Fediverse Trust and Safety: Moderator Needs Review


Convener: Jaz @jaz@toot.wales

Participants (add yourself here if you want to be listed, no obligation): Name and Fediverse handle

admin and moderator resources: https://fedifence.social/

link to moderator needs assessment: https://forms.gle/iMEKYtKsoNw9E4Jt5

link to needs assessment results: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1D0VV2EKPY6_joA6d1jv_X67sPzlIfRPD

Wikipedia rise/decline chart (from Halfaker):

Post on Wikipedia about Halfaker’s article: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:The_Rise_and_Decline

Top needs / interests according to moderators:

  • Basic legal guidance
  • Library of resources, including moderation process manuals, codes of conducts, etc
  • Connection to existing trust & safety organizations
  • Additional moderator staff / outsourced moderators
  • Wellness resources
  • need collaborative space for moderators to give live example of “I doin’t know what to do with this” get feedback
  • I lose sleep knowing the server is unmonitored

Outside references:

  • FediFence formed to provide mutual support and guidance for new and long-time moderators. This group is now working systematically to discuss the needs and imagine what shared resources would be useful.

  • FediFence did a needs assessment surveying administrators, and got 30 responses from admins/moderators representing 475,000 registered members. This included small and large groups


  • Most servers couldn’t provide 24/7 moderation, with most being able to offer at least up to 16 hours a day

  • Shared moderation capacity:

    • 15% said they would be willing to share moderation effort- and many said maybe. This might be due to admins creating/providing space for marginalized communities, so there’s a healthy distrust that third parties could reliably provide contextually-aware moderation
  • Capacity:

    • Most mods are spending 2-4 hours per day, which is a lot of work, but also not enough

    • The larger the server, the less capacity moderators were able to dedicate to moderation

    • 33% of mods/admins have experienced burnout

  • Moderator guidelines: 40% of servers didn’t have a formal code of conduct for moderators, and 85% were interested in having standard legal language for moderator agreements

  • Legal Advice: Admins reported a lot of uncertainty about legal risks, only 8% had insurance, many anticipated needing legal advice, and 89% were interested in a collective fund for legal support and advice

  • Funding:

    • 81% collected financial support

    • 19% of those compensate moderators

  • Training: 23% of servers provided moderators with training. Those were mostly a blog post, or a crib sheet for common issues. Most decisions end up in a chat room with whoever is in the room at the time.

  • Where you find other moderators (there are roughly 6 disconnected spaces):

    • There’s a Matrix channel

    • There are discussions about creating a mod/admin channel in the Mastodon Discord

Next steps, if any

  • Attend Day Two session to discuss non-profit trust and safety entity IFTAS being formed to provide support and resources