Moderator Mayhem is a browser and mobile game that puts players in the role of a front-line content moderator at a fictional social media company. Throughout the game, players have to decide whether to keep specific content up or take it down; they can also “look closer” to get more information before making a decision. There’s a ticking clock and players need to move quickly and accurately if they want to keep their job long enough to be promoted.
Our goal was to help players understand that content moderation is complex and challenging. The audience was specifically government policymakers, journalists, and tech workers who might have a simplified understanding of the space, to help them have more nuanced conversations on the topic. Our client was specifically interested in helping people have better conversations about regulation in this space.
Over 25,000 players have played Moderator Mayhem, many of whom were in our target audience. Of players who filled out our post-game survey, over half said that they thought content moderation was more difficult than they thought it was before playing. The vast majority of players said that they thought it would be very challenging to write effective laws around content moderation.
We also received favorable press in The Verge and PCMag and positive buzz on social media. Activist and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow raved about the game, saying: This isn’t merely highly recommended; I think that one could legitimately refuse to discuss content moderation policies and critiques with anyone who hasn’t played it.
A modified version of the game was featured at the TrustCon, a trust & safety conference, where players competed for high scores.
You can listen to the collaborators discussing the game on this Techdirt podcast episode.