Discussing moderation and forum behaviour

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Discussing moderation and forum behaviour

Postby walkinTas » Wed 09 May, 2012 3:26 pm

    Rule 25: Specific moderation actions that have been taken should not be discussed in public forums, but should be taken up with moderators or administrators in private. Discussion of moderation in general is OK, but should be restricted to the "Forum and Site" forum.

The last bit of that rule says it is "OK" to chat about moderation - in a general sense - and the place to do that is here, in the 'Forum & Site' board.

So, here you go, here is a topic talking about moderation. :wink:

A working definition of moderation might be that it is about "working within the rules and boundaries, keeping things within reasonable limits, avoiding the excessive or the extreme". One point I would make about this definition is that moderation is not just the responsibility of a few "volunteer" moderators. IMHO, "avoiding the excessive and extreme", staying "within reasonable limits" is the responsibility of all forum members.

Most of the work by the moderation team is done behind the scenes and members never sees it (to state the bleeding obvious). Its done to keep the forum working and free from spam and other undesirable input.

The bits of moderation that are visible are two fold:
  • Firstly house keeping to keep the place tidy and useful. This is the bit where topics are locked, moved, copied etc. just too keep them in the correct forum or to allow conversations to split and evolve, or to help avoid the OP being sidetracked, or to bring conversations together, or just to close old topics/ads etc. This is mostly at the discretion of the moderator, but includes request from members.
  • The second bit is rule enforcement. The bit where the moderation team ensures that the rules are followed and enforced.
Both bits of moderation require objective judgement and, therefore, are open to interpretation. That's where the discussion comes in. Interpretation leaves room for opinion, which gives rise to discussion - but this is a forum, so now I'm just preaching to the choir. You all know about opinion leading to discussion. :lol:

One goal in moderation is to keep it as unobtrusive as is practicable. We use little mod: comments, in blue to politely let members know that we have moderated (changed something) or sometimes as a gentle, general reminder, but outside that we use PM messages so that moderation doesn't consume board space and become a major distraction. Nothing worse than visiting forums where every other post is a long moderation discourse. (Talking of long discourses - are you still awake? :P )

Everyone can get involved in forum moderation:
  1. If you are concerned about anything, then bring it to the attention of the Moderation Team:
    • Use the report feature (see below).
    • Use PM.
    • Email the board Admin if you aren't able to use PM or Report. Quoting the post URL in your email will be a big help.
  2. Start a topic in this board if you wish to discuss a rule or an approach to moderation (not a specific moderation incident).
  3. Use PM to discuss a specific moderation incident and seek additional information or clarification.

Moderators are forum members who are out to enjoy the community discussion just like everyone else. They are not here to just "police" or to "umpire" the forum catching every incident or every indiscretion. So it is not "OK" to post something on the forum with the expectation that moderators will/should correct it if it is not within the rules and guidelines, or move it if its in the wrong spot. Its the members responsibility to correct it before it is posted. Yes, moderators should be vigilant, they should keep and eye on things, and, yes, they have the ability to make adjustments and act if needs be, but they don't read every post or troll the forum looking for every discrepancy. As you now know, moderators don't read everything, nor, IMO, should there ever be an expectation they will.

Clearly, (I hope) just because a forum member is a member of the moderation team, that does not mean that every post they make is a moderation. Most posts by team members, including a post like this one, are just personal opinion, as indeed are posts by any other forum member. One reason we use little mod: comments, in blue is to distinguish specific incidence of moderation.

If you have any questions about moderation you should feel free to discuss them, here, or in your own topics on the 'Forum & Site' board. It is not a taboo subject. Rule 25 does not mean we can't talk about moderation. We can and we should. :D If you see anything that you think the moderation team has missed, then please use the Report Feature to bring it to our attention. :)
walkinTas
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Re: Discussing moderation and forum behaviour

Postby walkinTas » Sun 13 May, 2012 12:37 am

A bit more about the Report Feature:

There are a number of posts in the forums that include messages like:
  • "Im hoping one of the mods or admins will ...."
  • "... maybe we could ask one of the ...mods to ..."
  • "...the mods might think about adding..."
  • etc
The fact is that most of these go unnoticed. I only found these three by doing a search, and it is the first time I've seen any of them. Perhaps some folk think the moderation team read every single post. :wink: Well, the truth is we don't. :shock: Well, maybe as a team we go close, but individually, we definitely don't - we don't even try too. 8)

The quickest, easiest, fastest, most certain way to bring something to the attention of the moderation team is to use the Report Feature. Let me show you why, please!

You click here:

reporttool1.jpg


And submit a report
reporttool2.jpg


That bit you can see. The bit you don't see is how a report is noticed by the moderation team. :)

What the moderation team see is this:
reporttool3.jpg


For a Moderator, the reported topic is highlighted in red in all listings. Moderators can't miss it.

Plus there is the report itself, which appears in the Moderators Control Panel. This makes it very, very obvious. A report will never be missed because it won't go away until one of the moderators closes it. And, if you said 'Yes' to "Notify Me', you'll get and email when its closed, so you will know it has been/is being looked at.
If a post is already reported, you will see this -
reportalready.jpg


You've got to admit, this is much better than a comment somewhere in a post, that may or may not be noticed. :wink:

If you wish to make a request for something, like a new feature or an addition or a change to part of the forum, it is probably best to post a topic here on the "Forum & Site" board. These topics are always read by the moderation team and your post will allow the request to be discussed openly with other members. And if you'd prefer to keep it private, use PM.
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walkinTas
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