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Content Moderation: Keeping Our E-communities Safe

Do you ever wonder how Youtube keeps its videos relatively clean? Or how your Facebook ensures that user-generated content doesn't include offensive material? As content marketing gets more and more...

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Do you ever wonder how Youtube keeps its videos relatively clean? Or how your Facebook ensures that user-generated content doesn't include offensive material? As content marketing gets more and more popular and businesses start to build and create communities, it’s important to be aware of what is content moderation and the urgent need for it.

What is Content Moderation?

Content moderation is the process of reviewing and approving content before it is published. Content moderation processes are put in place to help ensure that only quality content is published and to protect against any content that could be offensive, harmful, or simply not relevant.

There are a number of different content moderation strategies that can be used, and the most effective approach will vary depending on the type of content being moderated, the community in which it will be published, and the specific goals of the content moderation process. One of the most important things to remember when moderating content is to be consistent. Inconsistent moderation can lead to a feeling of unfairness among users and can ultimately damage the community.

Some common content moderation strategies include a manual review by humans, algorithms that automatically flag or approve content, and a combination of both moderators and automated reviews. 

What is a Content Moderator?

Content moderators are the ones who remove hate speech and other offensive user-generated content from websites, social media platforms, and other online platforms. If they find something that doesn't meet the standards or may harm brand reputation, they take action to remove it or flag it for review by a human moderator.

Why Is Content Moderation Important?

You can choose not to moderate your user-generated content, but that typically ends poorly pretty quickly. Look at any Twitter campaign that has been launched and immediately twisted to a sarcastic form of its intended purpose by the internet. The company or individual behind the campaign may have had great intentions, but without automated moderation, their message was quickly lost.

The same can be said for online communities. If you moderate your content, you can keep the message and tone of your community intact. This is important for several reasons. First, it keeps your community safe from online predators. Second, it keeps your community from devolving into a place where only trolls and spammers feel welcome. Finally, it allows you to control the tone and message of your online community, which is important for branding purposes.

Types of Content Moderation

There are several different types of content moderation,  and the type you choose will depend on the size and purpose of your community.


Pre-moderation is used by many .org blogs and organizations to keep their content relevant, useful, and polite. If someone wants to submit a comment on a particular post, they will write out their comment, name, and usually an email address and wait a few hours for the content moderator to read and approve of their comment. This is a fantastic way to keep everything professional and not have anyone running amok, but it’s slow and your community does not get the instant gratification of immediate contribution.


This type of content moderation involves someone monitoring after submissions are made and removing any irrelevant or inappropriate user-generated content and comments. Unlike Pre-moderation, your community gets the instant gratification of immediate involvement. The downside is there is often much more inappropriate content subject to moderation, which means much more time (possibly paid labor) to make sure your community is both helpful and appropriate.

Reactive Moderation

Reactive moderation is user-generated content moderation. You rely on your community to alert you of any wrongdoing or inappropriate content or persons. It doesn’t offer you nearly as much control over your community as the first two options, but there is less work on your side.

User Moderation

User Moderation is a rating system from your users on the relevance of your content. If you’ve ever been to Digg or Reddit, it’s the upvote system. If you’ve been on Amazon, it’s the “5 users found this comment helpful.” The more people find the content relevant and rate it so, the higher on the list it can be found.

Automated moderation

This method typically takes the form of a program that scans the text for keywords (mostly inappropriate ones) and filters out those comments. It can keep anything crass out of your online communities, but the software isn’t quite as good as a person yet. There are a variety of ways in which automated moderation can be used. For example, some platforms use bots to automatically flag content that contains certain keywords or phrases. Other platforms use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze user-generated content and to identify patterns that may indicate abusive or spammy behavior.

Final Thoughts

If community and content are part of your marketing strategy, you should seriously consider what you are going to do about your content moderation. We all are aware of the potential to abuse the power of anonymity on the internet,  and many companies have been the target of online attacks. In order to protect your brand reputation and keep your e-communities safe, you need to have a plan for content moderation.

If moderating a community isn’t quite your cup of tea, there are many options to outsource content moderation. Helpware is a company that specializes in content moderation for online communities and social media companies. The company provides a wide range of services, including user support, customer service, and content moderation. If you’re interested in outsourcing content moderation, learn more about Helpware services here.

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Nick Mannella
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