What does it mean to build an ethical platform? On this episode, with Marie Connelly of Vox Media’s product team, we talk about how algorithms aren’t a simple answer, why we should treat spam like we treat harassment and the cost of thoughtlessness. Plus:
- What Marie did that caused lurkers to raise their hands
- Community as education
- Baking community engagement into products
Our Podcast is Made Possible By…
If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Higher Logic.
“The days of writing documentation, tutorials and guides, based upon what you think will be the problem, or what you think people need to know, are dead.” -@patrickokeefe
“[With documentation and education,] I’m still trying to shed part of this mindset as an English major … ‘Oh, if I just get the words perfectly right, I will be able to explain this to everyone in one go.’ … What I have really learned in this work in the last year, is it’s important to get that message in as many places as possible, make sure it’s accessible to people, however they want to interact with it, but then also be available for all the times in between, because you can’t just build documentation and assume that people will come.” -@eyemadequiet
“When we announced [our first in-person] event, we also said, ‘Hey, we know that lots of people aren’t going to be able to make it, but let us know if you’re interested in doing something like this in your [local] community.’ When we did that, we found lots and lots of people raised their hands and said, ‘Yeah, I want to do this in London, in Kigali, in Delhi.’ And when I started to go in and look at who was responding and volunteering to attend or organize events like this, a lot of them had never contributed to our community. They’d never posted publicly, but they had been reading the updates and following the discussions for, in some cases, years. And [that] showed the extent to which people may identify with your community, even if you don’t necessarily identify them as being a really strong member.” -@eyemadequiet
“I’m very concerned about this idea that algorithms are neutral because they are technology. Algorithms are created by people, and humans are imperfect. We have our own biases, we have our own perspectives. I think this idea that you can build tools that don’t reflect that is naive. We need to be more aware of those assumptions that we are baking into our platforms.” -@eyemadequiet
“Everybody going into building a communications tool is aware that spam is a problem. That somehow people are going to try to use this to scam people out of money. Why is it also not the default assumption that somehow people are going use this communication tool to post hateful content or engage in harassing behavior? I think a lot of that comes back to the demographics of our industry and who is building these tools, who’s leading these teams and not having a lot of marginalized voices in positions of power. To speak up and say, ‘Okay, wait, we’ve seen this before, we know what’s going to happen to people of color. We know what’s going to happen to women when they start speaking out in these places. We know what’s going to happen to other marginalized groups.’ This isn’t new anymore.” -@eyemadequiet
About Marie Connelly
Marie Connelly been managing communities online since 2007 and believes deeply in the power of community to make the web better for everyone.
Marie is currently a community manager on the product team at Vox Media, where she spends a lot of time thinking about editorial workflows, product documentation, training and communication. In the past, Marie has run community platforms for WEGO Health and the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University, served as the blog editor for A List Apart and contributed to The Pastry Box Project.
When not nerding out about words and the web, she can be found making ice cream and listening to songs that have handclaps.
- Vox Product (which falls under Vox Media), where Marie is community manager
- WEGO Health, where Marie was previously community director
- Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University, where Marie was previously community manager
- A List Apart, where Marie was previously blog editor
- Marie’s contributions to The Pastry Box Project
- Marie’s Spotify playlist of songs wth handclaps
- Community Signal episode with Derek Powazek
- Community Signal episode with Howard Rheingold
00:04: You’re listening to Community Signal, the podcast for online community professionals, sponsored by Higher Logic, the community platform for community managers. Tweet as you listen using #communitysignal. Here’s your host, Patrick O’Keefe.
00:24 Patrick O’Keefe: Hello, and thank you for listening to Community Signal. After a week off, we’re back with guest, Marie Connelly, to talk about how community can support product users, a surprising thing Marie found when hosting in-person events, and the ethical responsibility of platforms. This is our first show following the government elections in the US, and I had a thought I wanted to share with you, a thought I’ve shared before, but is once again relevant to where we are, not just in the United States, but in the world.
00:51 Patrick O’Keefe: I truly believe that well-managed online communities represent the best, possibly last chance for enlightened, thoughtful political discourse on the web. A community with fair ground rules where people can participate on even footing and discuss the issues at hand, that’s what we can provide. Our colleagues in the news media are already doing this work, and many of us manage communities and spaces where this occurs. Discussion and conversation is one of the many ways that we can bridge the gap that we’re feeling right now in our country, and I feel globally as well. When people talk about how civility is dead, and how both sides are too extreme to talk to one another, that’s a problem that we can help with. It’s a problem that we’ve dealt with, and in many cases, solved in our own smaller communities. These are skills that we can use to help our countries and the global community. This is an area where we can be a part of the solution. And with that, let’s bring on our guest.
