Clicky clicky.  Its Wednesday, January 4, 2012, Happy new Year, and this is The Side.  Gotta do this one quick because time is working against me.

Last week "Fingergate" hit Google+.  This is probably one of the sillier things that has popped into my peripheral lately.  One person changed his profile picture to an image of himself giving the finger.  This was deemed against Google+'s rules and the image was removed.  This was followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth about censorship and free speech.  Other people because posting pictures of themselves flipping the bird in protest.  Silly arguments were posted about "How could this be offensive?  Everyone on here is supposed to be over the age of 18."  The endgame was the person who started it vowed to continue posting pictures of himself giving the bird until he was banned.

Let's take this from the top.

Google+ is a free service and they have a terms of service agreement that you must agree to if you want to use it.  No one is making anyone use it, and the service is from a privately owned company.  As long as their terms of service doesn't violate the law of the land then the free speech argument is DOA.  They get to decide what can and can't be on their service.  If they decide they don't want funny pictures of cats on their site, then they have the right to make that rule and enforce it.

Another person who got caught up in the this told me that his issue was the haphazard enforcement of the rules.  This brings us to site moderation.  It seems there people out there who don't know how this works.  Fortunately, a very dear friend of mine (who I've been lousy about keeping in touch with) is a site moderator for a very large social website, and she gave me some insights as to how these things work.

Rule enforcement and moderation do not happen magically.  The moderators come online and they look at a queue of reports.  From there, they work their way through the queue as best they can, making judgement calls as to reports.  In some cases, moderators might come across a rule violation just by cruising through the site, but in the cases of big sites with a lot of content and users, they're going to work off of the queue.  So, if something does not get reported the chances of the moderators seeing it goes down dramatically.

Example: let's say we have two G+ users: Fred and Barney.  Fred has about 6 people in his circles.  Fred posts some hardcore porn pictures.  The Six people in his circles like hardcore porn and they don't report it or share it.  Fred gets away with a blatant rule violation.  Barney on the other hand has 500 people in his circles.  He posts a funny picture of someone mooning someone else.  All it takes is one person out of those 500 to report that picture, and its going in a queue for moderators to review.

So the guy, who really isn't a bad guy, who changed his profile picture of himself giving the bird for all to see, had at least one person in the many, many people in his circles who did indeed find the image offensive and reported it.  Not sure what happened in crusade to get banned, which is silly in and of itself.  Last I checked is account was still up and his profile image was bird-free.  Hopefully he came to his senses.


Looking through videos of The Walkmen for last weekend's post I came across this gem. Enjoy.    

 That's it for me. See y'all Friday.

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