Let's work together to make online communities safe and respectful.
I was really happy to read this post by +Yonatan Zunger
, remarking on Google's hiring of Christopher Poole ("moot"), the founder of the (in)famous site 4chan. https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/posts/TLPw23eiYrM
4chan has long been in the news as a site that -- among other things -- has hosted some rather despicable speech... mean-spirited & even hateful.
At the same time, I have a lot of respect for and trust in Yonatan; I've seen his longstanding public and internal-to-Google engagement on the topic of robust and safe communities online.
And also, I've learned that -- in addition to its abhorrent contributions -- 4chan has provided the internet with fascinating and sometimes hilarious ideas and conversations. It has been, essentially, in many ways like a slice of "real life."
* * *I genuinely believe that Google is concerned about and interested in improving the quality and safety of online communities.
But with that said, I hope all good souls will firmly and respectfully let Google -- and other companies hosting communities online -- know when our efforts fall short.
At a minimum, I personally believe that community members should have powerful and reliable tools to effectively report and block harassment. Ideally, we should all be able to enjoy communities that are structured and maintained in a way that prevents jerks from ever getting a foothold in the first place.
Community design and management is massively difficult; even gobs of money and impressive technologies aren't sufficient. But where there's a will... where there are high expectations... where there are thoughtful, kind, and passionate souls... we can make valuable progress :).
Important: please don't fight hate with hate.
1) That never works.
2) It makes it harder to tell who the good folks are.
3) The most awful people online often get their kicks specifically from stirring up hatred, so you're just adding fuel to their fire.Lastly, please know that I'm writing this as a long-time (albeit lapsed) community manager, not as a Googler
...and certainly not as a Googler in an official capacity. I no longer do any community management at Google, much less speak for any of the teams/people/departments responsible for community development or management. These are my personal opinions, formed from my experience being online for decades and even launching my own email and web communities back in the 90s :-).