Gizmodo and Comments

Comment and content moderation is a much discussed topic amongst our clients. Hell, it’s much discussed across the entire socialsphere. Most moderation systems, sadly, remain pretty analog: A group of people are hired to review content and give it a yes/no status which allows or bars it from being published.

Gizmodo posted recently about how their system works and it’s worth the read.

There are three levels of commenters: Unapproved, Approved and Starred. You basically have to audition for the right to comment, by leaving a smart blurb—if it’s good, you’ll get approved by an editor, one of our moderators, or a starred commenter, and then people can see your comment. Your comment is also approved if you sign in through Facebook Connect, since it’s tied to an identity. Truly excellent commenters earn stars, which grant them moderation powers, and makes all of their comments featured (more on that below).

There are three levels of comments: Unapproved, Approved and Featured. Unapproved are only seen by moderators. Approved can be seen by everybody, but a casual reader will have to work a bit to see them. Comments that moderators think are awesome—as well as comments left by star commenters—become featured, which means they’re in bold, and right up front on every post. Think of it as a super version of the karma scheme that Slashdot’s used forever.

More and more companies are building and launching projects that allow users to post/share/comment/upload. Even “small” projects can generate thousands of pieces of content. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) hire enough staff to handle everything manually. Creating smart moderation systems isn’t just smart financially. Smart systems help drive site usage and increase overall user satisfaction. The build culture.

So what about your projects? Are you thinking of moderation as a protection mechanism or as an integral part of the success of your project?