Recently mobile livestreaing app Periscope announced that they will be enlisting users to be their moderators when it comes to commenters leaving abusive comments. As the Forbes article I linked to points out, this is not a good idea. I would go as far as calling it the inmates running the asylum.
I’m not saying that all Periscope users are obnoxious trolls but we’re talking about the venue where watchers were giving likes to an alleged livestreamed rape. In addition to that, if history is any indicator, leaving moderation to the users always ends up in the moderators being the most abusive. Craigslist’s ‘community policing’ comes to mind. The classifieds site claims that they can’t afford to hire moderators and let the users flag ads that violate their terms of service, except that’s not what the users do. Instead they use the flagging ability as their personal harassment tool. A number of business will flag the ads of competitors or racists will flag any ad that’s not in English among other abuses of the privilege. Let’s also not forget all the ads for illegal items and services that never get flagged.
While giving users who stream more robust tools to moderate their own streams is commendable, letting stream comments be subject to mob rule will only make the experience not only less enjoyable but could potentially be a business killer for Periscope.