01:44 Patrick O’Keefe: Marie Connelly has been managing communities online since 2007 and believes deeply in the power of community to make the web better for everyone. She is currently a community manager on the product team at Vox Media, where she spends a lot of time thinking about editorial workflows, product documentation, training, and communication. Marie has run community platforms for WEGO Health and the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard University, served as the blog editor for A List Apart, and contributed to The Pastry Box Project. When not nerding out about words and the web, Marie can be found making ice cream and listening to songs that have handclaps. Marie, welcome.
02:19 Marie Connelly: Thank you, Patrick. It’s such an honor to be here.
02:21 Patrick O’Keefe: It’s such a pleasure to have you. I’ve known you through Twitter for years.
02:26 Marie Connelly: I know.
02:27 Patrick O’Keefe: And we’ve spoken via Twitter, but I don’t know if we’ve ever taken it anywhere else. So this is maybe our first time talking off Twitter.
02:34 Marie Connelly: It is, it is. It’s always such a treat to be able to take those connections from one platform into different spaces.
02:41 Patrick O’Keefe: And learn how to pronounce each other’s names.
02:43 Patrick O’Keefe: As we were talking about before the show. At Vox, you’re operating in a function, at least partially, that I would refer to as community as education; the idea that you build out educational efforts, documentation, training, and similar endeavors based upon the insights and needs of the community. Responding quickly to the problems they encounter and uncover, you focus on the 4,000 people who use Chorus, a content management system from Vox. Why should community be at the center of education for product users, not just for Vox, but elsewhere?
03:17 Marie Connelly: This is a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and trying to help make the case for right now. I think that one of the most pernicious beliefs in our industry, and pervasive beliefs in our industry, is this idea that, “If you build it, they will come.” Whether that’s a literal community platform that you can just stand that up on the web, and people will find it and use it, or when it comes to building products, that you can do that in a vacuum. Maybe that is occasionally true. I think that more often than not, we really have to build things with our users, and a lot of what my role at Vox Media right now is making sure as we build this new version of our publishing platform, Chorus, that we’re not doing that in a vacuum.
04:05 Marie Connelly: So every time we release a new feature, we are sharing that with users, we’re incorporating that into our training plans, and then we’re seeing how people actually use it, where the stumbling blocks are, and trying to think about are there ways we can make things better, are there ways we can make this more intuitive? And also are there things that people are gonna do with this feature that we never really thought about? Should we expand the capabilities here to accommodate that? I think that that level of… It’s both education and advocacy. You’re showing people this is how things work, but also making sure they are advocating back for the community to the people who are building the tools, and setting priorities and saying, “Actually, it’s not quite working right” or, “Maybe it could work this way” or, “Here’s a different problem that we need to accommodate.”
04:56 Patrick O’Keefe: One of my favorite ways to pitch community to companies, especially B2B companies or people who make tools or software is community as customer success, or community as the success via user. So you said “in a vacuum.” I think the days of writing documentation and tutorials and guides based upon what you think will be the problem or what you think people need to know is dead.
05:20 Marie Connelly: Yes.
05:21 Patrick O’Keefe: I think the day we’re in now, and the days we’ll be in moving forward, are those in which we are in tune with the people who use whatever it is we make. And you can call it what you want. Call it customer-centric companies, people use that. Call it community. Call it customer success. Call it whatever, but it’s really the same function, and it is; listening to, talking to, helping the people who use, and then adjusting everything that you offer around that to help them learn, to help them grow their use of their product, whether that be training, tutorials, education support community, help desk, whatever it is, being always responsive and writing things, really always with that feedback coming in.
06:06 Marie Connelly: Absolutely. And it’s so interesting because I think there’s this notion that maybe… I’m still am trying to shed part of this mindset as an English major and somebody who has done a lot of communications over the years of like, “Oh, if I just get the words perfectly right, I will be able to explain this to everyone [chuckle] in one go.” And the reality is that we have thousands of people who use our platform, they are doing so many other things, both in their work and in their lives, that they’re gonna see a Slack update. Maybe there’s a gif that they look at and then they’re gonna get back to work. We have to keep reaching out to people, keep reinforcing that message, and then like you said, make these resources available in a whole bunch of different ways. Because people learn differently, and people process information differently and there are just gonna be times when maybe that documentation is gonna click right away and it’s gonna make sense, and then there are gonna be times when they’ve been writing about the election for 48 hours and they just can’t remember how to do something and they need a little bit more guidance and support.
