Proposal to the Board Gods/Goddesses

I was away during the cataclysm of the last few days, & have refrained from commenting thus far, but I do feel that the situation was not handled well.

The crux of the problem is how to allow moderators the same freedom of speech which is afforded to the rest of us. No one should have to let go unchallenged posts that directly conflict with their point-of-view.

The answer is simple. Do what virtually every other sponsored/moderated forum has done. Allow moderators to post, as individuals, under their own names, while they moderate from anonymous “assigned names”.

Many other forums do this; they also do have “rules of engagement” for hosts/moderators to follow, including not leaking their unofficial screen names.

There are a number of advantages to this. The moderating becomes more invisible (what a concept!). More than one moderator can be assigned per board, allowing for seamless coverage when one is away or tied up with real life. Heck, Melin can be re-instated without everyone eating crow!

I am taking a leap of of faith here, and believe that Ed Zotti didn’t really mean to imply that he, the Chicago Reader, the other administrators and moderators, & Cecil himself :wink: don’t care how members (isn’t that nicer than customers or users) of this message board feel about the way it is run.

If you believe likewise, please let the board deities know what YOU think of this proposal.

Sue from El Paso

Sounds good to me.

I think the idea of faceless moderators is an obvious solution to a multitude of problems. I would, however, also like to see moderators give an explaination for all edits and deletions made on the board. Threads and posts disappearing without a trace is inexcusable.

Hey MajorMD,

Great idea. Should be doable. Will “they” implement this?

Contestant #3

Thanks for the endorsement, but I should have stated in my OP that this idea was not original with me - several other posters suggested this in other threads - but I thought it was important enough to warrant a thread of it’s own, so that the powers could see how much support there was for the idea & (hopefully) give it some serious consideration.

Sue from El Paso

Sounds like a good idea to me too. Comments from the powers that be?

“And the knowlege that they fear is a weapon to be used against them.”
-Neil Peart, RUSH, “The Weapon”

The crux of the problem is not how to allow moderators the same freedom of speech as other members.

Moderators on this board are bound by rules of behavior not applied to other members; adherence to these rules is a pre and requisite condition to the position.

For this reason alone is this suggestion a non-starter. It’s simply not necessary.

I agreed when I took this job to comport myself in a manner in line with the administrative guidleines set forth for me at the outset. Of course, I have overstepped my bounds quite a few times, and I have been chastised for same. However, if I felt myself being unduly or unfairly restricted in such wise that my enjoyment in reading or posting to the board was compromised, I would simply resign my position and go right back to saying whatever I damn well pleased. As things stand, I pretty much say what I damned well please anyway. I don’t need an alias to air my views or answer arguments.

I appreciate the concern over freedom of speech issues for moderators and other members alike - but the fact of the matter is, there are rules for both of us, and our rules are stricter because we bear more responsibility to The Straight Dope and The Chicago Reader. We knew that going in, and grabbing a pseudonym and acting with disregard for our rules would fool no one.

I suppose someone will term this “smug” or “self-serving,” but I don’t know any other way to put it: it’s not gonna happen.

GQ Mod

Well, PB doesn’t seem to be getting much of a response where he asked the question, so, Nickrz, what are the rules?

Lynn B did respond to PB overnight. I still think Majormd’s propposal has some merit.

I’ve asked board moderators NOT to post under different screen names - we’ve got enough paranoia around here as it is.

Board moderators are expected not to disagree in public regarding matters of board administration (we do have quite a bit of discussion privately). They are expected to be restrained in other discussions and not become excessively partisan.

Ed said:

"They are expected to be restrained in other discussions and not become excessively partisan. "

Geesh. You might want to look in on David B over in the Great Debates forum. Heaven forbid the topic of UFOs or alternative medicine comes up.

Contestant #3

or religion

Majormd: We considered the idea of posting with separate names a while ago (I know I brought it up when I was first appointed) and decided against it for several reasons, some of which have already been brought up.

For one, it can breed the idea of “Who is that person behind the ‘Moderator’ handle?” For example, in some of C#3’s complaints, can you just imagine how conspiratorial he’d have gotten if everything had just been handled by “GD MODERATOR” without revealing who it was? Sure, he complained about me moderating, but the fair-minded individuals on the board could see that I was not undertaking to change the debate somehow, only enforcing the rules of the Board. If, however, it had been an anonymous person, more suspicions might have been aroused (especially since so many of the participants lined up against him).

This way, it’s completely out in the open who is moderating what. If you want to contact us, you know who to contact. Etc. I can just imagine the complaints about the “nameless, faceless moderators” if we were all anonymous – and I think they would have some merit!

As a technical issue, it can also be difficult to have two different sign-ons. My computer keeps track of my name and password (as I’m sure most do), and so I’d have to override the cookie to post as the moderator. Not the biggest deal in the world, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be long before one of us accidentally posted using the moderator name when we weren’t meaning it to be an official message, or posting as our own names when we meant it to be official. It would only further confuse things.

As far as “rules of engagement,” I have never been told that I could not give my views on any subject. However, that does not mean I should be giving those views in the same way that other users should. If I would warn somebody about something, then I shouldn’t do it. This includes, for example, insults. Maybe if USERX decided to call USERY a name, I would post a warning and say, “Hey, don’t do that again, or take it to the Pit.” Maybe that would be the end of it. But as a moderator, even if it’s not a hanging offense (such as saying something so horrible the moderator needs to go in and delete/edit it), I should not be saying something that I would warn somebody else for saying. There are many ways to make a point, and some are abusive while some are not. That doesn’t mean I’m restricted from making the point – just from acting in a way that we wouldn’t like others to act.

To be more specific – if I think that alternative medicine is a bunch of baloney (to use an example already brought up in this thread), I can say it. But I shouldn’t say, “USERX is a f***ing moron for believing in alternative medicine!”