Author Topic: Moderator Guidelines  (Read 3693 times)

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Offline The Chief

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Moderator Guidelines
« Topic Start: April 28, 2008, 09:26:22 AM »
How would you like us to improve?  What would you like changed?

Offline rich_nats

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #1: April 28, 2008, 10:22:48 AM »
How would you like us to improve?  What would you like changed?

First off, in my experience on message boards, a "moderator" is someone that maintains the integrity of the board.  They have privileges with the content of the board and they should be using those privileges responsibly and not abusing them.  It is understood that moderators are also regular posters, however their conduct on the board MUST be held to a higher standard, or else if a non-moderator has a concern, then they are not fully confident that the concern can be respected or addressed properly.  For non-moderators, they need assurance that moderators aren't abusing their power because if all we can do is complain to moderators, then they may just look and say "it's his problem" and brush the issue aside.   That is unacceptable IMO. 

I have looked through the board and surprisingly I didn't find a clearly marked "Code of Conduct" anywhere.  Not saying it doesn't exist, but where can I find it?  If it doesn't exist, then I suggest that the board moderators (who are responsible for the integrity of the board) look at examples from other message boards and come up with a set of guidelines for ALL members.  As another poster mentioned, a lot does slide here and I believe that is why problems occur and they are dismissed easily by the mods.  And I will also suggest that this CoC include a "moderator" section that will address any misuse of moderator privileges. 

From my recent experience with the moderators and their handling of member concerns, it's just one person's call and that's it.  No set rules, guidelines, nothing.  Just one person's opinion, which may or may not be impartial. 

My recommendation for the improvement of the board is for the moderators to develop a Code-of-Conduct for the board (and they can request assistance from all members, since they are the primary users) that will include guidelines for posting etiquette and moderator behavior.

My suggestion for the CoC would be for moderators not to "split" threads in other poster's names without that member's consent.  I understand that moderators use this method to redirect arguments, however it is disrespectful to the member to have a thread started in their name (with a title of a moderator's choosing). 

Also I would recommend that moderators not engage in any "flame wars" because those ruin the integrity of the board, and I expect the moderators to be above that sort of behavior. 

That's just a starting off point - I welcome any moderator or non-moderator to contribute their ideas and suggestions for improving this board with a clearly defined CoC.  I believe this will clear up any ambiguities over what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior (mod or non-mod). 

Thanks

Offline The Chief

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #2: April 28, 2008, 01:18:19 PM »
Thanks for your input, both of you.  I'm going to review these suggestions and discuss them with the rest of the staff, and we will attempt to formulate a reasonably set of guidelines for both moderator and member conduct on the board.  I'll keep you all posted with progress updates, and in the meantime I welcome any further input or suggestions.

Please keep any further posts in this thread "on topic."

MrMadison

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Re: Re: The moderators....
« Reply #3: April 28, 2008, 01:19:30 PM »
First off, in my experience on message boards, a "moderator" is someone that maintains the integrity of the board.  They have privileges with the content of the board and they should be using those privileges responsibly and not abusing them.  It is understood that moderators are also regular posters, however their conduct on the board MUST be held to a higher standard, or else if a non-moderator has a concern, then they are not fully confident that the concern can be respected or addressed properly.  For non-moderators, they need assurance that moderators aren't abusing their power because if all we can do is complain to moderators, then they may just look and say "it's his problem" and brush the issue aside.   That is unacceptable IMO. 

I have looked through the board and surprisingly I didn't find a clearly marked "Code of Conduct" anywhere.  Not saying it doesn't exist, but where can I find it?  If it doesn't exist, then I suggest that the board moderators (who are responsible for the integrity of the board) look at examples from other message boards and come up with a set of guidelines for ALL members.  As another poster mentioned, a lot does slide here and I believe that is why problems occur and they are dismissed easily by the mods.  And I will also suggest that this CoC include a "moderator" section that will address any misuse of moderator privileges. 

From my recent experience with the moderators and their handling of member concerns, it's just one person's call and that's it.  No set rules, guidelines, nothing.  Just one person's opinion, which may or may not be impartial. 

My recommendation for the improvement of the board is for the moderators to develop a Code-of-Conduct for the board (and they can request assistance from all members, since they are the primary users) that will include guidelines for posting etiquette and moderator behavior.