07:20 Marie Connelly: So I think part of what I have really learned in this work in the last year, is it’s important to get that message in as many places as possible, make sure it’s accessible to people, however they want to interact with it, but then also like you said, be available for all the times in between because you can’t just build documentation and assume that people will come. [chuckle] You have to reinforce it in a lot of different ways.
07:46 Patrick O’Keefe: Related to that, into the Chorus product, you are incorporating ways to support and interact with your community of contributors directly through the product itself, talk about that.
07:55 Marie Connelly: Yeah, this is something that I have been very excited about, I didn’t always understand that these were community tools, or didn’t, I guess, perceive them in that way. But one of the things that we have thought a lot about is, how do we make sure that as people are using this new platform, they can give us feedback while they are doing their work. Because we all have those moments where, maybe you’re using Skype, and you’re like, “Ah, how do I do this,” or, “That didn’t seem to work the way I thought it would.” And you’d like maybe to be able to share that with whoever is behind the screen, but there aren’t always good ways to do that, it’s not always intuitive. So what we’ve tried to do is make it very easy for people, you’re writing a story, something goes wrong, there’s a contact form built right into the editor, you can send us a note. We read everything, the whole team has access to all of that feedback that comes in. We try to respond to that as quickly as possible, so people really see that’s not just going into a black hole.
08:56 Marie Connelly: And in that same section of the editor we have in addition to that contact form, we have all of the documentation that can be searched right there, so you’re not leaving and going to another site, you can search, “Okay, I know somebody told me about how to work with images, but I’ve forgotten something, here’s all the information I need to know. I can read that. I can then close out, get back to work.” And we also have, let’s see, a section that has notifications and updates about the platform. So anytime we have a new feature, anytime we have kind of a tip we wanna share with people, an announcement we wanna share with people, we will publish it there basically. And people can get a little update, see what’s going on. That’s sort of something that helps I think people learn the product as they go, which when you’re building something kind of over a long period of time and in stages, it’s really helpful to be able to give people that information directly in their workflow.
09:52 Patrick O’Keefe: We’ve seen that sort of thing kinda grow over time. I’ve been using web-based software, I guess I’ll call it, since probably the late 90s, installing PHP and MySQL software and running things on my own virtual web hosting account and there was a time when you had to go somewhere, you had to be on a mailing list to know that the software had been updated.
10:12 Marie Connelly: Right. [chuckle]
10:13 Patrick O’Keefe: Then we slowly got to a point where we had calls in the software, calls back to home. Where the developer could communicate with people running the software, “Oh, there’s a new update, click here.” And sometimes there’s been some news update, WordPress does this by default, and has for a little while, where they have this news section, where it says, “This is updated and also your version is out of date and blah blah blah.” And when I was thinking about that and how Chorus is specifically incorporating ways to support and interact with community of users, it made me think about the difference between, say, again making someone go to your website to post in your support forum or in your helpdesk, as opposed to just making the forum or helpdesk part of the product. So when they receive a response to their question, it shows up in their product instance, not necessarily in their email inbox, or on a separate website they have to visit. It’s all seamless, it all syncs in, and I think there’s really something interesting to think about there for community professionals who support users of a particular product.
11:07 Marie Connelly: I think that’s very, very true, and I will say we’re probably not quite at the level of seamless that we would like, but I think we’ve definitely laid a good foundation for it. I think there’s a balancing act of you wanna make sure that people can spend the time that they are going to with your product, spend that well and effectively. Anytime you’re sending somebody back to their inbox, there’s gonna be 15 or 1,500 other things waiting for them and vying for their attention. When you work as we do, on a publishing system, a tool that people are using to do their jobs, we definitely want to make sure that we’re not contributing to those distractions.
11:50 Patrick O’Keefe: I would like to take a moment to recognize our excellent sponsor, Higher Logic.
Higher Logic is the community platform for community managers. With over 25 million engaged users in more than 200,000 communities, organizations worldwide use Higher Logic to bring like-minded people together, by giving their community a home where they can meet, share ideas and stay connected. The platform’s granular permissions and powerful tools, including automated workflows and consolidated email digests, empower users to create their own interest-based communities, schedule and manage events, and participate in volunteer and mentoring programs. Tap into the power your community can generate for you. Higher Logic – all together.
