Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Lemex, Apr 12, 2012.
Seriously, it does. If only to help existing ones out.
Unfortunately, nobody's listening... except to delete such opinions.
Well, I sympathize, I just saw a very good forum self-destruct over this issue, and it was a darn shame.
I think we need a mod that understands the idea of "shore patrol." That is, his job is to let the good times roll, but with clearly defined up-front, and agreed upon standards.
Now, I like debates. I would let a mature, passionate debate run for pages--even on a topic I disliked. However the moment a sniveling whiner took a pot-shot at someone, the dork would be gone like he was spirited away by alien life forms.
All you would have to say to present an opposing viewpoint would be to say, "I disagree, my postulate/rebuttal follows."
I've seen five guys at a bookstore discuss works and having so much fun I both wished I read the book and was part of the discussion. I'd like to see that here.
I can honestly see this happening. The worst thing is, I don't think this opinion is in any way controversial. Like The Tourist, I think it would be a great shame to see this forum suffer for it. Personally I'd like to see a user like Link, or Maia as a moderator. They seem to be very level-headed members, and I can see them acting with tact and fairness.
Agree. Unfortunately, until the absentee owner makes an appearance, I don't see anything changing. At least not for the better.
I agree. I think this site could use at least two more mods. I know it's a smaller forum than others, but that way it would be more likely that a mod would be active at any given time throughout the day. If we could get a mod from the eastern hemisphere, that would be ideal.
why would the hemisphere be an issue?... it's not where a mod is from that makes a good one, but only the commitment brought to the job, a high level of intelligence and fairness, imo... all of which i've found both banzai and cogito to embody...
'needs a new moderator' seems to imply that the present ones aren't competent...
do you feel we need a new one because you think our current ones are not doing a good job, or just that there may be too much for them to cover without more help?
The second, I highly respect the effort Cog and Banzai put into this site; feel they could do with some help. On other forums I've been on there are up to 5 moderators, each handling different sections of the forum. Here there are two for the entire forum. It does seem like a pretty large job for two people, even with our help with the 'report' button.
I don't know Cog well but I know Banzai is very busy at the moment campaigning, and stepping into British politics as a labour candidate (I'm actually passively supporting him) so he does have a lot on his plate. Cog says he's taking a step back from this place, and I can respect that.
This is a global community; there are users from all over the world. Having mods in both eastern and western hemispheres doesn't matter other than the fact it helps locate mods with different schedules, allowing more for 24 hour moderating. That's my point.
With respect to 24 hour moderating, I'd say Southern vs Northern hemisphere would be more useful. So, since Banzai is in the UK (btw cool, good luck with the campaigning!) Cog is in the US, a mod from Australia or New Zealand might be better able to cover our night hours.
Btw, I agree, it would be nice to have more moderators, but most people are too busy to do that job which is probably why we have so few.
Personally being a strict constructionist, this topic isn't about what, where or who. It's about how and why.
If we are to be a growing association with polite discourse, then there is going to be a fabric of rules and restraint (the 'why' we need moderators) and then the owner/admin should decide on that application ('how').
One of the biggest impediments I see on this is culture. And trust me, I've seen this issue "rear its ugly rear" more times than I can count.
For the meantime, and to avoid open warfare, I've just started using the ignore feature. This not a sad thing or a mean thing, it's just a thing. If you do not like the food at a restaurant you stop going there. If you get beat up every time you go to a certain saloon you avoid the place for many reasons.
Ergo, if we have slack, inappropriate or inadequate moderation than you 'remove' the sourse(s) of the thing causing it.
But there's a downside. Several years ago the same thing happened on a firearms self-defense forum. Not only was the mod flaky, but the owner looked upon himself as a guru. Some of the members formed a "WCS" chain, decided it was time to move on, found a new place and all registered there and then left. Believe it or not, their owner/admin also registered, mainly because he could not believe he'd been rejected.
In truth, I started looking at new creative writing forums just a week after I registered here. I have to tell you, the infighting, the childish whining, the various 'camps' of pre-determined ideology, not to mention a cultural bent, baffled me about supposed writers who by definition should enjoy differing thoughts and be open-minded on topics.
Then I got mad at myself over the thought of being jerked around by pencil pushers.
Folks, a forum is not a soapbox for free speech, an owner has purchased a server. You want to whine, go join a teenage forum on video games. You want to snipe, go find another biker because I'm going to jerk you around ten times as bad. I don't care if you're a 'golden child,' because if you're more child than golden you get tossed into ignore.
