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Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: rogerd

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This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 47 ( 1 [2]     
When moderators go bad.
andyll




msg:3319730
 8:28 am on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

What the heck do you do when a long time moderator (and unfortunately a friend) becomes more harmful to your forums then helpful.

This person spent hours on our small forum and replied to every post… eventually took over a forum on the boards that was a little outside the main topic but which had the most activity.

The forum blew up. Bad enough that people were bad mouthing the moderator (and forums) elsewhere.

Final straw was a PM to a member telling them they were going to be banned ( my moderators do not have permission to do that) then ½ hour later posts publicly to that member that she had no issues with her.

I reacted poorly. (but privately)

Moderator gone… friendship gone… members leaving… maybe other moderators leaving.

A tribute thread is going on about this person leaving.

The problem is that moderators tend to be long time popular members.

When there is a break up how do you keep the forum from splitting into fractions?

All I’ve done so far is publicly say she was leaving and that all the issues in the forum gone bad were my responsibility.

I’ve refused to go into specifics with anyone… including the other moderators.

I’ve taken over personal moderation of the hurting forum.

I’ve stayed out of the ‘tribute’ thread.

Anything else I can do?

I assume this typically happens and strong forums survive.

Andy

 

hotelmarketing




msg:3335090
 5:57 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

there is always legal recourse. This lawsuit imo got out of hand but it the first I am aware of a site suing a forum member -

[freeadvice.com...]

netmeg




msg:3335107
 6:09 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I started participating on three of the very first conferencing systems in the country in 1984; at different points I was "promoted" to various levels of administration, finally being among the very few granted root access. There were always all kinds of people bucking for promotions to the system - be it fairwitness to a conference, or conference administrator, user administrator, or root itself - one of the things I learned early on was NEVER to give that kind of power to anyone who asked for it or even hinted they wanted it. They almost invariably wanted it for the wrong reasons. It sounds weird to say, but that kind of thing is better being thrust upon someone who doesn't really want it. If I were appointing moderators to a forum, I would probably apply some of the same logic.

rogerd




msg:3335121
 6:20 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not anointing those who step forward isn't a bad approach, as often they are on some kind of power trip. I'd make exceptions, though, for members who have an extensive posting history and have demonstrated mature behavior and have been continuously friendly and helpful.

The power-trip types will almost always end up engaging in argumentative discussions when other, obviously less brilliant or less well-unformed, members take a different position. These are the last people you want as mods, as they will then have the weaponry to win every argument.

DamonHD




msg:3335134
 6:34 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

...yep, and seem to believe that none of the 'stupid' participants can tell what they're up to! (Or at least, it doesn't matter if they can tell, since they're less important and wise, and their opinion is not valuable...)

[edited by: DamonHD at 6:34 pm (utc) on May 9, 2007]

Leva




msg:3335237
 8:18 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yannow, for medium to large forums, it almost sounds as if it would be worthwhile to have paid, professional moderators who work discretely behind the scenes and, perhaps, are bound to a code of ethics that would include not engaging in personal conversation with the forum members.

Does anyone offer this sort of service?

rogerd




msg:3335269
 8:54 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Personal conversation with members is a key part of effective moderation. Helping members understand what expectations are, or why a post was edited, and doing so in a way that's friendly and helpful, is important.

Moderators lead by example, too - they should be representative of the best characteristics of members - friendly, helpful, never condescending, etc. If they are high volume posters, they are setting the example in a visible and pervasive way.

DamonHD




msg:3335330
 10:15 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

...but big problems arise when mods take sides, from personal or commercial motivation.

For example, the 'speaker' or equivalent in a legislature is meant to be disinterested like a judge, to make sure that the right thing happens without them using their super powers to nobble the side that they don't 'like'.

Mods are given extra powers, and should work strenuously to avoid having to use them at all. Whenever I have management responsibilities I work very hard to pursade people to do the right thing BEFORE I have to force them to do it, for all sorts of reasons... Having to 'force' something is a failure. And I certainly would not make partisan use of my authority to skew an argument in an underhand way; honesty and transparency is a much better policy.

Rgds

Damon

eelixduppy




msg:3335339
 10:26 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> Mods are given extra powers, and should work strenuously to avoid having to use them at all.

This is pretty much the reason for personal conversation. Maybe 'conversation' suggests something else. As Roger said, letting a member know why mod/admin action was taken greatly reduces the chance that they will do the same thing again. Sometimes the "general rules" or "terms of service" aren't fully understandable by everyone. In this case, a friendly message is definitely the way to prevent further violations from that user. Plus, do you really think mods like using their "powers"? ;)

DamonHD




msg:3335372
 11:22 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Some seem to.

Quadrille




msg:3335387
 11:59 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Aw, c'mon; I've only had one threatening sticky from a mod - I've had lots from ordinary members :)

andyll




msg:3335592
 7:00 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well… after 5 days of vacation there were no problems. Disabling new logins and deactivating the 10-15 new users that signed up around the trouble dates who had never returned probably helped.

It has moved to nasty emails outside the forum. It seems we have been accused (3rd hand) of sending threatening emails to the former moderator. I’m not having any of it. I’ve come to the decision that there will be no more discussion of/to these people even in private.

Moderators lead by example, too - they should be representative of the best characteristics of members - friendly, helpful, never condescending, etc. If they are high volume posters, they are setting the example in a visible and pervasive way.

This was the most disappointing facet of this whole mess. Several of my moderators did not take the high road with the members. It was obvious they had formed little cliques and took sides against less popular members. It felt like I was in high school again.

So not only did I do a poor job in selecting moderators… I did a poor job in managing and setting expectations for them.

In the future the expectations will be set BEFORE they become moderators.

Andy

Robin_reala




msg:3335720
 10:26 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not anointing those who step forward isn't a bad approach, as often they are on some kind of power trip.

Interesting you should say that rogerd, as the WebmasterWorld mods handbook [webmasterworld.com] says:

Requirements for becoming a moderator: An interest in becoming a moderator. Generally, we request that moderators seek the position.

Maybe a revision is in order? :)

DamonHD




msg:3335724
 10:30 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey, we have spies/mods amongst us!

B^>

rogerd




msg:3335935
 2:29 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>Maybe a revision is in order?

I should clarify that I'm speaking for myself, not WebmasterWorld. :)

As noted in the earlier post, a volunteer with a long and voluminous history of positive interactions with other members (and without danger signals like many argumentative posts) is fine. The ones that are usually likely problem mods are the ones who have been around just a few months and aggressively pursue the position.

Aircut




msg:3338910
 2:42 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

hey, start a bunch of interesting new threads and lock discussions about the old moderator leaving. you must roll the ball and fast.

Helpinghand




msg:3339202
 2:52 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

lock discussions about the old moderator leaving

Why are you tempting fate by keeping this thread viewable.

Wouldn't this restart conflict?

Quadrille




msg:3339246
 3:31 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I totally agree with HH; much better to move all suspect threads into the 'staff room' - or even a 'admin only' section (preferably invisible to all except admin), just so you keep the 'evidence'.

Your loyalty has to be towards the 'good' members, 'good' mods, and the future of your forum; put it all behind you ASAP.

Don't leave any ammunition lying about in plain sight.

[added:] If you do not have 'private' options, then best to download a copy for your records, and delete the thread.

[edited by: Quadrille at 3:46 pm (utc) on May 14, 2007]

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