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issue of moderation in the forums

Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve our forums?

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issue of moderation in the forums

Postby erolz » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:14 pm

Firsty let me start by outlining my personal appraoch to moderation.

Where moderation is deemed necessary moving a post is always preferable to removing a post.

where removal is deemed necessary then the principle of 'minimum removal possible' should be applied. That is as much as the orginal post as can be left un edited (to comply with the moderators interpretation of the rules) should be left unedited

where users have been suspended in the past a second chance should always be offered, provided they do not try and subvert the suspension by registering under another nick and before they have 'served their sentance' and been notifed by the admin that they may re register.

Now let me move on to my personal views about the current rules of moderation and make some suggestions. But first some disclaimers.

1. These are my personal views as normal memeber and not as a moderator and do not reflect in any way the views of the moderators here in general.

2. It could be considered that this very discussion is gainst the current rules and if it is so deemed by those entrusted to make such decsions I will accept such a decsion and accept the removal of this post in its entirety.

3. The suggestions I am going to make below are just that - suggestions. I do not believe than any users here have a right to demand anything. We can discuss and ask for changes and modifactions we have no right to them and the admin/owber has a right to refuse them, ignore them or act on them as they choose.

Phew! Disclaimers out of the way.

My _personal_ view is that the absolute ban on publicaly discussing moderator decisions should be revised. I beleive that such discusion should be allowed but under the follwing rules and understandings.

They should only be made in an approriate, dedicated section of the forum and not in the thread in which the moderation took place.

The choice of if a moderator in question wishes to enter into such discussion or not is that moderators alone and there is no obligation or duty on them to do so if they do not wish to.
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Postby Saint Jimmy » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:27 pm

My view is that moderators must also be moderated. It is my impression that Admin doesn't have time (or desire, I don't know which) for that, even.

So I propose a hierarchical system, in which moderators will be ranked according to popular vote and they will, on top of their normal duties, be responsible for moderating other lower-ranking moderators (but not the other way around, i.e., lower-ranking moderators may not moderate higher-ranking moderators). At any rate, I believe that moderators being immune to moderation (as they are, not technically - Admin can moderate them - but effectively - as Admin does not seem to have the time or the desire to do it) is unacceptable.
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Postby erolz » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:39 pm

Saint Jimmy wrote:My view is that moderators must also be moderated. It is my impression that Admin doesn't have time (or desire, I don't know which) for that, even.

So I propose a hierarchical system, in which moderators will be ranked according to popular vote and they will, on top of their normal duties, be responsible for moderating other lower-ranking moderators (but not the other way around, i.e., lower-ranking moderators may not moderate higher-ranking moderators). At any rate, I believe that moderators being immune to moderation (as they are, not technically - Admin can moderate them - but effectively - as Admin does not seem to have the time or the desire to do it) is unacceptable.


I agree with your principles. I beleive that they are already being applied in a simpler and less formalised and compliacted manner.

Stuff goes on behind the scenes that is not seen. I refer to the other moderators of the section I am involved in and as MicAtCyp formaly suggested elswhere when a person has a strong disagreement with my actions and contacts me via pm about this I usualy if not always explain my reasons and agreed to my decison being reviewed by an alternate moderator and to accept their view over mine. I have also refered moderating decsions of other mods that I consider excessive or worng to the admin. The admin then decides to act on this or not as is their right and choice.

I personally think your proposals are too complicated and cumberson and not actually necessary. That's my personal view.

I would also add that the role of moderator is not something that I 'enjoy' having to do. I do not like having to make value judgments about others and the more 'borderline' the judgement the less happy I am at having a role to do make. Moderation takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the moderators. It is largely a thankless task. I agreed to do it despite these burdens not because of any (consious) power or authority real or percieved that it gives me but because I believed / bleieve it is necessary and if done properly can stregthen and improve the already very good forum we have here, and that I could contribute to such an effort.
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Postby Saint Jimmy » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:24 pm

Yes, I see what you are saying, and, even though I didn't know you actually do that (voluntarily defer decisions to other moderators), that's not the issue I'm bringing up.

The issue I'm trying to raise is two-fold:

a) Other than being fascist or whatever, moderation is highly annoying - especially if one happens to be on the receiving end. I'm not entirely sure that (all) moderators themselves understand what it's like, and thus tend to over-moderate. I think a system where someone else would moderate moderators would have a lot to teach the existing moderators of where the line should be drawn.

b) There is the issue of moderators breaking the forum rules themselves. Even if it's not 'breaking' per se, but borderline 'bending'. What happens there, under the existing rules? Pretty much nothing, right? It's just not fair. This relates to all those 'Who the hell made YOU moderator?' kind of posts.

P.S.: I have never been a forum moderator or a referee of any sport. Feel free to disregard my post or refute what I'm saying, because it's quite likely that there's a lot more to this moderating business that I don't know about.
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Postby brother » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:33 pm

In the begining some moderators were over enthusiastic with their duties but now i believe all moderators have settled in what the forum expects from them and are carrying out the moderation fairly, but you must remember that they cannot please everyone as they have to follow the guidelines set upon them by Admin. as the rules of the forum and if forum members are following the forum rules there will never be a reason for the moderator to bother any of your posts imo.
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Postby erolz » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:50 pm

Saint Jimmy wrote: a) Other than being fascist or whatever, moderation is highly annoying - especially if one happens to be on the receiving end. I'm not entirely sure that (all) moderators themselves understand what it's like, and thus tend to over-moderate. I think a system where someone else would moderate moderators would have a lot to teach the existing moderators of where the line should be drawn.


