A guide to successful community moderation exploring everything from the trenches of Reddit to your neighborhood Facebook page.
Don’t read the comments. Old advice, yet more relevant than ever. The tools we once hailed for their power to connect people and spark creativity can also be hotbeds of hate, harassment, and political division. Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are under fire for either too much or too little moderation. Creating and maintaining healthy online communities isn’t easy.
Over the course of two years of graduate research at MIT, former tech journalist and current product manager Anika Gupta interviewed moderators who’d worked on the sidelines of gamer forums and in the quagmires of online news comments sections. She’s spoken with professional and volunteer moderators for communities like Pantsuit Nation, Nextdoor, World of Warcraft guilds, Reddit, and FetLife.
In How to Handle a Crowd, she shares what makes successful communities tick – and what you can learn from them about the delicate balance of community moderation. Topics include: -Building creative communities in online spaces -Bridging political division—and creating new alliances -Encouraging freedom of speech -Defining and eliminating hate and trolling -Ensuring safety for all participants- -Motivating community members to action
How to Handle a Crowd is the perfect book for anyone looking to take their small community group to the next level, start a career in online moderation, or tackle their own business’s comments section.
Anika Gupta is a digital thought leader whose research on online communities spans several industries. A former science and technology journalist, she’s currently a senior product manager at TheAtlantic. In 2019, she was honored as a member of the Online News Association’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator, a program that finds and trains women media leaders for roles as leaders in the industry. She has a Master’s degree in comparative media studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her journalistic work has appeared online in Smithsonian, Fortune,TheGuardian,and elsewhere.
“... A fascinating peek into a largely overlooked part of the online world. Gupta's work casts a long-overdue spotlight on the work that goes into making online communities enjoyable and rewarding.” —Fiona McQuarrie, Popmatters.com