October 28, 2014

The life of a censor is not easy.

Pity the poor Facebook/Twitter/YouTube censor.
For the first few months, Rob didn’t mind his job moderating videos at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno. His coworkers were mostly new graduates like himself, many of them liberal arts majors.... But as months dragged on, the rough stuff began to take a toll. The worst was the gore: brutal street fights, animal torture, suicide bombings, decapitations, and horrific traffic accidents...

“If someone was uploading animal abuse, a lot of the time it was the person who did it. He was proud of that,” Rob says. “And seeing it from the eyes of someone who was proud to do the fucked-up thing, rather than news reporting on the fucked-up thing—it just hurts you so much harder, for some reason. It just gives you a much darker view of humanity.”

Rob began to dwell on the videos outside of work. He became withdrawn and testy....

It became clear to Rob that he would likely never become a real Google employee. A few months into his contract, he applied for a job with Google but says he was turned down for an interview because his GPA didn’t meet the requirement....
Some unknown portion of the pain is knowing your career is going nowhere. There's the dead man in the video... and the dead end that is your career. And there's a troubling discrepancy between the kind of pain that is in your life personally as you sit comfortably and unharmed in your chair and the immense pain of others you see on the screen. The dissonance adds to the burden of your personal pain.

27 comments:

rhhardin said...

It's even worse for art critics.

RecChief said...

is this a set up for post traumatic stress disability claim?

Nonapod said...

I would imagine it'd be difficult to keep things in perspective. It's similar to the jaded cop who has been exposed to the worst side of human behavior daily for years. I would imagine you'd start to think that the percentage of the population that is depraved psychopaths is much higher than it probably is in reality. And what's even worse is that you might get desensitized to such horrible images. I certainly wouldn't want a job like that.

Renee said...

I thought individuals with criminal justice backgrounds would perform this service.

Achilles said...

I love reading about liberal arts majors and their first world problems.

Larry J said...

Many years ago, I saw an interview with a very proper older woman who was a movie censor for her city. IIRC, she may have been one of the last people to perform that kind of job in the country. She talked about how influential movies were and how it would be irresponsible to allow certain scenes to be shown lest they inspire someone to do something gastly.

After the interview, I couldn't help but wonder who was keeping an eye on her. After all, if movies were so influential and she was seeing almost every movie made, she should've been a spree killer or maniac just waiting to break loose. Who watches the watchers?

Perhaps she thought herself to be so morally superior as to be incorruptable. More likely, the movies weren't so influential after all but she needed something to justify her job.

Things are far more horrific today, especially on video posting sites like YouTube. Those aren't special effects, those are actual people being murdered, molested, assaulted, etc.

Browndog said...

You think they would have developed some sort of software to detect their objects of deletion.

However, there is one sure-fire way to eliminate Post Traumatic Censor Disorder:

Stop censoring

Nonapod said...

You think they would have developed some sort of software to detect their objects of deletion.

Automated pattern recognition within video images is still pretty imprecise and unreliable. Teaching a computer to identify abstract human concepts like depictions of violence, torture ect. is difficult in the extreme. And even if (and when) you were able to come up with a fairly reliable system for that, you'd still probably need humans to look at the stuff that was flagged to minimize false positives.

Anthony said...

I would probably bail after the first animal video.

madAsHell said...

mostly new graduates like himself, many of them liberal arts majors

A liberal arts degree, and an inferior GPA. College was a complete waste of time, and did nothing but saddle you with a low GPA, and lots of debt.

That's gonna leave a mark.

garage mahal said...

This is actually about ethics in gaming journalism.

I just wanted to type that sentence once.

kcom said...

"I just wanted to type that sentence once."

Are you taking requests?

ken in tx said...

People on reddit are posting that Google doesn't use GPA in hiring, and that's real cool with them.

jr565 said...