I absoultley agree that moderation of oneself can be and often is highly annoying. I do have quite a personal history of using forums for a long time before I came here both as a plain users and as an admin / mod. I have also seen previously good forums quite literaly destroyed by both over zealous moderation and by a total lack of any effective moderation. I am also of the personal view that 'private only' discussions of specfic moderating decisons is itself a very annoying thing when you have been moderated - the effects of the moderation are after all taken 'in public' and that if you feel slighted by such a decsion and receive no joy in private discussions with the moderator conerned or others mods / admins then the next best thing is to at least be able to 'vent' their frustration in public - hence my suggestions re changes to the rules in this regard.

Saint Jimmy wrote:b) There is the issue of moderators breaking the forum rules themselves. Even if it's not 'breaking' per se, but borderline 'bending'. What happens there, under the existing rules? Pretty much nothing, right? It's just not fair. This relates to all those 'Who the hell made YOU moderator?' kind of posts.


I do not directly moderated another moderators posts on the simple basis that such actions can easily turn into a battle between mods and few things are more damaging to a forum in my experience than 'mods fighting amongsdt themsleves'. I do and have however pm mods and suggested that imo they themselves are in violation of the rules and have had the same done to me. And there is always the right of anyone to call in (via pm) the ultimate judge and arbitor of the admin - though not a right to insist that he take action of course.

Saint Jimmy wrote:P.S.: I have never been a forum moderator or a referee of any sport. Feel free to disregard my post or refute what I'm saying, because it's quite likely that there's a lot more to this moderating business that I don't know about.


I understand the frustration of real or percieved unfairness with reagrds to mods vs other posters. I have initated this discussion so we can talk about ways that this can be minimised as much as possible, within the constraints of practicablity and aknowledging the inhernet dangers of mods fighting each other of moderation of each other.

So let's discuss these issue (as long as the admin/mod of this section do not deem such a breach of the existing rules - in which case lets accept this decsion without fighting against it and without rancour).

I would just reiterate that it is my firm belief that the INTENT of all involved in the introduction of moderators to this forum from the admin who made that decisons to those appointed mods is to try an improve the forums for all it's users.

Finally a slightly (but not entirely) jokey beleief I have about appointing moderators (that I also hold for policepeople and the like) is that when appointing such you should first ask who wants the role (moderator / policeman and the like) and then exclude all those that express a desire to have such a role and make appointments from the remainig people :)

I would just have to say this was not what happen to me in this specfic case. The mod asked who would be willing to moderate and I offered my 'services' - so by my therom above I should have ben excluded. So there you go.
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Postby Saint Jimmy » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:00 pm

:lol:
I know how the selection process worked. :wink:

Anyway, I feel the need to clarify that my views are not the result of personal frustration or spitefulness against any moderator, as I have not been moderated so far (largely due to my recent long periods of absence from the forum). Nor do I have any real authority issues.

I'm just trying to practice my own theory on how groups achieve optimum efficiency - through constant and ruthless criticism. It's not a personal thing.
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Postby erolz » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:33 pm

Saint Jimmy wrote: I'm just trying to practice my own theory on how groups achieve optimum efficiency - through constant and ruthless criticism. It's not a personal thing.


Understood and I am guessing that we have very similar views re this. I personaly think it does more harm than good to a forum to say - all mod decisons are final and there will be and can be no (public) discussion of mods actions on pain of removal of such posts and banning for persistance posts. I believe there has to be room left for (constructive) critisim of the basis and paractice of moderation if a forum / community is to grow and strenghten over time. Hence my starting this thread and my suggestion re some changes to the rules re discussion of mod decisons.
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Postby Admin » Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:32 am

Thanks Erolz for this thread.

First I have to say that many other members could become moderators and be equally as good as the current mods. In the near future some additional moderators will be added. This might seem like a lot, but remember that while the moderator carries his title everywhere in reality he has moderator "powers" only in one or at most two forums.

My _personal_ view is that the absolute ban on publicaly discussing moderator decisions should be revised. I beleive that such discusion should be allowed but under the follwing rules and understandings.


This can be done here, in the feedback section. Members can discuss the way moderators apply the rules. However personal attacks against moderators should not be made since this would be against the general rules.

Where moderation is deemed necessary moving a post is always preferable to removing a post.


agreed

where removal is deemed necessary then the principle of 'minimum removal possible' should be applied. That is as much as the original post as can be left un edited (to comply with the moderators interpretation of the rules) should be left unedited

agreed

where users have been suspended in the past a second chance should always be offered, provided they do not try and subvert the suspension by registering under another nick and before they have 'served their sentance' and been notifed by the admin that they may re register.


This is already done with some members receiving 1 day bans. However I am not sure if this can be done in all cases.

I believe some moderator coordination is needed so we can all agree on the same rules. I will be doing something about this soon :)

So I propose a hierarchical system


Saint Jymmy, your suggestion is interesting but not easily feasible from a technical point of view. However I hope that we will soon be able to solve the problems in other ways.
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