Work Notes #25

The past week felt somehow relaxed, probably because almost every project is idle since everybody is on holiday. However, progress was made, and changes happened anyway.

On Monday, our new intern started. Some might say that this isn’t a big deal, but I would beg to differ. For me, every intern is a vital part of the team. Although our interns are with us only for six months, I feel the same pressure hiring them as I do for a regular employee. The Community team is small in comparison, so everyone has a significant impact on the team’s dynamic and culture. Besides talent and motivation, I try to predict this impact as well when hiring someone new.

Looking back at the past few weeks, I’m proud of the team. We managed to moderate a new record of incoming comments and tell many stories together with the community. (If you’re interested to learn more about comments on, click here.)

But the aspect I’m most proud of is that the team members are empowered to function by themselves when I’m absorbed with product and project management. It would be impossible to focus on those tasks if I had to worry about the team continually.

Despite projects being idle, we finally rolled out the first commenting feature that we developed for Diamond: Selected Voices. It allows us to handpick comments that contribute to civil debate and showcase them above the text field. We hope to see two benefits: One the one hand, we reward users that write civilly. On the other, we hope that those comments inspire others to voice their opinions with less toxic language.

Inspiring was also a meeting with the guys at Hearken. We started working with them back in March, and we had a fruitful exchange about the experience we made so far. We’re looking into creating a case study since we use their tool quite differently at Nevertheless, we’re aligned in our conviction: Engagement creates value for journalism.

The collaboration between editorial teams and the community leads to stunning stuff: The past few days, we created several call-to-actions to gather experiences. We found users who told us about their suffering from Covid-19 or how they dealt with holidays in high-risk countries. This Saturday morning, the four top stories on all stem from such collaboration.