One might think that working in the metaverse is a dream job given that you remain in your comfort zone, but that might be further from the truth as a new opinion article on Slate sheds light on such dark corners of virtual reality as sexual harassment and the trolling. Here's a short review of what Aaron Mak had to go through in the metaverse as a moderator:
Moderating is like a delicate dance of guessing
Working as a moderator on Microsoft’s social platform AltSpaceVR, Mak said there's no certainty about what's right and what's wrong. For instance, one man in the crowd was repeatedly bouncing back and forth, right into a woman's face:
My fellow moderators noted that this movement can sometimes be a greeting in VR, but it can also become a form of sexual harassment if you take it too far.
Mak says virtual reality with cartoon 3D avatars makes it harder to guess one's motivations, saying the moderation is like a "delicate dance of guessing" and "making quick judgment calls."
Jerk off on a stage in front of everyone
People like Lorelle VanFossen, the Co-Founder of Educators in VR, a hub of virtual events hosted every month, says the fight between trolls and moderators is far from over as every newcoming troll wants to get inspiration in what they're doing:
The trolls and the disruptive people think that they’re new. They think it’s a new thing to stand in front of a stage and turn around and jerk off in front of everyone with hand gestures, and they think they're inspired. Well, after you’ve seen it 85,000 times, you’re done.
No "Macarena" dance in the metaverse
If not for the trolls or overtly provocative individuals, Mak says there's nothing special in the metaverse in comparison to other Web2 platforms like Facebook or Twitter:
While I was moderating, many of my tasks involved muting people who had dogs barking in the background, or making sure attendees didn’t try to get onto the stage.
Yet, there's still a set of rules that you can't violate. One of these is the "Macarena" dance. Although it remains unclear why these activities might be prohibited in specific events, Mak notes that the main challenge is not to make other users to comply with the rules, but to determine "whether someone is purposefully disrupting an event or simply doesn’t understand how the VR technology works."