automated, they involve high-consequence human decisions that affect the safety and popular perception of the platforms. In this paper, through an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers from social science, human-computer interaction, and visualization, we present a systematic understanding of how visual analytics can help in human-in-the-loop content moderation. We contribute a characterization of the data-driven problems and needs for proactive moderation and present a mapping between the needs and visual analytic tasks through a task abstraction framework. We discuss how the task abstraction framework can be used for transparent moderation, design interventions for moderators’ well-being, and ultimately, for creating futuristic human-machine interfaces for data-driven content moderation.
  5. Volunteer moderators actively engage in online content management, such as removing toxic content and sanctioning anti-normative behaviors in user-governed communities. The synchronicity and ephemerality of live-streaming communities pose unique moderation challenges. Based on interviews with 21 volunteer moderators on Twitch, we mapped out 13 moderation strategies and presented them in relation to the bad act, enabling us to categorize from proactive and reactive perspectives and identify communicative and technical interventions. We found that the act of moderation involves highly visible and performative activities in the chat and invisible activities involving coordination and sanction. The juxtaposition of real-time individual decision-making with collaborative discussions and the dual nature of visible and invisible activities of moderators provide a unique lens into a role that relies heavily on both the social and technical. We also discuss how the affordances of live-streaming contribute to these unique activities.
  6. Live streaming is a form of interactive media that potentially makes streamers more vulnerable to harassment due to the unique attributes of the technology that facilitates enhanced information sharing via video and audio. In this study, we document the harassment experiences of 25 live streamers on Twitch from underrepresented groups including women and/or LGBTQ streamers and investigate how they handle and prevent adversity. In particular, live streaming enables streamers to self-moderate their communities, so we delve into the methods of how they manage their communities from both a social and technical perspective. We found that technology can cover the basics for handling negativity, but much emotional and relational work is invested in moderation, community maintenance, and self-care.
  7. Rules and norms are critical to community governance. Live streaming communities like Twitch consist of thousands of micro-communities called channels. We conducted two studies to understand the micro-community rules. Study one suggests that Twitch users perceive that both rules transparency and communication frequency matter to channel vibe and frequency of harassment. Study two finds that the most popular channels have no channel or chat rules; among these having rules, rules encouraged by streamers are prominent. We explain why this may happen and how this contributes to community moderation and future research.
  8. Paralamium (Lamiaceae) is a monotypic genus within the subfamily Lamioideae and has a sporadic distribution in subtropical mountains of southeast Asia. Although recent studies have greatly improved our understanding of generic relationships within Lamioideae, the second most species-rich subfamily of Lamiaceae, the systematic position of Paralamium within the subfamily remains unclear. In this study, we investigate the phylogenetic placement of the genus using three datasets: (1) a 69,276 bp plastome alignment of Lamiaceae; (2) a five chloroplast DNA region dataset of tribe Pogostemoneae, and (3) a nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region dataset of Pogostemoneae. These analyses demonstrate that Paralamium is a member of Pogostemoneae and sister to the monotypic genus Craniotome . In addition, generic-level phylogenetic relationships within Pogostemoneae are also discussed, and a dichotomous key for genera within Pogostemoneae is provided.
  9. Harassment is an issue in online communities with the live streaming platform Twitch being no exception. In this study, we surveyed 375 Twitch users in person at TwitchCon, asking them about who should be responsible for deciding what should be allowed and what strategies they perceived to be effective in handling harassment. We found that users thought that streamers should be most responsible for enforcing rules and that either blocking bad actors, ignoring them, or trying to educate them were the most effective strategies.
  10. Twitch is one of the largest live streaming platforms and is unique from other social media in that it supports synchronous interaction and enables users to engage in moderation of the content through varied technical tools, which include auto-moderation tools provided by Twitch, third-party applications, and home-brew apps. The authors interviewed 21 moderators on Twitch and categorized the current features of real-time moderation tools they are using into four functions (chat control, content control, viewer control, settings control) and explored some new features of tools that they wish to own (e.g., grouping chat by languages, pop out window to hold messages, chat slow down, a set of buttons with pre-written/pre-message content, viewer activity tracking, all in one). Design implications provide suggestions for chatbots and algorithm design and development.