New findings indicate why volunteer content moderators on sites like Reddit and Facebook experience burnout and quit.
Online communities play an important role in creating a sense of connection among strangers. But what happens when the people moderating our favorite online communities quit?
“It’s the unpaid labor of volunteer content moderators that make it possible for us, in many cases, to enjoy environments that support our well-being,” says Angela Schöpke-Gonzalez, doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information. “We browse the internet every day and many people are on social media platforms, but we often forget that it’s people that are responsible for keeping our information ecosystems alive.”
The study aims to point attention to the critical roles of volunteer content moderators, or VCMs, to explore what causes burnout and to help companies begin to understand how they can better support VCMs in order to help prevent psychological distress.
“VCMs experience many of the same psychological distress challenges as crisis hotline volunteer responders, caregivers, and volunteer support providers for persons who have experienced violence,” Schöpke-Gonzalez says.
“Researchers, platforms, and moderators can learn from work addressing psychological distress among similar volunteer groups to craft interventions that support VCMs.”
The study appears in the journal New Media and Society.
Source: University of Michigan