12:26 Patrick O’Keefe: When you were working community for the Global Health Delivery project at Harvard University, you hosted in-person events, and you ran a survey to ask members who were outside of the area where you were located if they would be interested in hosting or attending meetups in other cities and regions. What did you find?
12:40 Marie Connelly: This was really fascinating, and it gets to the heart of one of my favorite debates about community that I’ve seen play out over the years. I’m laughing because I really do see both sides of this, but I think there’s this question that in community we’ve grappled with for a long time of like, “What is the value of lurkers?” And I know there are some folks who feel very strongly, lurkers don’t really have any value to community, they’re not contributing anything. So if they’re not really helping you, they’re not really advancing your goals.
13:10 Marie Connelly: And what we found at GHDonline when we had that meet-up for our members, we were a platform of online communities for individuals who were working in, or interested in improving the way healthcare is delivered around the world. So we had a global membership. We had folks in over 100 countries. But we’re based here in Boston and we had a lot of members who were in Boston, and we wanted to bring people together and see what would happen. So when we announced the event, we also said, “Hey, we know that lots of people aren’t gonna be able to make it, but let us know if you’re interested in doing something like this in your community.”
13:50 Marie Connelly: And when we did that, we found lots and lots of people raised their hands and said, “Yeah, I want to do this in London, in Kigali, in Delhi.” And when I started to go in and look at who was responding and volunteering basically to attend or organize events like this, a lot of them had never contributed to our community. They’d never posted publicly, but they had been reading the updates and following the discussions for, in some cases, years. And that to me, I think showed the extent to which people may identify with your community, even if you don’t necessarily identify them as being a really strong member. We started to think about, “Okay, we have this huge base of… ” [chuckle] We didn’t call them lurkers anymore. Active readers. And for us, at the time, our goal in a community like that is, “Are we improving the way healthcare is delivered somewhere in the world?” That’s a big goal. One of the ways you achieve it is by reaching as many people as possible with that information.
15:00 Marie Connelly: So we took that as a win to say, “Okay. These are people who, for whatever reason, they’re not able to publicly contribute, but they’re interested in our mission. They are interested in what other people have to say. So let’s try and find ways to support them and maybe bring them into the community down the line, which really, it changed my perspective on the work that we were doing and the scope of who was seeing themselves as part of the community.
15:32 Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, it’s really interesting because I have heard people say that the lurkers don’t have value to the community. I personally don’t believe that, but I’ve heard people say it. I think there’s a different way to look at it. There’s a different way to activate them sometimes. It flips our normal dynamic on its head. There’s this idea, and it may not even be an idea of ours, it may be an idea of the world in more mainstream understanding, or lack of understanding, of the internet and community. But the idea that people are more comfortable communicating behind a computer screen where they can hide and not be totally accessible to people. But in this case, you have folks who did not feel comfortable, for whatever reason, or didn’t want to, post in the online community but were willing to step up and assume a semi-leadership role in the offline community.
16:18 Marie Connelly: I think it really spoke to one of the things that… We had an instinct was a motivation for members in joining that community. We thought, “Probably people who are doing this work, particularly in very remote settings, are feeling isolated.” You might be the only clinician for hundreds of miles. So having that kind of professional, collegial environment that healthcare providers in Boston have quite a lot of, [chuckle] trying to find that online, people were getting some of that by joining the community. And when they were being offered an opportunity to make those connections face to face, that was very exciting for them.
17:05 Patrick O’Keefe: When you started doing in-person events, what were your biggest fears or concerns?
17:10 Marie Connelly: Oh gosh. [chuckle] I don’t know. I was always afraid like what if nobody shows up? What if everybody RSVPs and nobody shows up? The meetup that we did at GHDonline, we did this in July, and the day of the event, there was a hail storm and we were gonna have an outdoor picnic. [chuckle] I just remember looking at the weather and going, “It’s probably not gonna hail. Probably that’s not how things are gonna go.” And then of course, that’s exactly what happened. So I did send out last minute notice to everybody who had RSVP-ed and said, “Hey, we know the weather is not what we would expect from July, but we hope you’ll still come. We’ve got some indoor space. It’ll be fine.” And lots and lots of people showed up soaking wet and it ended up being funny and everything went on fine. But I think there’s always that any time you do something live, it’s the, “What is the thing I didn’t plan for that’s gonna happen?”
18:09 Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, hail storm, that’s pretty bad.
