User Generated Censorship – The Crowd Vs. The Mob

As we see companies embrace more open feedback models and get into a user and customer centric feedback model, one of the challenges that comes up consistently is the notion of the Wisdom of the Crowd Vs. The Mob.

We’ve talked a many clients, and this is one of the consistent themes that come up that needs some attention and thought as we all navigate this open-feedback and open-access model.

I attended a talk by Annalee Newitz about the various strategies different public sites, Blogger, YouTube, Digg, WikiPedia have used to prevent the destructive efforts of Mob from hijacking your community.

Couple of comments and thoughts for everyone from the discussion:

  • Censorship Vs. Terms of Service : Violating the terms of service for a community is different than censorship. Having a human understandable and easy to digest community guidelines can go a long way in establishing the “rules of the road” — instead of putting these in complex legal terminology, we are better of explaining these in terms of how we explain our products and services to companies.
  • Flagging/Reporting Violations : Use the crowd to report violations and flag content that is objectionable. However, make the process involving — Explain _why_ (Choose from a list of granular reasons) why content is objectionalable and/or needs to be reviewed.
  • Have “Levels” of degrading content — Allow users to have thresholds — Have systems in place to allow users to create thresholds of objectionable content. That upholds the right of users to post as well as receive in a reasonable manner without stepping on each other.

More info can be found in her blog – Techsploitation

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