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Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: rogerd

Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

Stealth Moderators

 3:04 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

From a post by grelmar in [webmasterworld.com...]

If the board gets busy, don't hesitate to ask for volunteer moderators. You will most likely find that your best participants, the quality people who post frequently, and thoughtfully, are going to be the one's most likely to volunteer.

I am an old time regular contributor to a busy board, which is a small part of a much larger site. Hence the webmaster does not really have much time to act as moderator. The solution she found is ingenious: she has asked (by personal emails) several people to each help her moderate one forum. She is still the only moderator, all we do is notify her of problem postings which she then deals with. None of the posters knows that there is are deputy moderators, and none of us knows the identities of the other deputies.

The webmaster gets notification of dubious posts, and we are not publicly labelled as moderators, so can continue to be "normal" citizens of the community.

The potential downside, for some, may be lack of recognition. I certainly do not need it, and much prefer being shielded from the occasional flame about editorial decisions.



 5:12 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like that system. Becoming a moderator has changed my posting habits on one board in particular, because when people see the word "moderator" beside your alias, what you say suddenly carries a lot more weight.

This means I have to be much more careful about what I say, and sometimes that can be difficult.

One other downside to the "stealth moderator" system is that being a moderator grants certain admin privileges, and you can quickly take care of the obvious spam posts and whatnot, taking pressure off from the board admin, and gives faster response time to directed attacks.


 5:54 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've found that on some forums this occurs organically - some regulars become "spotters" and send an alert when they see a questionable post. All it takes is a friendly "thank you" and they keep doing it unprompted.


 8:16 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've had a real downer of a "downside" happen to me.... I was in the same situation as Mohammed_E, asked "off the cuff" to keep tabs in my time zone because the board admin lived in the other hemisphere on the other side of the world.

I still don't know what happened, but somehow at least one of the long time posters (and frequent worst offenders!) found out about my "stealth" position, and notified all of hisser/their close friends on not only that board but others that we all frequented as a "group" in a way (due to the subject matter).

I became persona non grata immediately. Flames, denigration, you name it. My accounts on the other boards were deleted.

I was a really nasty experience. I wouldn't ever do it again.


 8:26 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting observation, Roger, that is how it started in my case. The difference is that I (and others) only notified the webmaster of the worst posts; now I regularly point out to her posts that probably belong in another forum.


 8:30 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still don't know what happened, but somehow at least one of the long time posters (and frequent worst offenders!) found out about my "stealth" position ...

I believe that this can only have hapenned if either you or the real moderator told someone, who told someone, who told someone ...

There is only one way to keep secrets: don't tell anyone.


 10:02 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Inadvertent disclosure is possible, too, if a busy mod chose to forward a quote from an e-mail or private message and accidentally left the original reporter's info in it. I guess if you are going to be a mod or even a volunteer helper, you have to be prepared to take the heat that goes with it. It's too bad that there were reprisals in your case, vkaryl - you didn't set the board rules, nor did you choose to violate them.


 10:12 pm on Aug 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, it was an eye-opening experience - and I can guarantee you I didn't tell anyone, though I still hate to think that my friend did even inadvertently! Now I just tend to do the "quiet mail" version, where I'll let a mod know a bogie has posted, or a post is being ignored because in a wrong forum, where if it were moved to the appropriate venue it might get a lot of deserved attention.

I even do that here on occasion.

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