My suggestion for the CoC would be for moderators not to "split" threads in other poster's names without that member's consent.  I understand that moderators use this method to redirect arguments, however it is disrespectful to the member to have a thread started in their name (with a title of a moderator's choosing). 

Also I would recommend that moderators not engage in any "flame wars" because those ruin the integrity of the board, and I expect the moderators to be above that sort of behavior. 

That's just a starting off point - I welcome any moderator or non-moderator to contribute their ideas and suggestions for improving this board with a clearly defined CoC.  I believe this will clear up any ambiguities over what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior (mod or non-mod). 

Thanks

Thank you.

My apologies for offending you and/or making you feel uncomfortable here on this board, as it was never my intent to do so.  In the future I'll make a conscious effort to refrain from being as active in posting and in forum debates as I have been, and I'll hold my opinion to myself more often. I'll strive to be more of an "observer" and "news poster" , except for in the game threads.

MrMadison

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #4: April 28, 2008, 01:19:56 PM »
My two cents' worth, I appreciate that the issue of moderator roles was raised and that forum members were given an opportunity to have input, as I've sometimes had concerns about how that role is manifested on this forum (and my concerns have involved different occasions with different moderators - I don't wish to single out J-Mad or any other moderator). As far as performance and competency, I'm sure that each moderator does a lot of behind-the-scenes work that we don't know about. I appreciate their taking the time to contribute their technical skills, and no doubt they each make solid contributions to forum function and maintenance on a regular basis.

That said, I for one like the idea of having (and/or making forum members aware of) a public code of conduct or guidelines for moderators. I participate in a number of work-related online discussion forums and lists, as well as some recreational forums related to my personal interests such as birding and baseball. Generally speaking, I've noticed that moderators on this board sometimes tend to behave differently than moderators on other forums that I've been on, in that while they may step in to moderate disputes among forum members, they also may engage in such disputes themselves (sometimes in an, um, immoderate manner). I understand the concept of splitting off tangential discussions, but IMO moderators should exercise prudence as relates to locking or deleting threads, particularly threads in which they have been engaging in a dispute with another member, so as to avoid the appearance of or perception of any abuse of their power. In such a situation, it might be appropriate for moderators to consult amongst themselves and perhaps for a moderator who is impartial and removed from the active dispute to step in and take action. I also think that moderators should think twice before editing a forum member's comments.

That's my two cents' worth. Thanks for asking. Reasoned discussion and brainstorming about roles can only help to make a good forum better, IMO (and I do think that Chief has created a very good forum here).

Edit: In the event that moderator guideline changes/implementation were to be considered, here's some info that came up when I Googled "board moderator ethics."

http://www.webspiner.com/msgboards/ethics.htm

http://www.webspiner.com/msgboards/moderator.htm


thanks 1A.

Offline kimnat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #5: April 28, 2008, 01:23:44 PM »
Thank you.

My apologies for offending you and/or making you feel uncomfortable here on this board, as it was never my intent to do so.  In the future I'll make a conscious effort to refrain from being as active in posting and in forum debates as I have been, and I'll hold my opinion to myself more often. I'll strive to be more of an "observer" and "news poster" , except for in the game threads.

JMad, I don't want you to do that.  You have as much right to participate around here as the next guy (or gal).  You do not need to limit your postings all that much.  Maybe don't engage in arguments, but you still have the right to participate and post to the forum.

Offline spidernat

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Re: Re: The moderators....
« Reply #6: April 28, 2008, 01:30:26 PM »
WTF is going on! Not too long ago someone wanted to dictate the format of this forum and now we have individuals trying to force other things on to this forum.

Offline spidernat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #7: April 28, 2008, 01:36:14 PM »
JMad, I don't want you to do that.  You have as much right to participate around here as the next guy (or gal). 


QFT 

As for the limiting of his posting and participating in debates, JMad is a person not a robot. JMad contributes a lot in debates and he should be allowed to express his opinion like anyone else and if that sometimes leads to a little heated argument so be it. Are we going to start censoring people because a couple of people have suddenly decided to be petty and to impose their rules on a community of people that have functioned and interacted well for quite some time? I see this going down a bad road.

Offline The Chief

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #8: April 28, 2008, 01:37:34 PM »
WTF is going on! Not too long ago someone wanted to dictate the format of this forum and now we have individuals trying to force other things on to this forum.

