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Pride and Professionalization in Volunteer Moderation: Lessons for Effective Platform-User CollaborationWhile most moderation actions on major social platforms are performed by either the platforms themselves or volunteer moderators, it is rare for platforms to collaborate directly with moderators to address problems. This paper examines how the group-chatting platform Discord coordinated with experienced volunteer moderators to respond to hate and harassment toward LGBTQ+ communities during Pride Month, June 2021, in what came to be known as the "Pride Mod" initiative. Representatives from Discord and volunteer moderators collaboratively identified and communicated with targeted communities, and volunteers temporarily joined servers that requested support to supplement those servers' existing volunteer moderation teams. Though LGBTQ+ communities were subject to a wave of targeted hate during Pride Month, the communities that received the requested volunteer support reported having a better capacity to handle the issues that arose. This paper reports the results of interviews with 11 moderators who participated in the initiative as well as the Discord employee who coordinated it. We show how this initiative was made possible by the way Discord has cultivated trust and built formal connections with its most active volunteers, and discuss the ethical implications of formal collaborations between for-profit platforms and volunteer users.Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 28, 2023
This work investigates how social agents can be designed to create a sense of ownership over them within a group of users. Social agents, such as conversational agents and chatbots, currently interact with people in impersonal, isolated, and often one-on-one interactions: one user and one agent. This is likely to change as agents become more socially sophisticated and integrated in social fabrics. Previous research has indicated that understanding who owns an agent can assist in creating expectations and understanding who an agent is accountable to within a group. We present findings from a three week case-study in which we implemented a chatbot that was successful in creating a sense of collective ownership within a community. We discuss the design choices that led to this outcome and implications for social agent design.
A wide variety of design strategies, tools, and processes are used across the game industry. Prior work has shown that these processes are often collaborative, with experts in different domains contributing to different parts of the whole. However, the ways in which these professionals give and receive peer feedback have not yet been studied in depth. In this paper we present results from interviews with industry professionals at two game studios, describing the ways they give feedback. We propose a new, six step process that describes the full feedback cycle from making plans to receive feedback to reflecting and acting upon that feedback. This process serves as a starting point for researchers studying peer feedback in games, and allows for comparison of processes across different types of studios. It will also help studios formalize their understanding of their own processes and consider alternative processes that might better fit their needs.