Tuesday, 24 August 2010

WHAT MAKES A GOOD MODERATOR?

In preparation for a revival of the Redi Forum (Redi3?) I have distilled some of the accumulated knowledge from the internet, and added some of my own

A good forum moderator needs to be calm and needs to be able to stand an arguement without becoming heated.

They need to have a good amount of common sense and they need to be able to handle having harsh words tossed at them.

They cannot go easy on any one member and they must treat all members fairly.

They need to understand their position and not take advantage of it or abuse their powers.
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Im my opinion a good mod is like a good umpire.Never leave the game having the players and fans talking more about the umpire than the game

.and if I ever have to delete or censor a post, I always state why so the poster in question knows exactly what the infraction is so that if the poster in question cares to know, and is the sort of poster that made an honest mistake, he or she knows what behavior not to repeat

Someone that doesn't abuse the power that they have.



a good mod is usually factually correct, but a GREAT mod has the humility to admit when he's not

If someone violates your rules or guidelines, there are several options at your disposal. It's important to give a sense of due process by starting with the lightest sanction you feel comfortable with, and if necessary, to escalate methodically. Here are some approaches, as used on The WELL in our software environment, in increasing order of severity. Note that this process is not required in a "moderated" environment where hosts must affirmatively approve all material before it is posted.


And also constantly upgrading your forum and adding new stuff to make your forum more interesting.

Be consistent in how you enforce the rules.

Hopefully this time all the power will NOT be in the hands of Officers, but they will have a Councillor-Moderator as a" judge of last resort"

What about the very early idea of "Community" Moderators- i.e some of the posters to do
service as Moderators, which may open our eyes as to the difficulty of the job (or ease)

17 comments:

  1. Dopeyf - you have detailed the ideal; however, we're up against Redbridge! Let's hope they at least take to heart your content, and that Ian can persuade them to start a GENUINE dialogue with (wouldbe) users before embarking on the wroing tracks for Redi3.

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  2. A good moderator is one that doesn't have to - too often! This depends upon the members behaving themselves.

    Ian has indicated that they wish to trial a post moderated forum which would need a "report post" button.

    I think this would be a good move, the Red-i forum could be and should be a strategic communication tool for the council to reach out and get feedback on what they are doing.

    We have shown here that an open blog can work without any troubles, albeit we only have 20 odd members and only half a dozen of them contribute much.

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  3. Really Weggis? We have 20 odd members? And how many do we have who are NOT "odd"?

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  4. A post moderated forum would be the ideal, solves the problem of immediacy, to keep a discussion "on the Boil" rather than 24 hr delay, this also encourages people to post as they can see the result straight away. I think people will soon realise the limits and stick to them.There was with the original forum some rather derogatory remarks from a number of councillors, (none of whom made any effort to contribute,despite officers running training courses for them) concerning the various arguments that went on, they failed to realise that a successful forum needs a degree of controversy to draw in "viewers" some of these viewers will become contributors.I cannot emphasise too much that the main reason for so much frustration, was the failure to get answers from both officers and councillors.

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  5. I'm not sure that a forum is the best way to get answers from Officers and Councillors.

    Asking them directly would seem to be a better approach to me. Then putting the reply on the forum.

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  6. Why are they so frit (as Mrs T might have said)? They all use the buzz words - inclusion, consultation, engagement - but when it comes to responding to the public view they are either too shy to comment, or too incompetent to use the communications technology.

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  7. I see no difference, in replying to a request for information, whether it is done for an individual, or publicly on a forum,the problem is getting an answer, let me give the classic example, I started a thread "What is the truth about the jaguars" (I might add a very popular thread),The answer was actually in the minutes of a Cabinet Meeting and a Council Meeting. Although this was known to a large number of Officers and most Councillors, not a single one pointed this out,it took a long time to go back through some 7 or 8 months of council papers to get the answer.
    Public not Private Transparency is what is required.

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  8. Weggis, Redbridge has spent a lot of time telling us about an award winning website, let them use their own technology, rather than what they might want, an old fashioned hand written letter.

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  9. More like a slate board and chalk?

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  10. Award winning? Booby prize was it?

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  11. Dopeyf - I could never understand their obsession with Jaguars. When all's said and done, they're only tarted up Fords.

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  12. or even

    http://egypt.mrdonn.org/hieroglyphics.html

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  13. My own experience of running blogs is that it is quite difficult to get people to contribute so Redi V1 was very fortunate in the quantity and quality of respondents.

    I believe absolutely that the ground rules should be expicitly stated up front but that some latitude should allowed.

    My own personal gripe with Redi was that a few people seemed to use it as a sort of 'chat room' and were reacting personally to other contributors but not advancing the argument. I can understand that any Moderator might get frustrated at that sort of behaviour.

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  14. I would say that if two people (somehow I can vividly visualise an example!) were constantly arguing in a personal way which brought nothing to the discussion and if this was annoying others the posts could be deleted. Surely this must be on the job description of a Moderator!
    annesevant

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  15. Indeed, Anne, but those persons thus affected will be the ones complaining about being "censored".

    Thus, in a "post-moderated" blog in particular, it is essential to have clear "rules" stated up front. People will, of course, try to ignore them but they cannot say that they were not told.

    Even Weggis occasionally deletes items.

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  16. NHW - beauty, as you know, is in the eye of the beholder. And to a degree so too is censorship/moderation/heavy handedness. Redi1 had many instances of "censorship" of comment from some contributors no worse than those allowed for others. Rules need to be not only clear, but also applied with consistency.

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