18:12 Marie Connelly: Yeah, it was special. People still biked over. It’s like, “Alright, that’s commitment. I appreciate that.”
18:18 Patrick O’Keefe: If the community is strong enough, that’s the testament to the fact that people will find a way to get together.
18:22 Marie Connelly: Yeah, absolutely.
18:25 Patrick O’Keefe: Let’s go back to the theme that I opened with, about the level of political discourse on the web. Before the show, you told me that one of the biggest challenges in community today is “building ethical platforms, building tools that can facilitate conversation and dialogue without becoming tools for harassment and abuse.” You continued, “I think the power of any community comes from the people there. And right now, I think community platforms like Facebook and Twitter, need to be looking very seriously at whose voices are being amplified, and whose voices are being silenced. All too often I think we are seeing platforms launched or features added without enough awareness of or real concern for their potential to do harm. And I think rising to that challenge now is more important than ever.”
19:07 Patrick O’Keefe: This isn’t a new topic of the show necessarily, one example this brings to mind is the episode I did with the Derek Powazek, where we talked about Twitter abuse. There is an argument that can be made, that Twitter and Facebook are a form of personal CMS, not unlike blogs. Generic communication platforms that we apply our own meeting to. Not so much community platforms, unless we personally choose to use them that way. What do you think their ethical responsibility should be?
19:32 Marie Connelly: Oh gosh, this is such a big topic.
19:34 Patrick O’Keefe: It is. It’s a big one.
19:37 Marie Connelly: I think there’s a couple of things. To your point of maybe these are personal broadcasting platforms rather than necessarily community platforms. I think they’re used in both ways. There’s a version of how you look at this where everybody is a community manager of their personal Facebook feed. You are the person who is setting the boundaries of what that discussion is gonna be about. About who you connect to and contribute. Who contributes to the dialogue. Who you maybe need to rein in. That that’s all happening in a semi-open space. I think that there’s been this notion for a long time that platforms are neutral. And that if you’re just creating this space, then that’s where your responsibility ends. As somebody who grew up with a lot of lawyers in her family, I understand how that came to be. But I think that when you look at the way people are using these tools, when you look at the things that are happening on these platforms, I’m very concerned about this idea that algorithms are neutral because they are technology. But algorithms are created by people, and humans are imperfect, and we have our own biases, we have our own perspectives. I think this idea that you can build tools that don’t reflect that is naive. I think we need to be more aware of those assumptions that we are baking into our platforms.
21:15 Marie Connelly: I was thinking about this last night, considering the difference between how platforms address spam, and how they address harassment. Everybody going into building a communications tool is aware that spam is a problem. That somehow people are gonna try to use this to scam people out of money. Why is that also not the default assumption that somehow people are gonna use this communication tool to post hateful content or engage in harassing behavior? I think a lot of that comes back to the demographics of our industry and who is building these tools, who’s leading these teams, and not having a lot of marginalized voices in positions of power. To speak up and say, “Okay, wait, we’ve seen this before, we know what’s gonna happen to people of color. We know what’s gonna happen to women when they start speaking out in these places. We know what’s gonna happen to other marginalized groups.” This isn’t new anymore.
22:22 Patrick O’Keefe: No, no, it’s not. No, I had Howard Rheingold on the show recently and…
22:25 Marie Connelly: Yes.
22:27 Patrick O’Keefe: He’s been around for a very long time. We touched on that and how… He was writing about these things back in the 80s and how these types of issues come up. It’s interesting because it gets at different uses, different needs. Spam is relatively easy problem, and as much as you take care of spam, when I delete spammers and they say, “Well, what about my… That was relevant or what about my speech rights?” Like no one cares. But harassment can be a tougher line to draw. And the thing that I see with Facebook, and I think the thing that catches a lot of people as we think about this, not necessarily even community professionals, but just mainstream everyone, is how much we want Facebook to look out for us. Fake news is a big thing right now. Google is talking about fake news, how they’re gonna deal with fake news stories, ’cause there’s all these websites that tell people the news they wanna believe, rather than the news that actually exists.
23:18 Patrick O’Keefe: I was just talking on Facebook with someone about this, that I didn’t know, that someone I knew commented on, and it was a story about Lady Gaga being arrested for calling Melania Trump a very vulgar name out on a street corner yelling at her. I looked at it, and it took me about 45 seconds to determine that it wasn’t real and then I figured out that the photo in the article wasn’t Lady Gaga, it was Amanda Bynes. I just said, “This is not a real story, that’s not even Lady Gaga.” It’s such a problem, and harassment is such a problem. In our communities, many of us have pretty much solved the idea of harassment in general. People don’t really harass people on the communities I manage. I have the benefit of smaller scale, which makes it easier and more manageable.
