Poynter.com recently interviewed Justin Isaf of the Huffington Post regarding HuffPost’s unique ability to handle millions of reader comments. Isaf stated, “We’re a bigger team with the equivalent of about 30 full time moderators. They work 24/7/365 in six-hour shifts going through hundreds of comments per hour each… It’s a very specific skill set and takes a certain mentality to do it well. I am constantly in awe of this team. They’re backed up by some of the best tech in the industry. It would take a really long time to explain all the different technologies that go into the moderation flow, but at the core is Julia. She’s an artificial intelligence machine that helps the mods out.”

He went on, “She was part of an acquisition of a company called Adaptive Semantics that created her and the original tech behind it all. It was a two-person team, Jeff Revesz and Elena Haliczer. Elena is now HuffPost’s VP of product, and ongoing Julia development is done by some very smart people with Ph.Ds in stuff I will never understand. Julia is a machine learning algorithm (JuLiA stands for ‘Just a Linguistic Algorithm’) that we’ve taught to understand several languages and that we continue to teach on an ongoing basis (yes, she learns over time). She reads everything submitted to HuffPost and helps the moderators do their jobs faster and more accurately. We’ve really done a lot with machine-assisted moderation, allowing us to pre-moderate 9.5 million comments a month, and Julia is core to that.”

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Image: Courtesy HuffPost