Trust me, nothing is being forced.  I'm just taking suggestions.

Offline kimnat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #9: April 28, 2008, 01:41:33 PM »

QFT 

As for the limiting of his posting and participating in debates, JMad is a person not a robot. JMad contributes a lot in debates and he should be allowed to express his opinion like anyone else and if that sometimes leads to a little heated argument so be it. Are we going to start censoring people because a couple of people have suddenly decided to be petty and to impose their rules on a community of people that have functioned and interacted well for quite some time? I see this going down a bad road.

:shock:  WOW!  You gave me a QFT, has that ever happened before? :lol:

Offline nats2playoffs

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #10: April 28, 2008, 01:45:23 PM »
...My suggestion for the CoC would be for moderators not to "split" threads in other poster's names without that member's consent.  I understand that moderators use this method to redirect arguments, however it is disrespectful to the member to have a thread started in their name (with a title of a moderator's choosing)...


I complained about it in the new thread, when it happened to me recently, but I wasn't overly bent out of shape about it.  The new and old threads don't entirely always make sense, since the pruning can't be perfect.  It's generally not a good idea to do it at all.

JMad is a person not a robot.


I thought JMad/MrMad was a NINJA, which are often believed to be part-robot...  Ninjas are supposed to fight.


How would you like us to improve?  What would you like changed?


I think we should get FREE DONUTS and free tickets in the President's section.

And MORE WINS by the Nationals!

Offline kimnat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #11: April 28, 2008, 01:47:39 PM »
HERE HERE!!!  Can I have a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles and a Curly W to go please?  :lol:

Offline The Chief

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #12: April 28, 2008, 01:48:07 PM »
HERE HERE!!!  Can I have a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles?  :lol:

Maybe our next get-together should be at Krispy Kreme :lol:

Offline kimnat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #13: April 28, 2008, 01:48:50 PM »
LOL!!!!  Hey how come regular bakeries don't do donuts these days??

Online blue911

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #14: April 28, 2008, 01:55:10 PM »
LOL!!!!  Hey how come regular bakeries don't do donuts these days??

I wonder how many real bakeries are left? What I run into are stores that sell bakery items but don't bake anything on site.

Offline spidernat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #15: April 28, 2008, 01:59:33 PM »

Please keep any further posts in this thread "on topic."

:?

Leave it to kimnat  :lol:

Offline kimnat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #16: April 28, 2008, 02:06:38 PM »
:?

Leave it to kimnat  :lol:

:p

I wonder how many real bakeries are left? What I run into are stores that sell bakery items but don't bake anything on site.

Definitely not many!!  We do have a couple of good small ones here in Fairfax who bake onsite, but not with donuts.

Offline saltydad

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #17: April 28, 2008, 02:40:15 PM »

QFT 

As for the limiting of his posting and participating in debates, JMad is a person not a robot. JMad contributes a lot in debates and he should be allowed to express his opinion like anyone else and if that sometimes leads to a little heated argument so be it. Are we going to start censoring people because a couple of people have suddenly decided to be petty and to impose their rules on a community of people that have functioned and interacted well for quite some time? I see this going down a bad road.

QFT x 2

Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #18: April 28, 2008, 05:48:26 PM »
WTF is going on! Not too long ago someone wanted to dictate the format of this forum and now we have individuals trying to force other things on to this forum.

I tend to agree with this.

While I agree, mod rules might be nice to have, I don't think they are necessary or an item that takes the top of the action list.  The Mods on this board have been perfectly fine and just like any other poster, they can get passionate. We can't just put a hold on their opinions or emotions.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #19: April 28, 2008, 06:03:07 PM »
I have mixed feelings about having rules.  I have exercised moderator powers to edit or delete posts on a few occasions, and been accused of being on a "power trip" for doing what I thought was the right thing.  And inevitably, someone who has been subject to corrective action will complain that someone else got away with worse.  It would seem that everyone wants the other guy to be kept in the box, but to have absolute freedom for themselves.

Understandable, yes, but hardly a standard by which to moderate by.

Generally, I have erred to the side of letting things go through that I really hated to see on the forum - including gratuitious profanity or personal attacks.  If rules or standards are adopted a fair number of posters may find that they have their linguistic freedoms curtailed.


