Gatekeeping is a process of selecting and then filtering items that can be consumed within time or space. A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something; in Facebook groups, this can be an administrator or moderator.
I’m writing this because I posted a message on our FB book club two weeks ago about a culture and immigration festival that included book exhibitions, reading novels’ first pages, etc. After the event, I contacted the administrator enquiring why it wasn’t approved. She apologised and explained that it’s pending (not disallowed) because she’s busy managing other activities and suggested emailing her directly when I have a post.
Gatekeeping has pluses and minuses. Unrelevant and offensive messages are filtered out. On the other hand, it’s toxic when it bars people from participating in a group or community or discussion based on narrow criteria or questionable reasons.
Why and how do administrators and moderators have this gatekeeping power?
Administrators appoint or remove a moderator, manage group settings (such as changing the group name or settings), approve or deny membership and participants’ requests, approve or reject posts, delete comments on posts, ban people from the group, and pin or unpin a post (i.e. positioning – e.g. move to the top of the page.)
Moderators approve or deny membership and participants’ requests, approve or deny posts, remove comments, and ban people from the group.
Do administrators and moderators own the group when they have started or created it?
How can we ensure administrators and moderators don’t use the group for their sole gain?
“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” – Arabian Proverb
My pending, obsolete post is history. However, the success of the festival – organised by the Comité de Liaison des Associations d’Étrangers ( CLAE) and one of Luxembourg’s most important annual events – lingers on. There were about 30,000 visitors to its 400 stands.