Browndog wrote:
However, there is one sure-fire way to eliminate Post Traumatic Censor Disorder:

Stop censoring

Easier said than done. Especially when someone is posting something that is copyrighted for example. Or has objectionable content. YOu tube can't post porn. So, if there were no censoring peopel would start posting porn.

jr565 said...

garage mahal wrote:
This is actually about ethics in gaming journalism.

The left is really boring on Gamer gate.

Wince said...

"MAKE REASONABLE CHOICES"

"I don't read Sanskrit... That's an odd thing to have tattooed on your neck."

Billy: Look, Google needs us. And Google wants us.

Nick: They do? You sweet son of a bitch. You got us a job at Google?

Billy: Well, it’s not actually a job.

Nick: What do you mean, not an actual job?

Billy: Well, it’s an interview for an internship that has a better-than-aught chance of materializing into a job.

Nick: Billy, now you’re making me very angry. You want me to leave my job to go for an interview, not for a job but for an internship that may or may not lead to a job?

Jane the Actuary said...

Same topic in Slate a couple days ago, only the watchers were in places like the Philippines, and Amanda Marcotte's big suggestion was to give them pay raises.

Fernandistein said...

“If someone was uploading animal abuse, a lot of the time it was the person who did it."

That should be reported to the ASPCA or some such.

Larry J said
...Perhaps she thought herself to be so morally superior as to be incorruptable.


The Canadian gov't said essentially that about their border guards' exposure to the porn they were censoring: porn corrupts people (which is why we censor it), but the guards aren't corrupted so they must be special.

Monkeyboy said...

Had to watch a lot of videos of people killing each other for work, (no really, Intel Analyst) it is bad for the soul. Not so much the violence but the joy people took in other people's suffering.
I can say that I honestly feel for the kid.

Xmas said...

I used to do abuse support for an ISP. I think the worst thing we had to deal with was the NAMBLA supporter that had a personal web site on our system.

We also had a MENSA member who met his wife through that organization. He had about a novel's worth of ranting about how she cheated on him with another MENSA member. Both of those sites were just text only, thanks goodness.

Oh...and HairToStay dot com. That was not just text and was fairly disturbing...

Krumhorn said...

I always love it when folks complain about their jobs....as if they are the only ones who have to work hard and put up with disagreeable people and issues. Teachers often whine the loudest when they are tenured, make $100k+ and get the summer off.

My sympathies are reserved for police, correctional officers and staff, ER personnel and our military in battle. They see the darkest and most unrelentingly gruesome aspects of humanity while generally conducting themselves with the utmost in courtesy and restraint.

- Krumhorn

Scott said...

Big companies don't hire people for shit jobs anymore. They're all contractors.

If this poor guy files a workman's comp claim, does it come off of Google's insurance or the contract house's?

Browndog said...

So, if there were no censoring people would start posting porn.

I get it. However, you don't have to click on the porn, or the beheading, or anything.

It's not like tv. I could view everything that is on tv in minutes.....I presume.

It would take a week(s) to view everything that has been posted on Youtube in the last 10 minutes.

William said...

I've had worse jobs. In fact, all my jobs were worse. I had to work in the linens treatment room at the local hospital. A lots of the AIDS and Ebola patients had vomiting and diarrhea. They blew big chunks. It was necessary to hang the sheets up and scrap all the detritus off them. Otherwise, the chunks would clog up the washing machines. Anyway, I had to scrape the sheets clean and put the chunks into a big barrel where they were picked up twice a week by the Indian restaurant. It was a demanding job and didn't pay much above minimum wage, but I was glad to get it. It was a university hospital, and they gave me a discount on my courses.

Ann Althouse said...

"Same topic in Slate a couple days ago, only the watchers were in places like the Philippines, and Amanda Marcotte's big suggestion was to give them pay raises."

Probably the same article. I just picked a different part.

chillblaine said...

I feel for the guy. There was a scene in 'Munich,' and another one in 'The Crazies,' that were just really disturbing. At least with cinema you can tell yourself it's make-believe.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Good one William, almost beta worthy.


Browndog, have you ever been rickrolled?