Administrators, Moderators and the rest of the Teeming Millions

I would like to open a debate on the role the administrators and monitors believe is theirs in the TM Community and that which the rest of the members think they (administrators and monitors) have or ought to have. The FAQ section is not, I’m afraid, very enlightening on that subject:


Or perhaps that’s all there is, or should be.

The “Don’t Be A Jerk” universal rule, on the other hand, seems a bit too broad and open to several interpretations as to its application, as we have seen.

I’m under no illusion that this thread will clarify things once and for all on that delicate subject. Far from it. But it could be a start.

I do hope that all who have a stake in this will let their voices be heard, that the debate will above all remain “civil” and that something positive will come out of it.

I now yield the floor to my esteemed colleagues.
P.S.: PLEASE don’t ask me to moderate this thing!! :slight_smile:


Quite simply, when you enter this forum you tacitly agree to have the full range of your freedom of expression abridged. You may find Moderators who are immoderate and Adminstrators that do not administer. It is also helpful to find out who is on the “brownie list.” In short, you deal with it.

“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.” F.Bacon


Wait wait wait. It’s simple. The administrators are gods, the moderators are there servant demi-gods, and we are mere mortals begging supplication. Dig?

Consider the source on this one, folks.

This comes from a man who lost at least two accounts on AOL because he felt the Terms of Service did not apply to him.

A little note to you; the Terms of Service follow you out to cyberspace. We won’t fight the Cyberian wars again.

It takes a LOT to get booted off AOL; they give more second chances than Hillary Clinton.

Still up to the same old disinformation, John? You really should be ashamed.

your humble TubaDiva/SDStaffDiv
for the Straight Dope

Do you go to a restaurant and debate the hours they’re open, the dishes on the menu, the wine list?

Do you go to a club and tell the owner, “I want you to do things my way, here’s how I think your people ought to do your jobs.?”

Do you call the tv station and complain when they don’t have the programming you want at exactly the time you want?

Why is this place different?

Sure, this place is like any other, you vote with your feet. But being here means that you’ve decided to live by the not-terribly-restrictive rules we’ve set up. Nobody’s chaining you to your computer.

Free speech? Show me anyplace where speech is utterly and totally unfettered. Besides your house, obviously. :slight_smile:

When did we get the Straight Dope Democracy? Did I miss the elections? Where’s the Straight Dope Message Board of Directors?

When did YOU become my boss?

Just curious.

your humble TubaDiva
If you’re my boss, I want a raise.

I’m new here, but I’m not new to message boards. I first dialed into a BBS in 1987 that carried FidoNet - and from there to Prodigy Boards to usenet feeds to a real usenet server to mail lists etc. and I have never seen a board where people were more civil, on topic and open to new ideas.

I suspect that Uncle Cecil’s shining brilliance blinds the unworthy and purifies the almost-worthy - but I think moderation also has something to do with it.

This is going swimmingly so far. I was hoping for a more… moderate beginning, but the ball got rolling. (BTW, sorry for the two “monitors” in the OP). Tuba, I appreciate your input. I’m not trying to revolutionize things here; I’m not trying to transform these fora into a democracy. I was simply trying to get both sides’ points of view on the “not-terribly-restrictive rules” SD has set up, in the hope of laying a more level playing field for all involved.

Cooper said:

Oh yeah?! Well, pal, let me tell you something! We are NOT open to new ideas! You hear me?! And we ain’t civil, neither! So there!!!


So what echos did you frequent in Fido? And what name/handle did you use? I may know you from old Fight-O-Net days.


(My old handle, in case anybody is wondering.)

And, just to keep somewhat topical to the original question, which I still may decide to move to About This Message Board, incidentally (after getting input from the admins), over on Fidonet, the moderators were considered “Gods” when it came to their areas – we were generally considered to own the conferences we moderated. Here, moderators don’t own the site, the Chicago Reader does. We just obey Cecil, the master.

Aw, heck, that didn’t come out right.


Not sure that’ll work either – danged proportional fonts.

Huh. I thought Cyb’s name here was JOHN. Not that I don’t think it’s him; I checked the profile.

