Moderation TypesMar 21, 2023

Pre-Moderation
The Pros and Cons

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Melissa Pressler

Copywriter

This blog post is part of a series on the different types of content moderation. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and here, we will specifically discuss pre-moderation. It's opposite is post-moderation which is discussed in this post-moderation article. Follow these links to find information on the other moderation types: reactive moderation, proactive moderation, automated moderation, and hybrid moderation.

What is pre-moderation?

Pre-moderation refers to the practice of reviewing and approving user-generated content before it is published on a website or social media platform. A community forum that requires new posts to be reviewed before they are published is a good example of pre-moderation.

Pros of pre-moderation

1. Prevents offensive and harmful content

Pre-moderation prevents offensive and harmful content from being published in online communities. Moderators can review and filter out inappropriate content, such as hate speech, cyberbullying, and fake news, before it is posted and reaches the public eye.

2. Maintains high-quality discussions

In pre-moderation, moderators filter out low-quality content to make way for high-quality content. High quality refers to content that promotes focused, relevant, and informative discussions. Low-quality content refers to anything with a spammy nature that can distract from the focal discussion. This can be especially useful for forums, social media platforms, and blogs, where users can share their thoughts and opinions.

3. Builds trust with users

Pre-moderation enables an online platform to build a certain level of trust with its users. When users know that content is being reviewed before published, they are more likely to feel safe and secure to post or follow a discussion. This trust can lead to a stronger relationship between platform and its users which can result in increased loyalty and engagement.

Pre-moderation helps to avoid legal issues related to user-generated content. In filtering out inappropriate or illegal content, pre-moderation protects the platform from lawsuits, fines, or penalties. This especially ensures brand safety and protect’s the platform’s reputation.

Cons of pre-moderation

1. Slows down the publication process

One of the main disadvantages of pre-moderation is that it can slow down the publication process. Every piece of content must be reviewed and approved by moderators, which can take time. This can be especially problematic for real-time platforms, such as social media, where users expect instant feedback and engagement.

2. Can be expensive

Pre-moderation can be a costly process, especially for platforms with a large amount of user-generated content. Hiring moderators or outsourcing the moderation process can be expensive due to labor costs and/or the need for additional resources such as software or tools. This can be a barrier for small businesses or startups that may not have the budget for this.

3. Risk of censorship

Pre-moderation can lead to censorship, especially if the moderators are not trained to handle controversial topics or different perspectives. Without adequate internal guidelines or training, this can create a bias toward certain viewpoints or opinions that can be detrimental to high-quality discussions. This includes self-censorship where users do choose not to post thinking that their content will be rejected. In extreme cases, pre-moderation can limit free speech and expression, thus hindering the platform's growth and potential.

4. Can discourage user participation

Pre-moderation can discourage user participation, especially if users feel that their content is being constantly rejected or censored. This can lead to a lack of engagement, reduced user activity, and even a loss of users. Moreover, pre-moderation can create a barrier for new users, who may be hesitant to join a platform with strict content rules.

5. Risk of inconsistent moderation

Pre-moderation can be subjective and inconsistent without clear content guidelines. Guidelines should scrub the moderation process of the moderators' opinions and personal biases. Subjectivity can lead to a lack of transparency and fairness, which can erode trust and confidence in the platform. Furthermore, this can create confusion and frustration among users, and may also lead to accusations of bias or discrimination.

Conclusion

Pre-moderation can be an effective tool to maintain online safety, quality discussions, and brand safety, but both the advantages and disadvantages must be carefully considered before its’ implementation in order to best match a platform’s specific needs and goals. Post-moderation is a viable alternative.

FAQ

1. How does pre-moderation differ from post-moderation?

Post-moderation reviews and filters out user-generated content after it is published online. Pre-moderation occurs before content is published.

2. Can pre-moderation be automated using AI?

Yes, pre-moderation can be automated using AI-powered content moderation tools. These tools use machine learning algorithms to scan and filter out inappropriate or harmful content based on predefined rules.

3. What are some alternatives to pre-moderation?

You can learn more about alternatives to pre-moderation in our articles on reactive moderation, proactive moderation, automated moderation, and hybrid moderation.

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