What is a content moderator? – an interview with a moderator

What is a content moderator? why not ask one. We sat down with Michele Panarosa, Online Content Moderator Level 1 at Besedo, to learn more about a content moderators daily work, how to become one, and much more.

 

Hi Michele! Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Michele Panarosa, I’m 27 years old and I come from Bari, Puglia, Italy. I’ve been an online content moderator for nine months now, formerly an IT technician with a passion for technology and videogames. In my spare time, I like to sing and listen to music. I’m a shy person at first, but then I turn into an entertainer because I like to have a happy environment around me. They call me “Diva” for a good reason!

 

What is a content moderator?

A content moderator is responsible for user-generated content submitted to an online platform. The content moderator’s job is to make sure that items are placed in the right category, are free from scams, doesn’t include any illegal items, and much more.

 

How did you become a content moderator?

I became an online content moderator by training with a specialist during the first weeks of work, but it’s a never-ending learning curve. At first, I was scared to accidentally accepting fraudulent content, or not doing my job properly. My teammates, along with my manager and team leaders, were nice and helped me throughout the entire process. As I kept on learning, I started to understand fraud trends and patterns. It helped me spot fraudulent content with ease, and I could with confidence escalate items to second-line moderation agents who made sure it got refused.

Communication is essential in this case. There are so many items I didn’t even know existed, which is a enriching experience. The world of content moderation is very dynamic, and it has so many interesting things to learn.

 

What’s great about working with content moderation?

The great part of content moderation is the mission behind it. Internet sometimes could seem like a big and unsafe place where scammers are the rulers. I love this job because I get to make the world a better place by blocking content that’s not supposed to be online. It’s a blessing to be part of a mission where I can help others and feel good about what I do. Besides, it makes you feel important and adds that undercover aspect of a 007 agent.

 

How do you moderate content accurately and fast?

Speed and accuracy could be parallel, but you need to be focused and keep your eyes on the important part of a listing. Only a bit of information in a listing can be very revealing and tell you what your next step should be. On top of that, it’s crucial to stay updated on the latest fraud trends to not fall into any traps. Some listings and users may appear very innocent, but it’s important to take each listing seriously and it’s always better to slow down a bit before moving on to the next listing.

 

What’s the most common type of content you refuse?

The most common type of items I refuse must be weapons – any kind of weapons. Some users try to make them seem harmless, but in reality, they’re not. It’s important to look at the listing images, and if the weapon is not exposed in the image, we’ll simply gather more information about the item. Usually, users who want to sell weapons try to hide it by not using images and be very short in their description (sometimes no description at all). It’s our task, as content moderators, to collect more details and refuse the item if it turns out to be a weapon. Even if it’s a soft air gun or used for sports.

 

What are the most important personal qualities needed to become a good content moderator?

The most important personal qualities needed to become a good content moderator are patience, integrity, and curiosity.

  • Patience

    Moderating content is not always easy and sometimes it can be challenging to maintain a high pace while not jeopardizing accuracy. When faced with factors that might slow you down, it’s necessary to stay patient and not get distracted.

  • Integrity

    It’s all about work ethic, staying true to who you are and what you do. Always remember why you are moderating content, and don’t lose track of the final objective.

  • Curiosity

    As a content moderator, you’re guaranteed to stumble onto items you didn’t even know existed. It’s important to stay curious and research the items, to make sure they’re in the right category, or should be refused – if the item doesn’t meet the platform’s rules and guidelines.

Content moderator besedo - Michele Panarosa

Michele Panarosa

Michele is an Online Content Moderator Level 1 and has worked within this role for nine months. Previously he worked as an IT technician. Michele is passionate about technology and videogames, and in his spare time, he enjoys music both to sing and listen.

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