Though this is really being posted for future reference and as a reminder to myself of my own accountability, members are absolutely free to comment. I invite it.
The recent need to remove a member from the writingforums.org community gave me pause to think about the fact that everyone sees a forum differently. Everyone has their own reason for seeking such a venue, the use they wish to give to it, the input they wish to provide, the output they hope to gain and the mode of interaction in which they intend to engage.
In the same manner, mods don't all mod the same way. There are power hungry mods, mother-hen mods, absentee mods, all kinds of mods.
I am (or try to be) an Accountant Mod. I try to boil it down to math as best I can. My hope is that in doing so, I neither show favoritism nor undue prejudice, given that I too am just a person, like everyone else. Fallible.
I think of the forum as an investment portfolio. All of the members, myself included, are individual investments. Since we do not pick our membership, but instead it picks us, it is to be considered a high risk portfolio. Anyone who knows investments knows that a high risk portfolio carries the greatest risk of loss, but also the greatest chance for high yield or ROI (Return On Investment).
The investments fall into a few categories:
That's why it's not always so cut and dry for mods. We have to balance a person's right to express their opinion with how much of a dick they make of themselves in the expression of that opinion. We have to balance how much value a person brings with how much kerfuffle they cause. We have to balance the fact that some people are preciously sensitive hothouse flowers and others are weatherbeaten merchant marines who eat wood and shit charcoal. We have to balance the fact that some people know only how to speak in Snark and others don't grok its keen edge at all. We have to take into account that some people just want to feel out where the boundaries are and some people just want to poke at that boundary for enjoyment's sake.
- The huge, vast majority of the forum members are all cost-free. They come to the forum, they use it for its purpose and they cost nothing at all to maintain. Nothing. They don't even know who the mods are because they genuinely have no reason to.
- There are some few members, who are cost-free, the return on whom is an embarrassment of riches. Would that I could clone them!
- There are some few members who do have an appreciable cost, but their return is still greater, their ROI is in the green, so they still represent good investments.
- There are some members who cost more than they return. Even when the return is high, or very high, if the cost is greater, if the ROI is in the red, the investment represents a loss.
- And there are some very few members who only represent cost and have no return at all. Trolls, spambots, blog-spammers, etc.
I take all those things into account.
And if you ever wonder why we don't immediately silence conversation concerning someone who was just banned (which some find inappropriate), imagine that the ban was unfair (we're human, we have our moments of passion) and it was you who had been banned. Would you not want others to be able to argue for your reprieve? And lets say the ban was fair, but still questionable, would you not want the right to call for some accountability or explanation as a remaining member? Would you really want a situation where bannings were un-talk-about-able, unquestionable, taboo territory?
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