[LINK] Sweaty Scenes from the Life of an AOL Censor
Thu, 22 Mar 2001 14:31:32 +1100 (EST)
This story from the The Village Voice is quite interesting if you
have any interest on what it's like to work in an AOL centre
monitoring for content in chat rooms.
Sweaty Scenes from the Life of an AOL Censor
"Pussy" became a real problem for us.
We were supposed to monitor screen names and profiles for vulgar
content at America Online. Four of us shared this position, warning
members and even canceling their accounts for violating the company's
Terms of Service (TOS).
In AOL's campaign to keep the Web safe for surburbia, we stood as the
first line of defense. This month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled
the corporation couldn't be held accountable for its customers'
behavior, but we took that responsibility to heart. Or at least,
modestly, to the bank.
There in the Albuquerque foothills, we toiled in a row of gray pods
like the hundreds of others lining the call center. Photographs of
nature scenes and slogans like "There is no 'I' in Team" dotted the
walls. Our supervisors sat along the perimeter in open cubicles. When
I began in 1997, the building was sparsely populated and the low
partitions separating one space from the next were decorated with
personal effects. NASCAR images were popular among the Techies, who
showed each other up with their ever increasing gigabytes of memory
and knowledge of technology. The Member Saves, a group that offered
free months of service to corral customers who wanted out, were
mostly college students and had pictures of their dogs, friends, and
Pamela Anderson. Their boyfriends came at lunch to pick them up in
ragtops with country or hip-hop blaring, speeding off for a punctual
hour at Arby's or one of the other fast-food joints along the strip
See http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0112/ferrandino.shtml for the
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