Moderation is a frequent topic on Hubski, and new users often inquire about it. For that reason, we thought it worthwhile to clarify how moderation on Hubski works, and about the philosophy behind our approach.
User moderation functions on Hubski:
Moderation on Hubski is largely in the hands of its users. Currently, users have three moderation functions that customize the content that they see. These functions are: filter, mute, and hush. Filter moderates feeds, and mute and hush moderate comments.
Filter: By choosing which users, tags, and/or domains to follow, users create a customized feed that represents a slice of all posts on Hubski. To fine tune their feed, users can filter any user, domain, or tag. Thus, you can follow #astronomy, but filter space.com, in order to see all posts with the #astronomy tag that are not from space.com.
The primary purpose of filter is to enable you to see the posts that you want, and to hide the ones that you don't.
Mute: The mute function prevents a specific user from commenting on a post that you have submitted. Thus, if you mute Oscar, Oscar cannot comment on your posts. Mute has no effect on posts that you did not submit. Muted users cannot shout-out to you.
The primary purpose of mute is to prevent comment spam, and to discourage commentors that consistently detract from thoughtful discussion.
Hush: The hush function sorts a specific user's comments to the bottom of comment threads. Hush only affects comment sorting on posts that you view. It does not affect comment sorting for other users.
The primary purpose of hush is to diminish the impact of commentors that you do not find interesting, or that you find disruptive, on the posts that you view.
Other moderation on Hubski:
It is our goal to rely on individual user moderation whenever possible, and to employ top-down moderation as little as possible. Currently, there are two types of top-down moderation:
Global filter: If a user is the target of a significant amount of user moderation, particularly filter, their posts may no longer appear in the global feeds. The global filter trigger is automated; however, we closely monitor the list of globally filtered users. There are a number of factors that determine whether or not a user is globally filtered, but the most significant factor is how much the user is filtered by other users of Hubski. Other aspects of that user's activity are considered, as well as the aspects of those users that interact with them. It is extremely difficult for a member of Hubski that is appreciated by even a small fraction of the community to be globally filtered. Posts from globally filtered users may be seen if you toggle show-global-filtered to 'yes' in your settings. Globally filtered users can be followed and shared as normal.
The primary purpose of global filter is to remove spam from the global feed. SEO posts about vacation hotels are an example of the spam that we intend global filter to target.
Direct moderation: Members of the Hubski team may specifically remove content or globally filter a user. It is our goal to do this as little as possible. Some instances where we might directly moderate are: personal information has been posted against someone's wishes, in response to the request of a valid copyright holder, or if we judge that a reasonable person could not imagine the content to be the topic of thoughtful conversation (for example, titillating images or advertisements). We may employ direct moderation in cases of clear harassment, but typically only after user moderation has failed to resolve the situation. Frequently content may qualify for direct moderation, but we may not intervene.
The primary purpose of direct moderation is to remove illegal content and spam.
Our moderation philosophy:
Ideally, people would interact in a respectful manner, and would use Hubski as intended. However, this isn't always the case, and sometimes moderation is desirable. There is no such thing as perfect moderation, or a perfectly-moderated Hubski. At best, we can apply moderation in such a way that most users can agree that the overall result is beneficial. Our goal for moderation is that Hubski is fertile ground for thoughtful conversation. Our goal is not that everything but thoughtful conversation be removed. In fact, we strongly believe that only by allowing deviation from thoughtful conversation, can Hubski be a home for it.
It is not our intent that moderation on Hubski should prevent conflict, insults, or hurt feelings. Hubski is open to anyone that has access to the internet, and conflicts and hurtful behavior will occur. Hurtful behavior is strongly discouraged, and moderation is one tool that may minimize it, however, we do not view the occurrence of hurtful behavior to be a failure, as we feel that an effort for eradication of hurtful behavior would do more harm than good to Hubski overall.
If something can be the basis of a thoughtful conversation, we have no interest in applying top-down moderation to it. Users can decide if they want to avoid certain opinions or subject matter, and moderate their interactions with them.
The power of not responding:
When it comes to discussion, the most effective moderation tool a user has is the option not to respond. If a specific comment evokes negative emotions, it is worthwhile to examine the purpose of your planned response, and to determine whether or not your response changes Hubski for the better or worse. An unanswered deleterious comment is less detrimental to Hubski than a thoughtless exchange.
I'd be happy to clarify the mechanisms above, or expand upon the rationale behind them in the comments.
p.s. doesntgolf recently proposed that the user moderation functions appear with descriptions next to checkboxes in a user’s profile. This was a clear improvement that removed ambiguity, and we made this change.
p.p.s. It was recently suggested by steve that a muted user should be able to PM the user that muted them, as the PM has been a means of conflict resolution in the past. We would like to hear the community’s thoughts on this.