Offline 2k6nats

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #20: April 28, 2008, 06:22:47 PM »
I tend to err on the side of spidernat and NOTLD, although I really do think a comprehensive set of guidelines for posters on the forum wouldn't do any harm, and would eliminate any confusion as far as unacceptable posting behavior.

As for the issue of moderators specifically, I think this entire discussion altogether has been brought up because of one isolated incident that has been blown up to seem like flame wars between moderators and posters happen on a regular basis, and that the big, bad moderators threaten the innocent posters of WNFF because they have all the power.

My point is that even though the event that brought the subject being discussed has been totally blown out of proportion, the topic of "guidelines" for posters, and possibly moderators, isn't an unreasonable proposition at all.

Offline rich_nats

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #21: April 28, 2008, 07:59:18 PM »
While I agree, mod rules might be nice to have, I don't think they are necessary or an item that takes the top of the action list.  The Mods on this board have been perfectly fine and just like any other poster, they can get passionate. We can't just put a hold on their opinions or emotions just because one poster can't handle it.

NotLD, I believe incidents, like the ones recently, are bound to happen if there are no guidelines to govern peoples' behavior.  Even though I am not proud of what happened, not once did I think it was technically "crossing the line" because a moderator was behaving in the same manner and frankly, if he could do it, then I didn't think I would be in trouble.   

And now I think to myself, would I even have made it on another message board?  Probably not.  Better yet I likely wouldn't have pushed the envelope because there was a code in place.  Really all we have here is one person's judgment, and honestly it's not fair to just leave it up to him because he is judge/jury/executioner but without any rules to enforce. 

Regardless of your personal feelings about me, if the hope is to have this board grow and attract new members, then you are going to get people who want to feel like they aren't threatened when they post.  You will get people that want to feel comfortable reporting to moderators.  I freaked out the other night because I was having a flame war WITH a moderator and I didn't know what the hell I could do about it.  It's not like there was a clearly labeled process - how was I supposed to know I could appeal to a higher authority?

And the whole war of words instantly ended in my mind when a mod just came out and told it like it is, without including any personal observations or comments that could be misinterpreted as insults.  He just did his job and the board is all the better for it now.  He acted like a moderator should, IMO.   And really that's what I was hoping for all along - for a moderator to just do his job and rise above the personal BS.  Hopefully I see more of that in the future.   

Offline rich_nats

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #22: April 28, 2008, 08:48:40 PM »
We must remember, while we all want everyone to have and follow a rule of conduct, including moderators, that part of why this message forum is here, is because of the limitations set out on the Nationals main board, as well as an oasis against trolls. People joined this forum because it was troll free, that there were more allowances than over on the main board, that the atmosphere is more relaxed.

The issue is, while there is a desire for everyone to follow a rule of conduct, the "rule" is unwritten (at least to my knowledge).  And I totally get the point of the board and what its purpose is, however if there are no written rules, then the moderators are setting the example for what is and is not appropriate behavior.  During this whole controversy I really didn't think I was being anything more than annoying, since I didn't think I was doing any worse than the other poster.  If the mods want to get mixed up in a heated argument, that's their business, but they need to understand the consequences. 

Offline kimnat

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #23: April 28, 2008, 08:49:49 PM »

I feel the peace is being disturbed at the moment......you have to understand, I'm not thick-skinned. 

I understand being thin-skinned.  I've been that way too and often try to ask myself if I'm doing that when I get upset about something.  But one of things I'm learning as a parent is to choose my battles.  When I need to get my kids to bed, do I fight them on what they wear or whether they should brush their teeth?  I choose teeth.  In this case, is the battle about a flame war (which has been apologized all over about several times) really that big of a deal to keep resurrecting the argument several days later.  Some times you just have to move on and decide that it's just not worth it anymore.  That's part of maturing anyway.  It takes a while to do something like this and I still have to check myself on it.  So, I'm not trying to preach as I haven't arrived or attained perfection.  This is just a little tidbit you may want to think about.

Offline rich_nats

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Re: Moderator Guidelines
« Reply #24: April 28, 2008, 08:58:08 PM »
This is just a little tidbit you may want to think about.

I see where you are coming from - my perspective is that I had a concern, and it was treated so lightly to the point that I was invited to leave the board.  I've been posting here a while and I've never had a major concern with anyone or anything about the board.  But eventually it happened and I was disappointed with the outcome.