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28 Oct 2022 » A Social Network Must Reduce Noise

ML generated image of a bug as seen through an analog TV screen
Credit: Emma Humphries via Midjourney Prompt: "the bugzilla mascot obscured by noise as if a static filled analog tv signal"

This line from Nilay Patel’s excellent synopsis of the Question of Twitter has been quoted often today, the first day of Nazi Space Boer’s tenure as owner:

“The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works. Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience.”

I want to expand that.

Soon after I joined Mozilla in 2015 to improve how we were handling bug reports, it became clear that Bugzilla was a social network, which also requires content moderation.

Content moderation in Bugzilla is a means and not an end. It’s noise reduction.

On Bugzilla and other public bug trackers, moderation means (non-exhaustively:)

  • Eliminating duplicate bug reports
  • Eliminating bug reports filed in bad faith
  • Getting a bug in front of the right group of people
  • Identifying security bugs and handling them accordingly
  • Removing spam and abusive conficts
  • Holding users accountable for their behavior

Good moderation is important, but it means I can get to the important stuff: my friends’ posts, funny posts, good posts, or the bugs I need to take action on; instead of abuse, spam, and fake bugs.

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