Why moderation is not discussed on the boards

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Paul B
Pay no attention to the folks behind the curtain.
Pay no attention to the folks behind the curtain.
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Date of your marriage (past or future): January 27th, 1985
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Location: The Inland Empire - north of Spokane, south of Canada

Why moderation is not discussed on the boards

Postby Paul B » Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:09 am

This is being posted as a result of a nasty little thread that cropped up today.

The short answer to why we don't allow on-board discussion of moderation is that Lori and I saw allowing such discussion destroy boards and chase off moderators back when we were members of some boards nine years ago. There is no way we would ever open TMB up for what happens when moderation becomes an acceptable topic, and folks start to pick sides.

One thing to realise here is that only the OG sees everything. In addition to the posts that are moved (to a place where the mods and OG can review them) there are PMs and e-mails that are sent to those who made the removed posts, and replies from those posters. The OG sees all of this, the mods see most of it. Board members see only a fraction of it. Without all the facts, picking sides is pointless at best.

Also realise that we all have bad days. Someone who is having a bad day may make several uncharacteristic rude or nasty posts in a short time. Such posts are removed, and the person is informed of this, and why. Unfortunately this can lead to escalation - you have, after all, just poked someone who is having a bad day. It can get ugly fast. Sometimes the person then makes one of those "I know this will get removed, but ..." posts. Then someone else who is unhappy about something they had moderated jumps on board. Never mind that the second person did not see the removed comment made by the first, a comment they would probably agree should have been removed. Then someone else, with their own ax to grind, jumps on the bandwagon. Then of course we get the "based on the PMs I have received, I am not the only one who feels like this." Again, what is going on is one upset person is being supported by another upset person. It's not "I'm on your side" - it's "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

In short, it's mob rule - it's like a riot. And like a riot, folks get sucked in. Those who have any frustration jump in to vent, and some who are not really frustrated join in for just the thrill of doing it. And in the process, innocent folks get hurt, and things get trashed.

I've seen this a number of times - and I suspect most folks who have been on message boards for any amount of time have also seen it. I have learned that there is no way to limit it or regain control. You shut it down, and if anyone keeps doing it, you ban them. You do it because you don't want to allow someone's bad day or agenda to destroy something you have put so much of your time and energy into, and you don't want the good that is being done to be stopped because, in fact, neither you nor your boards are perfect.

As for the moderators, the OG, and Lori and I - we are not perfect. We have bad days too, and we don't keep that from spilling over into what we do here as perfectly as we would like. We have biases, we have folks we like and folks who aggravate us. All of that colours how we see things, and how we moderate. We know this, and we are very open to hearing about that PRIVATELY.

Also realise that the mods and OG do moderate each other. In our mods section it's not uncommon to see someone say "check this, did I go to far" or "was I unfair in this PM." I've also seen both mods and OG members have posts removed, and I've seen (and received) suggestions that something was too much, unfair, unclear, or just not acceptable for a mod or member of the OG.

Finally, this post is me and only me talking here. I've not run this by the OG, I've just banged it out and sent it. And now I need to go to bed and get my 3-6 hours of sleep I have been living on recently.

<>< Paul

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Pay no attention to the folks behind the curtain.
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Re: Why moderation is not discussed on the boards

Postby Dale » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:00 am

Leah found this old post by Paul from the beginning days of TMB (in its present form at least). It answers many questions people have had over the years, and so I'm making this a sticky so that it's easy to find by everyone! :D

I do want to point out, though, that Paul's post is many years old, and we have a new "crop" of Moderators and Oversight Group (nor was I Board Czar at the time). Through the years since this post was made, we have endeavored to make adjustments and improve even more the moderation of the boards, which has resulted in TMB continuing to be the "cream of the crop" in regards to Christian marriage ministries on the Web. Our Moderators and OG try very diligently to maintain impartiality to all, and will continue to do so. Also, at the time (if memory serves), there was no Report Post button, which has greatly helped to make every member of the TMB boards a "watchdog" and has helped cut board moderation down significantly.

The main principles of Paul's post hold true, of course. Moderation issues are not allowed to be discussed, for many of the reasons Paul outlined. It is because of this rule that our boards run as smoothly as they do.

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