About a million of the people who are members of the Reddit discussion group r/coronavirus joined in just the past week. The subreddit is getting some recognition now as a pretty reliably good source of community-moderated news and information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Probably helps that the subreddit's team of volunteer content moderators include people like Emerson Boggs, 25, a Ph.D. student and virologist at the University of Pittsburgh.
Other members of that volunteer mod group include "researchers of infectious diseases, virologists, computer scientists, doctors and nurses, spending hours policing the more than 50,000 daily comments posted by the community for misinformation, trolls and off-topic political discussions," report Olivia Solon and April Glaser for NBC News:
The coronavirus community is now the third-most active subreddit, according to Redditlist, a website that tracks Reddit, and one of the fastest growing subreddits ever.
Every day, Boggs and the other moderators work through a queue of thousands of comments and posts that have been flagged for review. They coordinate via the messaging platform Discord to ensure they aren't duplicating work or to settle any disagreements. Some spend time developing tools to automate or improve their workflow, inviting high-profile scientists and doctors to participate in "Ask Me Anything" Q&A sessions and recruiting more moderators. NBC News' medical correspondent, Dr. John Torres recently participated in one.
The moderators play to their strengths. In Boggs' case, that's making sure posts submitted by users are scientifically accurate. This involves checking the sources of information and deleting posts if they rely on flimsy or poorly interpreted evidence and adding labels to posts linking to scientific papers that aren't peer reviewed.
• Check out r/coronavirus on Reddit.
• Read more at NBC:
How Reddit's coronavirus community became a destination
[March 18, 2020, Olivia Solon and April Glaser]