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

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 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

 

King_Fisher

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 8:32 am on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

You have done everything you could!

This too shall pass!

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 9:05 pm on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

It sounds like you've done what you could. Staying on the high road is by far the best course. It's always tough when an influential member or mod leaves or is told to leave, but people DO get over it. You might privately fill in key mods on what the problem was if they can't figure it out for themselves, but I'd be cautious in what you say since it might get back to the dropped mod.

Be prepared for a campaign by PM or email to complain to other members about your hurtful and unjustified actions. ;) Not much you can do about it, other than staying calm and emphasizing the forum's expectations and TOS.

andyll

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 6:17 am on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well... I expected growing pains but was blindsided by the fact that the issues came from the moderators.

What I’ve learned from this experience:

1)Never reward a member with a moderation spot just because they have been an active/long time poster. Find other ways to reward good members.

2)Look for warning signs that they might not be a good moderator. Do they get snippy or argue with other members? Are they very opinionated? Do they have an even temper? Have they been ‘know it all’ posters?

3)Avoid mixing moderators and friendship. When things go bad it’s hard to separate the two.

4)Make sure you have written rules on what the moderator job is and how they are expected to act and make sure the see them BEFORE you make them a moderator.

5)Chose a moderator as if you were hiring an employee. Will they represent you well both on and off the forums.

6)Remove moderators quickly if they are losing a forum.

Andy

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 3:09 pm on Apr 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's excellent advice, andyll. The golden rule in picking moderators is choosing helpful, friendly people. Personality is much more important than topical expertise.

Picking high-volume posters for mods isn't the best approach, but I think it's good to pick mods with both a long history of posting as well as a reasonable volume of posts. Both are indicators of long-term interest in the community.

MThiessen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 11:01 am on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sounds like you are doing all you can, and I commend you on a job well done!

I have not had this issue in all the years I ran forums, but always dreaded the possiblity of it.

Being careful, super careful of who you make a moderator is the key.

King_Fisher

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 4:41 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Always remember,

" Power corrupts...

and absolute power, corrupts absolutely"

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 4:50 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Moderators who are immoderate and partial are very destructive, damaging users' trust.

You can lose a lot of core/good members when even one mod gets rude/patronising/personal or is clearly editing in a partial or biased way!

Rgds

Damon

andyll

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 11:14 pm on Apr 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

You can lose a lot of core/good members when even one mod gets rude/patronising/personal or is clearly editing in a partial or biased way!

No doubt. The mistakes I made are so obvious now I don’t understand how I missed it.

The individual forum was on a related but distinct topic from the main boards. It attracted a more ‘fan’ type of crowd. I didn’t particularly care for it but it was very active and I thought an active forum would help some future plans I had for the website it was connected to. So I was content to stay out of it.

Wow… she turned it into her own little fiefdom. Cliquish, opinionated, manipulative, never wrong. Took arguments with the people she didn’t like onto other forums. Started running the forum as if she owned it. Started disciplining members, interpreting board policy as she wanted, making her own policy… I think many members that didn’t venture into other areas of the boards thought she owned them.

On the other hand very knowledgeable about the main focus of the boards and extremely helpful to all.

Well… it’s settle down quite a bit. A ton of new members are visiting and participating in the forum which I thought was interesting.

A few of her groupies are hanging around making snide remarks directed towards me but in general the forum quickly is heading in a more positive direction.

Andy

motorhaven

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 1:04 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Make a post explaining what happened and remove the "tribute" thread. Don't give the "I'll show my ass on the way out the door threads" any power on your forums. They discredit your site, and no single user should be more powerful than your forum as a whole.

MThiessen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 7:07 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cliquish, opinionated, manipulative, never wrong. Took arguments with the people she didn’t like onto other forums.

ROFLMAO sounds like what my wife would be if she was a tad more computer literate... Unfortunately I am the sole recipient of her unending wisdom... [/sarcasm]

Helpinghand



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 4:07 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Moderators aren't friends - they are working for you, and are the same as employees. Mods can be very useful or utterly devious and controlling and in some cases plain vindictive and if that is the case they aren't the ones for a successful forum.

I own a forum, and haven't begun recruiting Moderators, as I'm unsure they can be trusted to be totally loyal and not upset members because they want to be God basically.

And you can't have that domineering attitude, it sets a bad example for members and potential members - it also lowers the overall image of the forum.

Not good.

Helpinghand



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 4:35 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

no single user should be more powerful than your forum as a whole.

But they do exist on every forum, so how can you possibly avoid it. I got them on mine and it's a nightmare to control em.

Booting them won't help, as they just sign up as a new member. All I can do is to revoke moderator status and keep deleting members etc.

andyll

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 5:09 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks all for the advice. Long week last week but I think its over.