23:55 Patrick O’Keefe: And Twitter has a big problem because Twitter, I wanna say they always had policies, I wanna say they didn’t always enforce them. And so when you have this size of thing, of the communications platform, and then trying to determine what is harassment, what is not, I’ve always felt they could do more, but I’ve always been sympathetic [chuckle] to the problem because they have such a massive challenge in dealing with what is a messaging app, in many ways, and saying, “What is harassment enough?” because they obviously have a problem. They took the step of banning Milo, which I agreed with. I’d love to see them ban more people, I think. But then that kind of rails back against the idea of being a communications platform, and finding that line is just so difficult. I think it’s easy and interesting to talk about, and talk about what they should do, and I’ve done it, but it’s such a difficult problem.
24:40 Marie Connelly: For sure.
24:41 Patrick O’Keefe: Just to be clear, I’m not defending them. I’ve actually been really critical. And it’s unfortunate that the chickens that come home to roost are the financial ones, that people don’t want to buy them, so that’s why it’s an issue now. Whereas it really should’ve been a priority from the beginning, and now they’re experiencing the problem that Reddit has experienced, the problem that every big community experiences that sacrifices standards for activity.
25:01 Marie Connelly: Yeah. I think you mentioned the financial problem and, I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about this… Certainly, I saw the same things everybody else saw, like, “Disney doesn’t want the PR.”
25:12 Patrick O’Keefe: Right.
25:13 Marie Connelly: I obviously don’t have [chuckle] any inside insight into that discussion, but I see that obvious risk. But even I think more dangerous or potentially damaging than the PR problem is the reality that people leave platforms when they stop getting value from them. And I think we’re already seeing… Now, I wrote about this in 2014. I continued to see people get harassed off of Twitter or just say, “You know what? It’s not worth it. I don’t wanna reach the Kool-Aid point where I’m so visible that people start attacking me.” I think that there’s a huge risk to your business [chuckle] if you’re not dealing with that problem because we all remember MySpace. We all can point to platforms that when their users moved on, there was no value there anymore. So it’s as much a PR risk for a company like Disney, as also I think a really legitimate business concern of, “If you don’t solve this problem, how are you gonna continue to provide value?”
26:28 Patrick O’Keefe: And I think that if they can solve it, the lessons we’ll learn [chuckle] will be amazing, because it’s not even the idea that we know harassment is bad and having to deal with it because, as you said, it’s an old problem. But just at the scale they’re dealing with it, I’ll be interested to see them clean it up because I think you have to decide at some point, and it’s a decision that really is made early on, but you have to decide what you exist for. What is your platform for? Who does it exist to serve? Because if you are something that is simply for everyone, unfortunately sometimes you end up with no one.
27:01 Marie Connelly: Yeah. And this gets to some of what we were talking about before, and what I was saying of are we building ethical platforms, are we building ethical tools? And to the point of we can’t build neutral algorithms because we are inherently biased humans. I think there’s a question in my mind, and I see a big challenge ahead in like, are we building things that perpetuate systemic problems in our society? Are we building things that perpetuate or exacerbate racism and misogyny and other forms of bigotry? Or are we building platforms that challenge the status quo? I think that, to your point in the beginning, community professionals have an opportunity to contribute to that process and to hopefully build better tools because I don’t really see [chuckle] how we move forward without that.
27:58 Patrick O’Keefe: Marie, thank you for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure to have you.
28:01 Marie Connelly: Thank you so much, Patrick. I always enjoy talking about this stuff, and I think it’s so important to really dig in and do the work now, so I appreciate having the opportunity to reflect on that with you.
28:13 Patrick O’Keefe: Luckily, I enjoy talking about it too. And here come the police to get me [laughter], if you can hear the sirens…
28:20 Patrick O’Keefe: Outside right now.
28:21 Marie Connelly: I was like, “That’s an interesting effect.” Okay.
28:23 Patrick O’Keefe: Yeah, they heard I was talking community. We have been talking with Marie Connelly, community manager on the product team at Vox Media. For the transcript from this episode, plus highlights and links that we mentioned, please visit communitysignal.com. Community Signal is produced by Karn Broad. We’ll be back next week.
Thank you for listening to Community Signal.