Keeping Chat Rooms Lively and Free of Hucksters
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“In the online world, portals, Internet service providers, consumer goods companies, sports teams and sites dedicated to everything under the sun have areas where people can exchange ideas. According to Jupiter Communications, an Internet market research firm, more than half of all major sites use some sort of chat function. Discussion boards, where people post thoughts on a particular topic or question in long-running conversations that can span hours, days or weeks, are a popular conversation-enabling format (others include real-time chat rooms and private or semiprivate club rooms).
The job of a discussion board moderator falls somewhere between virtual playground monitor and online cocktail party host. Moderators have to prevent abusive, anonymous writers from using the boards as graffiti walls and make sure that, say, vendors of teeth-whitening toothpaste do not use discussions to promote their product.
Moderators also deal with subtler challenges: they try to ensure that people posting messages have interesting conversations. They have to smooth ruffled feathers when one person offends another. They have to urge the overzealous to tone it down without killing the conversation. And they have to remind people to use spell check.”
This article from year 2000 is kinda funny
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