The former mod and about 4 of her friends would come over to the forums and make coy little remarks directed at me and bumping up the tribute thread. Most likely no one but my wife saw what was going on. I found a forum they had created and we’d see them gather there then come over to ours and post. Pretty childish…

The reason I let it go on for a week was that another moderator was having trouble accepting what I did. After a week of her saying she wasn’t sure she could continue moderating and then saying she needed time finally said we needed an answer (Thursday) and when we didn’t hear Friday we removed her.

I then banned all 5 of the trouble makers at once. I hid all the threads (I don’t delete anything) relating to it and put in one generic closed topic saying several long time members were gone and there wasn’t going to be public discussion about it.

A couple of them already had other accounts ready so it was a busy night.

The upshot and reaction for the forum to this? One big yawn.

Got the typical why did I get banned… I’m gonna sue emails but on the boards basically life as usual.

Andy

Helpinghand



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 5:24 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wouldn't it be easier to just delete all reference to the fighting, and that will end it. You already deleted the troublemakers, so unless they re-join, not much more they can do.

I've found it's a lot more work for them to keep joining up, than it's for me to hit a button and zap them. Ok, I may lose a potential member, but better than allowing insults that give the wrong impression.

Before you know it you will be infested with spam/fighting posts galore, so better to delete users and keep a forum clean.

DWarp9

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 8:16 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I remember reading a not completely unrelated topic earlier here on WW, though I do not recall the title/link.
The discussion was regarding how to handle disruptive forum members, and actually ended up having some pretty interesting plans (forgive me if I am being trivial, the ideas seemed novel to me, and I haven't yet tried to implement them).

The idea was never to let the banned user know he/she had been banned by making his/her posts invisible to regular user, but visible to banned users. That seemed pretty easy to implement to me, and also pretty effective. Of course, the bluff would be called if he/she had contact with other users, asking why no-one would answer his/her posts.
Another trick was to fake connection problems, slowing load speed etc.

As far as i recall, both of the above mentioned was available as plug-ins for major forum software.
Please forgive my lack of documentation, hopefully someone has the reference. It was quite an interesting thread.

-Peter

Helpinghand



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 9:15 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hide posts? Sounds like a custom-built forum feature, as not all forum software allows that.

Hiding posts and no replies may frustrate a forum spammer, but you still have the problem of some idiot's posts in your forum.

Deleting is the best method, as it forces the spammers to waste time signing up. They think they won't be spotted or caught, but simply posting gives up their IP address, which can be recorded for easy identification of bullies, spammers etc. And to spam - they must make posts to peddle their stuff!

Then you have them he

[edited by: Helpinghand at 9:16 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]

netchicken1

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 10:48 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Get rid of that trubute thread.

By default don't allow "goodbye " threads, as they end up as bitching sessions, or can be twisted as such.

Lock the thread with a note that board bashing isn't suitable.

Helpinghand



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 11:27 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Keeping such threads alive could re-ignite the conflict and kind of condone the fighting in the first place.

Disconnect your self and others from this and remove the entire thread. Out of sight - out of mind, ofcourse I doubt this will totally stop insults as the only true way is to delete users, but it will help a lot.

[edited by: Helpinghand at 11:32 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]

andyll

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 2:12 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

All signs of the issues went away and things calmed down. Allowing people to talk about it just gave the trouble makers a forum (pun intended) a method to keep it alive.

I'll be quicker to get rid of trouble makers without discussion (public at least) in the future. They don't really want to listen to reason or they won't be causing problems in the 1st place.

I remember reading a not completely unrelated topic earlier here on WW, though I do not recall the title/link.
The discussion was regarding how to handle disruptive forum members, and actually ended up having some pretty interesting plans (forgive me if I am being trivial, the ideas seemed novel to me, and I haven't yet tried to implement them).

I’ll try to look it up. I was thinking of starting another thread on how to handle irritating members. The type that fee the need to go through several times a day and reply to every post. They are friendly enough and maybe even helpful but they turn what should be informational forums into a chat room.

Andy

Helpinghand



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 2:27 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't worry about a forum becoming a chat room, as ALL forums are a mixture of chat and information. Can't be too selective with members or they will go elsewhere.

A post where people are enjoying themselves is good for a forum and should be encouraged.

Quadrille

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 11:52 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Years ago, I used to manage discos. I paid twice the going rate for the best (and most intelligent) bouncers around. They stopped trouble before it got inside.

Same rules work with forums; delete trouble as quickly as you'd delete spam; ban members who cause trouble.

There are a few topics/boards where active debate is what its all about; fine - but most forums simply don't need it. It scares other members - and worse, it puts off lurkers who would otherwise have joined.

Anyone who rejoins should banned instantly on principle; once banned, they only get in via you.

