Platform Chat Moderation

Mediating online communication

Project

Web app

Role

Product design, user research, visual design

Team

1 product managers
1 engineer

Client

Crisis Text Line

Challenge

How do we moderate online messaging?

Background

Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 text-based intervention service that serves to help people in crisis. Supervisors were witnessing many concerning messages from and between Volunteers during their shifts on the Platform Global Chat. These messages ranged from sexual references, revealing private information, bullying, and disrupting the community from assisting texters in need. Supervisors needed better tools to swiftly de-escalate tense situations.

Outcome

A message removal feature that allows Platform Supervisors to take control over problematic volunteer communications.

Research & Discovery

Research & Discovery

Examining Pain Points

In a general user research study to understand the Supervisor workflow at Crisis Text Line, Supervisors expressed having difficulties moderating Volunteer behaviors on the Platform–one of them being disruptive messages in Global Chat. If a Volunteer was acting inappropriately in Global Chat, Supervisor options were to engage with the Volunteer or to escalate them to their Coach for later review. While these options sometimes remedied a Volunteer’s poor behavior, Supervisors found these workarounds to be time-consuming and still had little to no control in taking immediate action.

Process

Draft Conversation Selection Interfaces

I set out to design a flow that would require the least amount of effort on a Supervisor’s part to remove a Volunteer’s messages. Since there is no hard fast number of Volunteers a Supervisor will be overlooking during their given shifts, it was most important to account for the extreme use case in which Supervisors had a sizable number of Volunteers.

Option 1 - Single Message Removal

Good for removing a couple messages, can be difficult to address multiple messages.

Option 2 - Multiple Message Removal

Great for removing many messages in one flow, clutters an already busy interface.

moderation_drafts-1
Message removal drafts
Message removal drafts

Since Supervisors did not have a feature like message removal before, it was decided to with Option 1 and see how Supervisors would use it on their shifts. Removing multiple messages could be a functionality to build off later if subsequent usage and research called for its need.

Maintaining Transparency

Though this tool is to help empower Supervisors in their roles, the team found it necessary to communicate removed messages to the Volunteers. I explored several designs that would clearly state where a message was removed.

Option 1 - Outline w/ Supervisor Name

Most transparent with details of message removal and Supervisor who performed the action, could result in contention among Volunteers knowing who removed their messages.

Option 2 - Colored Outline

Obvious that a message has been removed, draws too much attention.

Option 3 - Grey Text

Subtle yet clear that a message has been removed, can be unclear as to which Volunteer’s message was removed.

moderation_drafts-2
Drafts for volunteer view of removed messages
Drafts for volunteer view of removed messages

Option 3 was chosen as to not call extreme attention to a removed message. Further iterations of this design served to distinctify Volunteer and message removal details.


Final

Message Removal

A simple hover effect revealed an overflow menu over a message. The Supervisor could then remove a specific Volunteer’s message in a few clicks.

Removing message
Removing message
Volunteer View v. Supervisor View

Volunteers and Supervisors would have different levels of transparency in seeing information in regards to a removed message. While Volunteers would only see the redacted Volunteer’s name and message, Supervisors would be able to view the Volunteer’s name, the message, and the Supervisor who removed the message.

moderation_views
Removed message views
Removed message views
Restoring Messages

In case a Supervisor accidentally removes a message, there is also the ability to restore a removed message.

Restoring message
Caption
Future Iterations

This chat moderation tool existed to help Supervisors in their roles. However, for future iterations of this feature, the team wants to expand on this flow to include communications with a Volunteer’s Coach about removed messages. This is so Volunteers can learn from their previous mistakes and know the Crisis Text Line staff is there to help them grow as volunteers.

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