Masters of Community with David Spinks
Building Safe & Inclusive Communities, Human Moderation, & Community Monetization with Jessica Moreno
July 12, 2021
In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Jessica Moreno - Former Community and Social Lead at Terraformation. Since 2009, Jessica has been obsessed with bridging the gap between product and community. She strives to bring people together in a way that is meaningful for both members and business. She worked at Reddit for six years, where she was Head of Community Products and the Co-Founder of Reddit Gifts. Jessica talks about how the word “safe community” is a misnomer and discusses the steps to creating actual trust and safety in large internet communities. The main challenge community organizations face when raising funds for their initiatives is the expectation of VCs for fast “hockey-stick” growth. Jessica discusses how human moderators are essential for large communities, as automated moderation has limited capability and often misses clear signs of harassment. David and Jessica also talk about the culture behind monetizing communities and discuss the future of community monetization. Who is this episode for?: Community Managers who are interested in building and monetizing safe and inclusive communities. 3 key takeaways: 1. Building Safe & Inclusive Communities - The complex social structures and the sheer size of internet communities make participants more vulnerable to loss of privacy and harassment. It’s impossible to build a 100% safe community, so it’s better to help people take active measures to feel safe and protected than attempt to simply stop the harassment. Resources, vulnerabilities, moderator training, and input from community moderators help immensely in this regard. When VCs invest in communities and community platforms, they often expect a “unicorn outcome.” Such “hockey-stick-like” fast-paced growth may not be possible with communities 2. Role of Human Moderation in Community Management - Automated technology that perfectly recognizes harassment at a contextual level may not always be possible. Therefore, innovate while you can, but ultimately invest in community management staff responsible for creating trust and safety in your communities 3. Community Monetization Monetization of communities is possible through tips and monthly memberships with paid content. The challenge is to find new and innovative ways to create value worth paying for as a community platform that is different from creator-led communities. A cultural shift to a state where community enabling platforms are considered full-time jobs, beyond tips, is required Notable Quotes: 1. “If you can make a solid code of conduct that is aligned with your values and your mission for the community, you can create what you really want and you can avoid creating an accidental catastrophe of acuity” 2. “You want to let people build the communities they want. So I'm all the way on board with that, but providing resources for them to learn more about best practices. To have more support in what they're doing so that they can feel more confident and just understand it more. I think that would be helpful when I started there.” 3. “Look up the issues. There are articles out there. So there's information out there that you can find, and you can learn about the things that happen if they don't happen to you. So I think that it's a matter of self-education.” 4. “People do expect free things on the internet. It's sort of built that way in the beginning. Nobody really knew how to monetize it, or if they even should. I think in a lot of terms, a lot of situations. So now we're at a place where we realize these are businesses and we do need to be paid for them... And people are kind of off-put by that a lot of times, just like that I've had this for free forever.” 5. “You can even go deeper with advertising and I should do like partnerships between brands and communities because now more and more brands are trying to reach communities and partner with them and reach their audience. And it's hard for community builders, especially if they're just like an indie community entrepreneur to find a big brand to work with. So we want to facilitate those connections.” Rapid-fire question answers: 1. What book has had the biggest impact on your life? The Snowy Day, a children's book by Ezra Jack Keats 2. What's a go-to engagement tactic or conversation starter that you like to use in your commute? Talk about something that you love personally and then asking other people their stories 3. What was the funniest or most interesting secret Santa from the Reddit Secret Santa? It was a big shark and there were instructions to perform surgery on the shark 4. What is the proudest moment of your career? Gifts for teachers at Reddit gifts What's the question I didn't ask you that I should ask? Weaponizing benign tools that we just discussed Words with Friends 5. If you were to find yourself on your deathbed today, and you had to condense all of your life lessons into one Twitter-sized piece of advice to the rest of the world [what would it be]? When going through something really hard, stop beating yourself up over your mistakes. Step back and think “if my friend came to me with this problem, what would I say to her?” And then try to apply that to yourself

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