If you can create private boards "staff room" etc., that's good - you can move bad threads there, so all the mods can see what's happening.

Never reply to snotty emails from exmembers.

And finally; mods are great, you need them - but you MUST remain 'In Charge'; it isn't a democracy, it's your forum. For example, while you may put new mods up for discussion, it's your decision. Always.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 1:02 am on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Cliquish, opinionated, manipulative, never wrong. Took arguments with the people she didn’t like onto other forums.

If such a person behaved in a team like this, they would have to leave.

Unfortunately, they appear to have used your forums for their own competitive or selfish purposes and you would have a case to bring against them for damages based on using your business for their benefit.

I'm not sure you would want to do this, but i just say it. Pesonally, I would have a gentle word with this former moderator, ask her to withdraw from public comment and if there is resistance say that you will need to have the matter clarified through a lawyer's letter. [ Just my way of doing things ]. If it is business, whilst remaining decent at all times, friendship shouldn't come into it. They are seperate.

All things work better when there's good dialogue, consideration and understanding between you .... so good luck on this.

In a strong company, stakeholders appoint a board who in turn appoint a President / CEO and assist that person to appoint senior executives in specific roles.

The operation must work as a team, to a common objective along stated governance [ rules ] with good and respectful communication.

Translate this to how you would run your forums.

[edited by: Whitey at 1:08 am (utc) on May 2, 2007]

[edited by: rogerd at 2:39 pm (utc) on May 2, 2007]
[edit reason] no specifics or URLs, please [/edit]

andyll

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 7:56 am on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

And finally; mods are great, you need them - but you MUST remain 'In Charge'; it isn't a democracy, it's your forum. For example, while you may put new mods up for discussion, it's your decision. Always.

Our moderators seem to have a hard time understanding that for some reason. I ask their opinions but I'm very upfront that when it comes to the grey areas I make the decision... right or wrong.

In any case... everyone knows my wife and I are gone for 4 nights this weekend.... one of the gang let us know they have duplicate accounts and plan to do something.

Children... I of course will be signing on several times a day and they'll just turn the board more against them.

Whitey - Thanks for the encouragement and I hope lawyers don't get involved. College students don't have money. If it doesn't end soon I'll go to the schools about the abuse of their connection and if I can get their addresses write a letter to their parents.

Andy

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 12:47 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

If it doesn't end soon I'll go to the schools about the abuse of their connection and if I can get their addresses write a letter to their parents

I didn't appreciate it was for students - it sounds like you have a good approach to the whole thing and a lesson well learned.

Anyhow - maybe the tip would be more handy for others than in your case - good luck with sorting it out.

MThiessen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 2:10 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

The idea was never to let the banned user know he/she had been banned by making his/her posts invisible to regular user, but visible to banned users. That seemed pretty easy to implement to me, and also pretty effective.

LOL that is a feature in vbulletin. Not had a chance to use it yet but seems like a pretty sweet idea!

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 2:38 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Users with multiple IDs will spot the "Coventry" treatment quickly, but I've seen problematic members blather on for weeks, never realizing that absolutely nobody is seeing or responding to their drivel. Very satisfying. :)

Quadrille

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 3:59 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Enjoy your weekend and don't think about it; if you can turn off new members for that time, I'd do so (having had that promise); else clean up the mess on Monday.

It won't kill your site; regular folk know you have to have the occasional break.

Just put a new (locked) thread on Monday apologising for the disruption, and promising normal service has been resumed.

Asia_Expat

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 4:26 am on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

In my inexperience years ago I unwisely chose some mods. Most of my mods are superb, intelligent and very experienced in my niche.
I can't remember how it started but a couple of mods went on a rampage, trying to discredit me, simply because I questioned their actions. In response, I fired all the mods and invited them to re-apply... The smart, rational ones realised what I was doing and re-applied. The irrational idiots who I wanted gone did not reapply and went mad. Good riddance to them.
I deleted all trouble threads that resulted, enforced the forum rules etc.

Net result is I got the best mods who really want to be a part of my community and respect what I am trying to achieve.

As far as members are concerned, no warnings are given. trouble is banned in the first instance and without mercy. If that means your forum takes a while longer to reach critical mass, then so be it... better to grow slowly than to end up with a forum full of sh##t in every thread... nobody wants to read that and nobody will register unless your threads are chock full of useful discussion in your niche.

Ignore rude and abusive emails. Stick to your plan. Show appreciation to quality members and loyal mods... screw everyone else. Your forum is not a democracy so make it what YOU want it to be. Make it a meritocracy.

[edited by: Asia_Expat at 4:28 am (utc) on May 6, 2007]

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3319728 posted 5:39 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whew, I saw this thread on the home page and thought it might have been about me.

;)

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: 47 ( [1] 2 > >
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