And I suggest you do the same until. I came here to learn to write a story better. And until the owner/admin cleans up his own mess then this is necessary. When it reaches a tipping point, people who have already started to exchange e-mails and PMs will go somewhere else. If no one has contacted you, then trust me, you're part of the problem.
In any forum there'll be people who think rules don't apply to them, just like there'll be people deluded about them not being a part of the problem, whilst they clearly are the problem. Intimidating behaviour is always annoying, as is when someone tries to force their own values onto others, which is why political and most other kinds of debates are discouraged here. This forum can be awesome when people agree to disagree, but it becomes quickly a complete drag when someone takes it upon themselves to pontificate and blather on without looking in their own back yard first. Hence the usefulness of the ignore feature
Such is the situation on most forums, I believe, and it always takes a careful balance of enforcing the rules, educating members about good internet etiquette and decisive steps to remove the offending influences (such as temporary or permanent bans and infractions) to make these kinds of environments a pleasant place to be in.
Everyone can make a mistake, moderators and members alike, and as long as all is taken in good humour and as long as people don't behave as if "their s**it don't stink", things usually work out well. As someone pointed out, this is a free forum, whoever doesn't like this place is free to move elsewhere. Constructive critique is always a good thing, but judgemental criticising usually doesn't lead anywhere good.
In any case, for a busy forum such as this one, it would probably be just easier on any one moderator if there was a few more of them around. I don't know who to suggest, because most people are busy, but most senior members I know are reasonable and helpful so I would like to see a few of them in that position.
I don't quite agree with several points made in this thread.
It should be quality over quantity, for one thing. I don't think we need an army of mods.
Also I think there's such a thing as over-moderation. Some things (including humour or normal discussion) seem to be mistaken for antagonism at times here. That perhaps is a cultural thing.
Glad you agree. BTW, it works both ways, and I encourage my detractors to use it for me.
There are certainly hundreds of people who lurk here and hopefully will become members. I don't want to trip over vampire hunters, Katniss rip-offs, whiners, guys who live in their mom's basement and view aging akin to bigotry. They waste my time.
Think about it. If you find a guy who helps you with your work, or even proof-reads it for you, it's worth 'ignoring' twenty guys discussing their latest plot twist for a book "like Twilight."
(Here's an analogy. My vendor tells me he is B/O on arrowheads. Never happened before.)
The problem I have with that is that I enjoy most of the discussions that happen here. The areas where things tend to get volatile, I try to avoid like the plague (although every now and then I fall to temptation - and almost always regret it). I really don't want to leave, but I really would like to see some of the passive-aggressive actions change (like comments being deleted willy-nilly, which already occurred in this very discussion). The elephant in the living room is that someone is not treating the members like part of the community, but rather as part of their fiefdom. And that's not a healthy situation for a forum. So we either need other moderators to appeal these decisions to or the owner needs to take a more active role. As it is, legitimate questions or complaints go unanswered and thus, unresolved. And that means that people eventually leave, or just lurk here, not contributing. Neither is good for the community as a whole.
Nice little dig at me.
@Shadowwalker: I agree. I too have been here a long time and yet comments and threads being deleted without warning or reason is something I've only recently noticed happening, and it isn't fair.
Shadowwalker, you are one of the reasons I am here.
With the few exchanges we may have had, I surmise that we are quite different people. However, in our discussions (remember the "I Am Woman" fiasco) I found your opposing viewpoints insightful, and just a touch of wry humor.
There is no doubt that if you read my work you might do it as a service, then comment "not my style." That's alright. I've had a member read some of my work and get so hung up on the preface we never got to the story. This doesn't help.
I'm with you on passive-aggressive issues. I do not care for a great many people, and as a result people don't like me. Notice I lose no sleep. But that's not why I'm here. Somewhere in our membership is a guy with the skills I need and information that might turn the entire pursuit into a viable work. I'd like to find this member.
If I have to tick off a few dozen people and pack my ignore feature with so many bozos I use up my allotted storage space, sobeit.
My Aunt Clara told my dad about an old Sicilian expression that applies here. She said, "If a man lives his life correctly, his funeral should be packed. Half there to mourn, the other half to make sure he's dead."
This also applies to discussion hobbyist forums. However, my wife points out a fact, because she can't stomach passive-aggressive folks either. She tells me that my funeral already has enough "death verification" people, I should now turn my attention to securing the "mourning" people. Well, that's an opinion.
To the OP, we need mods with some spine. I want to sell my story, and I don't suffer fools, and I know where the ignore button resides.
