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Community Moderation and Support on DEV

michaeltharrington profile image Michael Tharrington (he/him) ・4 min read

Hello, wonderful devs!

If we haven’t interacted on DEV before, I’m Michael — the Community Manager here at Forem.

We recently hit an amazing milestone here on DEV — 500k users and counting! That’s a lot of people that turn to this community for inspiration, motivation, and support.

Given all of the recent growth in the DEV community, alongside the official launch of Forem this past year, our team has continued to discuss the nature of community moderation. I wanted to describe our shared approach to keeping this space safe and enjoyable for everyone.

This post is intended to describe our philosophy on content moderation while reiterating the tools available to you as a community member.

Since the DEV community is a community, ensuring that we are maintaining a respectful, positive environment for everyone here is our single highest priority. We are constantly iterating on how we uphold that commitment as a team.

A note about community moderation

In a word, community moderation is hard. And it should be — no matter how many tools we build and rely upon to monitor articles, conversations, and other community behavior, manual human insight will always be necessary when it comes to ensuring a community like DEV remains safe and constructive.

Properly supporting a global group of human beings is a nuanced undertaking that can’t be automated away. We’ve built a system that combines the best of programmatic assistance and human intervention from core team members, along with a growing community moderation program.

We have a small but mighty team of engineers and community managers that constantly moderate posts, comments, site activity, emails, and abuse reports at DEV. We’re distributed across many time-zones, and we’re on the job seven days per week, three hundred and sixty five days per year (we rotate for weekends and holidays; fun fact: @ben , @jess , and @peter take on this task regularly in addition to other core team members — including me!).

We do our absolute best to ensure that we consistently respond to issues as quickly as possible. We address the vast majority of reports within just a few hours (though some situations that require more deliberation can occasionally take up to 48 hours). We also supplement our core team’s efforts with a number of tools that empower the community to help keep things positive and safe.

How You Can Help

We’ve taken several measures to allow all members of the DEV Community to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears. If you see inappropriate behavior/abuse, here's what you can do to help.

Report Bad Behavior

You may recall that we’ve had our battles with spam:

We have some new tools in place to help us better prevent similar incidents from occurring and clogging up your feeds:

Add ability for admin to add anti-spam terms #10615

What type of PR is this? (check all applicable)

  • [ ] Refactor
  • [x] Feature
  • [ ] Bug Fix
  • [ ] Optimization
  • [ ] Documentation Update

Description

This adds the ability for admins to modify a list of terms which may indicate spam. But unlike past "quiet" spam indicators, this automatically creates a vomit reaction which an admin can later manually reverse or at least be aware of. In the past we have modified spam-related scores but it hasn't really worked effectively into our workflows. I think this reversible action should be how we raise spam automatically in general.

With comments I decided to limit it to newer accounts because we're examining the whole comment and not just the title. But this can be modified over time. If a support admin is seeing false positives with a term they should consider removing those. We can alter the logic over time to ensure as few false-positive scenarios as possible.

Even so, spam, abuse, and problematic behavior is an inevitable frustration of any online community. We ask DEV members who want to help us combat Code of Conduct violations to take the following steps:

  • If you see a suspicious or problematic comment or article, report it by clicking the three-dot icon (to the left of articles, in the upper-right corner of comments):
    Comment Report
    Article Report

  • If you see multiple offenses from the same author, report their profile instead of reporting multiple articles:
    Report Author

Our community management team carefully reviews each report.

Lead By Example

Think back to when you first joined the DEV Community — whether it was last week or last year, you probably learned a lot about how to be a valuable member of this space from how other members behaved. We rely on good citizens here to demonstrate the respectful, kind spirit that DEV is known for and that includes you!

So, what does it mean to be a good citizen on DEV? Here are just a few examples:

  • Demonstration over dogma — Are you a diehard fan of a certain programming language? Demonstrate why you feel so passionately about it with an engaging tutorial instead of critiquing developers who feel differently.
  • Information over promotion — DEV is a place to help and learn from your peers. Articles on DEV are not a place to sell your product or embed affiliate links. That said, DEV Listings are a great place to post upcoming events, job openings, mentorship opportunities, ebook offers, etc. Learn more here.
  • Kindness over everything — Our community has zero-tolerance for personal and pointed attacks, bigotry, hate speech, intimidation, and harassment.

Moderating Content as a Trusted User

DEV gives trusted users the ability to take certain privileged actions on the platform. For instance, they can help promote valuable posts, gently reduce the visibility of low-quality —spammy, overly promotional, or unhelpful — posts, and quickly flag rule-breaking content to the DEV Staff. This extends to comments as well.

To sum it up, trusted users can:

  • Use quick reactions to help moderate content
  • Seamlessly flag rule-breaking behavior to DEV staff
  • Rate the experience level of an article
  • Access the Mod Center

For more details on the trusted user role at DEV, check out this community moderation guide.

One of our 2021 goals is to grant more community members the Trusted User role. We’re looking forward to collaborating with more of you on this important work.

Keep being awesome and you might get these additional permissions...

A Final Note

We know you read it when you first joined DEV, but here is our Code of Conduct. It is the foundation for the way we approach community moderation on DEV and provides a framework for how to show up on this platform.


I can’t thank our core team, trusted users, and the helpful members of DEV enough for their tireless work in making DEV the inclusive space you know and love.

Discussion (13)

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graciegregory profile image
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leewynne profile image
lee

Great post Michael!

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt

Glad to be in Mod team ! Thanks DEV Community to be a awesome platform everyday 🥰😄

Yaaay!

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rosiesherry profile image
Rosie Sherry

I'm curious to know how many paid employees have a 'community role', are you able to share?

And also, how many trusted users you have?

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him) Author

Hey Rosie,

Great questions!

We currently have 3 paid employees in what I think of as community roles. I'm currently the Community Manager for DEV, Gracie is DEV's Content Manager, and Christina is our Open Source Community Manager.

As far as trusted users go, we have over 1000 and are trying to grow this group! 😀

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graciegregory profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

We are also hiring for a community associate! dev.to/listings/jobs/community-ass...

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tracycss profile image
Jane Tracy 👩🏽‍💻

Love the Hard work and dedication of the Dev Team to make this community inclusive and a great place to learn and grow.
Glad to be part of the mod team. 🙂

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codicacom profile image
Codica

Thanks so much for your hard work!

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ajhalili2006 profile image
Andrei Jiroh Eugenio Halili • Edited

Are all the requirements to get the trusted user role an secret for Forem devs and maintainers to prevent spam?

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gautham495 profile image
Gautham Vijayan

How can I contact dev.

Can you give me your email.

I got this shield button in my navbar.

DM me your email id please.

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shadowtime2000 profile image
shadowtime2000

The shield button means you are a trusted user and you can help moderate articles.

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sata67172636 profile image
Sata

Great post Michael!

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v6 profile image
🦄N B🛡

problematic