[tech] Managing un-moderated account creation and it's side-effects

Mansfield mansfield at ondollo.com
Fri Jan 8 02:41:09 GMT 2021

Thanks for the response - I've inlined as well.

On Wed, Jan 6, 2021 at 11:46 PM Emma Humphries <ech at emmah.net> wrote:

> Comments inline.
> My background on this is my work helping moderate Mozilla's
> Bugzilla bug tracker from 2015 to last year.
> On Wed, Jan 6, 2021, at 20:38, Mansfield Mansfield wrote:
> > One of the options I'm considering is to restrict the number of posts a
> > new account can make. Say, only "one page"? This wouldn't remove *all*
> > negative side-effects, but seems to discourage some abuse and
> > facilitate any clean-up since there'd only be one 'thing' to remove.
> You'd have drive-by abusers, but in my experience those sort of users
> post will do a burst of posts and either leave or they are banned. Making
> it
> easy to tag those sorts of posts so a moderator can clean them up is key.

I hadn't given much thought to implementing specific mechanisms to make
moderation easier. I think I just thought, "It won't be difficult".
Implementing specific tools to help moderate is a good suggestion. I'll
look into it.

> Also, remember that some days a reasonable person of good intent will
> have a bad community day.
> Sometimes you don't need a ban, but just a takedown and a, "hey, don't
> do that" backed up with bans for people who don't get the message.

Too true. I like your suggestion of levels of response... I'll have to
think about that... maybe a pause button on new content? Rate limit... I
like it.

> You could also do invites so you can do controlled growth.

I hadn't considered invites for general posts, but was starting to think
along those lines for facilitating community generation. A sort of ability
to make invite-only groups. Feels like an OK way to share moderation
ability. Maybe provide community managers with invite-only ability and a
pause button with eventual ban.

> > Another option is to limit the *kind* of content that a new account can
> > provide. Say, no links? This could curtail a type of side-effect
> > (facilitating access to external content through my domain/server), but
> > not entirely, since text/gemini *without* explicit links could just as
> > easily be a link-in-plain-text that is copied and used somewhere else.
> Limiting new account privileges is a one way to start, in terms of
> no-links, no-attachments, no tagging other users, no direct replies.
> One of the issues I dealt with, was too many permissions for new posts
> which caused confusion or missing steps in process. That's less likely for
> people just making posts.

I think I agree. One of the points about text/gemini that I've enjoyed is
that there's so little there to begin with - not much to remove if a more
limited format is what's wanted.

> > A third option I'm considering is to limit the visibility of the
> > content that a new account can provide. I've written an HTTP server
> > that provides access to the Gemini content, so, maybe I disallow any
> > content from accounts less than say, 1 month old?
> A friend has given a lot of though to the onboarding problem,
> https://gist.github.com/aredridel/470d6d186f3d848b3a7eeb6f8fa8dcf9,
> and one of the suggestions is about getting people into community.
> So you could ask someone joining "what content you want to find? Cooking,
> Rust, anime, crochet, axe throwing, etc.." and plug them into that
> community
> to start, then broaden the scope as they make connections.
> You will have to do some bootstrapping of community, but expectations
> are a lot easier to build out of a group of people invested in making
> community.

Thanks for the link!

I think I'll have to spend some time thinking through flipping the problem
away from being about privacy... it's a different take...

I like the exploration of onboarding communities as a unit... not one-off
as individuals. Something like... you can start a community if you can get
5 others to join you in the waiting room and agree together to start a
community... or something...

> > The last option I've been mulling over is to just accept the
> > side-effects, but that feels too much like an ends-justify-means
> > approach which I find weak as a motivation... but... I *almost* prefer
> > encouraging communication and creation enough to endure negative
> > side-effects.
> Creating community and creation are good, and don't get in the the way
> of people doing that, but doing things in the way that someone can't
> wreck the place either intentionally or not.

That's what I'm dreaming of - I feel heard and helped - thanks!

> Emma H
> gemini://gemini.djinn.party/
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