Basic Principles for Forum Moderation

by Simon 26 Replies latest forum announcements

  • Simon

    A perennial issue for any online forum is moderation and applying rules. We have a set of community guidelines and posting guidelines that are intended to make clear what is and isn't acceptable but this tends to focus on the obvious standards of behavior for, well, obvious reasons. It's easy to talk about people being aggressive or insulting etc... as those are common and clearly unwanted behaviors and the typical issue for online communities - the most likely things to come up.

    Does this mean that everything *not* on the list is allowed? That is how some people like to view it but it's unreasonable and typically demanded by people looking to cause issues, not get clarification on things.

    Some things are removed because they are just noise or better served with a different format, e.g. a PM. An example is in fact "you have a PM" topics. It's completely unnecessary because they person will see if they have one. Does such a topic do any harm? Is it breaking any of the content guidelines? In itself, probably not. But the factor I always apply is whether things still work if 10, 100 or 1000 people start doing it. It would make the forum completely unusable which is why it's not allowed.

    Another one is "Where is poster XYZ?". Occasionally it makes sense when someone returns after a long hiatus and wants to catch up on a well know poster from years ago but when someone hasn't posted for only a few days or weeks? It's over the top. They could be on vacation or taking a break - have you tried sending them a PM first and being patient? Chances are it's a question no one can answer - I'm the only one who knows if someone is visiting but not posting but I'm not going to tell you that. Again, if everyone started doing it then it would have a negative impact on the forum as a whole which is why it's not allowed.

    Why aren't these in the rules? Because it's impossible to think of and list every possibility for every conceivable content and the more we tried to the more people would see the list as the definitive set of rules that then must allow anything not on it. If you're looking for loopholes then you have missed the point of the guidelines. The prime concern for me is keeping the forum usable and available for what it's intended - discussing topics and through that peer support.

    So what if you make a post and it's removed? Unlucky - you found out it wasn't allowed! Why didn't I PM you and give you a thorough and detailed explanation? Because I couldn't be bothered to be honest. Seriously, where do I draw the line for who should get an explanation and who shouldn't? Am I supposed to explain every single action to every single person and then reply to every demand to explain "which specific rule did I break?!" ? Can you imagine how much work would be involved? This isn't my "job", we do our best, we rely on your cooperation. You are not the only thing happening, ever.

    If you post something and it's removed, maybe stop and think "hmmn, could there be a reason that was removed?". If you are truly bothered and think a gross mistake has been made you could PM me and ask. What is probably the wrong thing to do is post it again ... and again ... and again ... at what count do you not start thinking "maybe I should stop" ...

  • Ignoranceisbliss
    Thanks for your hard work. A lot of us enjoy the site and put in zero effort For it, myself included. I imagine that being a site moderator is a lot more difficult than people would think
  • BluesBrother

    I second Ignoranceisbliss' comments above . We appreciate all that goes on. ... It would be interesting to know who the current mods are these days?

    NB I don't get to spend as much time on line as I would like, but if you wanted another mod ...I would be willing.

  • Simon
    Thanks, I'm working on tidying up the mod tools so you don't have to have access to the back end so much and once that's done I'll definitely be on the hunt for more people to help mod the site.
  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath

    my only " complaint " about this site is------its soo damn good !!------i spend far too much time on it.

    its a fantastic free resource. i bet the watchtower gang hate it.

  • steve2

    Thanks Simon. You are far more patient than I could ever imagine myself being if I had your role. I have been aware that, from time to time, my own comments have been not the best - so I include myself in that reflection!

    I like to think we are virtual guests in your home and, as valued guests, we do not "try" our host.

    In my mind, this is not so much about what is "fair" or not fair but more about guests respecting boundaries that, when all is said and done, are intended to enhance communication on topics of shared interest.

    On a related topic, you have shown yourself to be gracious even towards posters whose intent is to provide justifications for jw org's policies and practices - and in that regard, you model tolerance and decency towards all even if it has been abused by some posters over the years.

  • Saintbertholdt
    ... but if you wanted another mod ...I would be willing.

    Me too. I'd be a wonderful mod. I would only delete those posts that I disagree with.

    I'd even do it free of charge. No strings attached. Just like a free home bible study.

  • Lost and adrift
    Lost and adrift

    I think it's a great site...too good I'm addicted lol ...Can't believe how much I'm learning from if someone could just explain some of the terms and abbreviations used I'd be feeling less stupid tho lol

    Well done Simon on all ur efforts

  • M*A*S*H

    Hey Simon. Long time no speak, where have you been? Anyway, I've PM'd you about moderating proper like. Oh, if you need more of those 'happy' pills just PM me and I'll 'sort you out'. ;o)

    Have you guys seen my new website!?

  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath

    @ lost and adrift--start a new thread asking about the terms and abbreviations youre not sure about. i'm sure it will be a great help to new members and lurkers.




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