He did, however, have at least somewhat of a point. Sometimes the moderation of this board seems haphazard, and while I do realize that the job is unpaid and pretty much thankless, I do wish there were some uniform rules that we could go by that are somewhat less vague than “Don’t be a jerk,” but not so restrictive that the place is no longer fun.

Whew, that was a long sentence.

Anyway, I think you all know what I mean. I’d imagine the main problem is that it’s more work than would be worth it to come up wtih a set of rules that are uniformly applicable to all of the sections. The reason I wish it could be the case is because of the recent C#3 fiasco, which could possibly have been avoided had he been politely warned the first time he posted his link to AllAdvantage, some two and a half weeks before the fit hit the shan. Had Euty (a somewhat less acerbic moderator than Nickrz, not that there’s anything wrong with that) reprimanded Connie, I doubt any of this would have happened. But since Connie felt like he was justified in doing what he did, mainly because he thought Nickrz was being arbitrary since he’d been allowed to do the same thing before in a different forum, it turned into a big nightmare. I’d like to find some way of avoiding stuff like that, but it’s hard to make up rules for this place, because people are always breaking rules you didn’t know you should have until they were broken.

I’m rambling, and I’m tired. I hope this makes sense. If not, feel free to e-mail me and ask me questions directly. Contrary to popular belief, when I raise my questions or concerns, I’m only trying to get the moderators to think about their actions, and hopefully make this board a better, and more fair, place.

Drainbead, I have not stopped people from speculating about me and the poster Cyberian because it has its humorous side. As I’ve said, I will not confirm or deny it, simply because I don’t feel I have to, and it’s fun to see some people rant-on without clue one.

I would ask Tubadiva, was my post on this subject accurate? I would also ask, what is the motivation for a person to take a thankless, no pay job that requires such effort? I think that is the larger question.

“All rising to a great place is by a winding stair.” F.Bacon


You are at least mistaken. . . and that’s giving you the benefit of the doubt.

And why would someone be a moderator here, ya know, sometimes we ask ourselves the same question . . . :slight_smile:

mostly it’s fun.

your humble TubaDiva

Omni, it sounds as if your real question is why have moderators at all.

This is a moderated board. That’s the way the Reader wanted it, that’s how it works. There’s plenty of unmoderated boards out there, some even in Cecil’s name.

As to your question re a “level playing field,” the field IS level. Always was.

your humble TubaDiva

Omni: This is my first apperance on any board. I have seen humor, wit, vast intelligence, and people willing to open themselves up in their humanity.

I have also seen the cruelest, heartless, stupidest, most inane, banal, mundane, inarticulate, idiotic drivel to come forth from a mouth attached to a human form.

The moderators? I see them in the latter category, without a doubt!

When I am finished here I probably will never post on any board ever again.

The abuse is not worth the little I gain in knowledge here. Even if the abusive comments are not directed at me, it hurts to see others so hatefully treated.

That which a man had rather were true he more readily believes.

Jenny said:

Hm…you know, I do complain to the manager when a waiter, or maitre d’ is rude to me or to someone in my party. I do fill out comment cards and I might just say that I’d love to come more often, and order extra courses (think buy SD books), or linger for an after-dinner drink (click on ad buttons)if the hours were longer. I might add that they should make bell peppers optional in their fajitas. I guess I’d be assuming that the manager values my custom, and would want to safeguard his reputation around my circle of friends and acquaintances. I think that maybe that’s where this analogy breaks down, because I don’t believe I’m seeing that here.

PUNdit: I couldn’t agree with you more!

Couple things:

  1. I’m moving this topic to the BBQ Pit. From here on out that’s where all complaints and other discussion about the administration of the SDMB should go.

  2. With all respect to the OP, this is a commercial site and the role of the administrators and moderators is not subject to debate. We appreciate your comments, however.

  3. “Don’t be a jerk” may strike a few people as overly broad, but we prefer to keep things simple. We do provide some additional guidance in the rules that you agree to when you sign up for the SDMB; to review, click on the “register” link visible in the upper right of most screens. We amend the rules once in a while as the need arises. If there is some specific issue or policy that is not clear to you or about which you have concerns, please let us know and we will try to clarify it.