How MeFi (and other providers) deal with trust & safety issues November 21, 2021 12:09 PM   Subscribe

MetaFilter and several other online service providers responded to a survey about how they prevent and respond to harmful content. A new research paper analyzes those trust and safety techniques: "These findings have implications for policy debates over the regulation of online service providers’ anti-abuse obligations and their use of end-to-end encryption." It's research and it's written in academic language but I figured that it would make sense to mention it here since it's a published paper that analyzes MeFi. See the appendix for some quotes from MetaFilter management.

From the "Limitations" subsection of the "Methodology" section: "while some small entities responded to the survey (such as and MetaFilter), the data is biased toward bigger organizations with large user bases."
posted by brainwane to MetaFilter-Related at 12:09 PM (5 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Yes! This was interesting. I think I was responsible for basically 100% of the actual response text that shows up in the paper, though I chatted about it with the team some before and during the questionnaire process.

The note below-the-fold here is definitely pertinent: the framing of the study toward larger social media spaces made answering some of the questions a little bit complicated in terms of interpretation, and I ended up clarifying at least one point after the fact with one of the researchers because it was hard to fit some of the assumptions in the question framing to a site like MeFi.

It's both gratifying and sadly unsurprising to see the degree to which we provided thorough, detailed answers to the questions contrasted against the larger organizations; we don't have a PR department constraining and editing answers to straightforward questions the way larger, more conservative businesses might.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on November 21, 2021 [12 favorites]

I was really happy to see that Metafilter provided thoughtful answers. It was interesting to see that the other site providing detailed responses was, which is also very small (1 admin, ~2k active users).

The key point I found interesting was that in all but a few categories, user reports really seemed like the highest-value signal for finding abuse.

Also, the paper’s author Riana Pfefferkorn does really fascinating work and is worth following on Twitter if that’s a site you use.
posted by learning from frequent failure at 2:51 PM on November 21, 2021 [3 favorites]


We can do better than that. Come on Metafilterians, lets upvote this into the top 10!
posted by riruro at 12:53 PM on November 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Rank 37,760

Movin’ on up.
posted by rip at 4:38 AM on November 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Haven't heard of this site before....
[/me clicks]
oooh, a professional white background!
posted by kaibutsu at 3:42 PM on November 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

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