Kickstarter will now hide reported comments pending review

Kickstarter announced today it will now automatically hide from public view comments reported by creators until its Trust and Safety team has reviewed them and made a decision as to whether the comment should remain or be deleted, in an effort to curb the number of abusive comments visible on the platform.

Creators will also now have the option to select a reason for reporting a comment when flagging it for review, which Kickstarter hopes will allow its team to address abuse more quickly. When revoking commenting privileges, Kickstarter will provide backers with more specific information about when they can expect those privileges to be restored, it says.

“With this work, we’re being careful to care for the health of the whole system—creators need to feel safe, and backers need to be able to raise questions and concerns,” Kickstarter said in its blog post outlining the changes.

While there is value in hiding potentially abusive comments for further review, there’s also the possibility that such a system itself could be abused if the reviews don’t take place quickly enough. An unscrupulous creator using the platform could leverage the reporting feature to at least temporarily hide their negative comments, or those questioning the project’s viability or safety, while continuing to crowdfund, perhaps.

In order to further improve security, Kickstarter said it will work with the Kickstarter Community Advisory Council, launching in May, which will be made up of creators who are knowledgeable about a range of fields. Applications, which closed on April 6, were open to creators who had run at least one campaign and had an account for at least a year (and were “in good standing”). Members must commit to serving at least a year on the council and attending all six of the year’s two-hour meetings. In exchange, members will receive a $5,000 honorarium for the year. Kickstarter has not yet announced the members of this council.

The council will have “a special focus on helping us prioritize the development of new features that help ensure that the platform is as useful, welcoming, and inclusive as it can possibly be,” Kickstarter said. The council’s responsibilities will also include providing input as the platform navigates moving to blockchain, a plan which prompted backlash late last year, particularly when it came to concerns over the environmental impact of blockchain technology’s energy usage.