Mauricio Freitas – Blogger, Geekzone

“Back in about 2003, I was working for this multinational company and I started finding a lot of things online and I wanted to share these so I started putting everything on a site – so basically just like a scrapbook, posting things and sharing. I was really surprised that the first month I had the site up, we had 25,000 page views. I don’t know if that was 20,000 page views for myself and then 5,000 for someone else! Eight years later, we get 25,000 page views in a couple of hours. We just keep growing and growing. So adding to that scrapbook, I put forms and hopefully someone joins, someone tells someone else and they start posting questions and people answering. After a while I thought, “That’s a lot of work there”. This year, we think we will have about 200,000 posts on Geekzone – forum topics, answers, discussions – and obviously we can’t read through 200,000 of those to make sure that everyone is behaving themselves. So a few years ago, one of the guys on the site approached me and said, “I think you need some help there. What about having a team that you handpick?”. So we decided to have moderators on the forum. The first one was Tony from Hawkes Bay. He was a great character. He’s still around, not so much online these days – and then we started getting more and more people. A couple of years later, we had Telecom. I don’t know if you remember that campaign, The Incredibles with Xtra... The Xtra Incredibles or something like that? Then they had the Go Large plan. Everyone got unlimited speed Internet. It was no more than a week or something before people started complaining that the unlimited speed Internet wasn’t quite like that. And then the discussions on Geekzone where people posted 5 to 600,000 replies talking and complaining and then obviously moderators started banning people. Then people started saying, “Oh you are being paid by this company because you don’t allow us to say bad stuff”. That’s a recurring theme. We have different phones for different operators in New Zealand. We have phones for stock computing, for mobile OS devices but if you go around and say, “You are stepping out of line because you are name-calling, being disrespectful, the instant reply would be, “Ahh you’re being paid by X to come onto me”... so that was the kind of things that the moderators had to deal with.”


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