Mods with more spine? I think the current ones/s do have healthy spines and certainly take action etc.
I agree with Shadowwalker also on one point: I like discussion (even watered down, as the site dictates.)
i hadn't thought of that... a very good point, imo!
As to the ignore button, I've never used one, here or on other forums. Mainly because I've found that, although people may disagree violently on some issues/discussion, on others they either agree or can meet each other halfway. If someone starts veering off into territory where I know I'm going to have apoplexy just reading it, I don't read it. But I often find myself looking for their comments in other areas, because no one is totally without value/insights.
Ok, I must ask you, what do you have against young men sitting in basements? It's a perfectly legitimate activity and I know a few of them and they are absolutely lovely people The thing is, sure, I just like any other shmuck who's been hanging on the internet, abhor the trolls. The annoying children without manners who flame discussions just for a laugh. But honestly, and I haven't been here for too long, just about 3 months, I haven't seen any actual trolling. Then, yes, I mirror the sentiment about threads regarding "perfectly original" ideas which just read as badly disguised Hunger Games or Twilight or whatever the flavour of the month happens to be. But in a place like this, it's a live and let live. So many times I feel like saying "oh come on! Who are you kidding?" but then I think, I have no right to crush anyone's dreams. Maybe and despite my reservations, they are writing the next international bestseller, and good for them. Sure, I know that people would probably benefit from an honest opinion, but I know for a fact that most people are more interested in validation then the truth, so I just leave it and ignore the topic. Like you said, it's worth being a part of a community if for no other reason then to meet like-minded people with whom we can freely discuss our ideas.
Shadowwalker, I totally echo your your words. I too always try to stay out of it and I too mess up on occasion. Also, I have been on a receiving end of the style of moderating you described and it is something I feel should be improved. As a new member I was made to feel distinctly uncomfortable and afraid to express any opinion, both due to being "punished" as well as for seeing people being banned whilst never being able to figure out why. I think infractions and bans are a serious blow to anyone's ego, and as such should be reserved for serious and repetitive breaches of rules, not used as warnings or expression of disagreement.
But recently I noticed that even though questions go unanswered, after a few complaints the modersating style becomes more chilled out and as long as there is a positive outcome, it's a good thing. But I agree that some effort should go into quality communication with the members over issues mods might have, and certainly I would like to be able to appeal decisions I feel are unnecessarily punitive. I am a grown up, I'm a pretty reasonable person, certainly not here to cause any trouble to anyone so when I get dissed and slapped on the wrist for as much as asking an honest question, well, it ticks me off.
For my part, if some think I lack a spine, while others think I'm heavy handed, it probably means I'm managing a reasonable balance. Of course, I've set aside my mod role, and only step in now when I feel I have to.
I can live with that.
Finding new moderators is not something to be handled lightly. We've had problems in the past with some of the choices. Others burned out.
When I see something as heavy-handed, I personally refer to actions taken without explanation or response, such as deleted comments/threads with no explanation and no response to pms/emails/whatever. If there were to be an explanation (and that explanation referred to stated rules of the forum being broken), I don't think I could consider it heavy-handed. For me, it's a matter of fairness - if someone breaks the rules, intentionally or otherwise, they should be informed of that, not just slapped down and left wondering why.
Daniel is actively looking for a new moderator(s) then?
Moderating, and looking for prospective moderators, is not rocket science, yet since he is not around much, admit me to suggest a few names who would surely do a grand job, of being warm, welcoming, fair in their judgements and responsive to others (in no particular order): Ed, Mallory, Dante, Minstrel, SW, Thirdwind, Funkybass, Islander, LordK, Eunoia
(Members not named need take no offence: you are simply too cool for school).
Sure, some would not care for the role and others would be too busy but those things wouldn't apply to all.
Sure, Cogito, you might be right about that. But then again, your actions might just be a bit hit and miss sometimes. Nobody's perfect. I understand how you can live with your actions quite well, after all you do what you think is right, but I think you should try and hear out some of the criticisms too. I have said this before, I felt really uncomfortable when I first joined because of random, and in my opinion at times quite unfair slaps on the wrist when I was not even looking for trouble. I am not saying I was necessarily right either, but I think it is no way to treat members like naughty school children. I, like many members here, am a grown person, reasonable, professional, I am not a troll, I am not disruptive or deliberately antagonistic to anyone and I didn't appreciate being treated like I was a troublemaker.
I've been around for a while now and I learned to navigate these obstacles, but it all leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Mods should be people to turn to for help, not people to fear. Just my 2 cents.
Separate names with a comma.