I (and WSO) Need Your Help
Dear WSO Members,
I was contacted earlier this week by a reporter from Buzzfeed to get my perspective on several (very) disturbing posts that were in the forums and interpreted as being "allowed or permitted" by WSO (which is not the case).
The truth is much simpler. There are over 1,000 posts,...every day...8-/week, 30k+ per month. My full-time team is small and we allocate a high percentage of our operating budget to moderating already, so it's not as easy for us to simply hire more moderators... especially with the volume of arguments and flag violations hitting the moderation table every day.
Making it more difficult is identifying the often nuanced and subtle violations while also trying to allow for free speech and differing opinions to coexist.
We block thousands of users and remove tens of thousands of posts each year BUT there are still disturbing comments and threads slipping through the cracks.
So how do we get better?
What about extending moderation roles to members with a rationale approach, respect for differing opinions and balanced views? Maybe if we had an additional 2-3 dedicated moderators that are frequent WSO users to review the potential violations table at set times, we could get violations removed faster and less violations would slip through. We've had volunteer moderators in the past and it didn't go well, but I am open to trying again and keeping it to a smaller but more dedicated group.
If you're open to helping us, please reply here in this thread or email me and I'll reach out to you to set up a call.
How can all members help? If you are a registered member, you can flag any post using the red icon at the bottom of any comment/post.
My hope is that WSO can improve and keeps pushing against the global trends to be a place where we foster an environment of respect...and that WSO continues to be where students and professionals from around the world, regardless of their background, can develop superior career skills and access the same opportunities as those with the most privilege.
Below is the email from Tom at Buzzfeed, which outlines the framework of the article that is going to be published...
Thanks so much for reaching out with these and taking the time to chat yesterday.
I wanted to make sure that I sent over some more details about the posts that we would be covering so that you would have a chance to comment on them.
One is the South African riots post that I mentioned. The post won a forum sticker for being the most controversial within the thread, and was left online, despite being complained about. One of the respondents to the thread CC'd Wall Street Oasis' , Andy Louis and said: "The fact that you let shit like this exist on literally every thread with no disciplinary action is gross. Hire some more fucking moderators and ban the racist shitposters. You guys have been looking the other way for far too long while claiming to be working on improving the environment here."
Louis did not respond to the comments. The thread itself was left online and the user who made the racist comments, who claims to work in commercial real estate, continues to use the forum.
Additionally we will report on a post which contained both anti-semetic and racist material discussing tech billionaires, and a further post where a user named "shitonminoritieschad" posted about what he would wear when "undercover amongst "troublesome" communities, scouting potential raiding targets for my local Klan chapter".
We will include comments from people who have complained about WSO and their belief that the amount of prejudicial material on the forum has grown. This includes one saying that the site had gone "full Stormfront," referring to the notoritous white supremacist forum. The next day another user launched a post complaining about the Alt-Right views on the site. "I've been browsing this site for the last four years, but recently (3-6 months) there have been posts on this website that make me do a double take." Questioning whether the owners of the site allow it, the user said that "even when you report these posts, half the time they are not taken down"
Weeks later another thread started complaining about "not Republican, but borderline White Supremacist views". Another user agreed. "I'm a self-described far-right conservative who utterly detests political correctness and woke ideology (which I believe is an evil secular religion) and even I was troubled by the racism of the South Africa thread."
We will also report an interview with a former user of the site describing their experiences seeing prejudicial material on the forum.
Additionally, I wanted to check some of the forum rules, as posted online. The rules says that the site forbids political discussion unless it relates to finance. I wanted to check that was still the case and ask how it is enforced?
Additionally the site has a page with rules for moderators, that they must work a minimum two hours, two days a week. Are there any voluntary moderators, in addition to the two full time staff that you mentioned?
Hope well and all best,