Judging by some pit threads of late, some folks are still having difficulty distinguishing between [Poster Name] as poster and [Poster Name] as Moderator. Apparently, the usual bolded line saying something like: Moderator Note or Mod Hat On isn’t enough for some people. Also, some folks tend to get confused between moderator action and official Moderator Warnings.
Would it be possible to use colors to help distinguish? Blue could be used for general mod actions (steering a thread back on track or moving a thread to its proper forum). Red could be used for Official Warnings…
I’m a moderator on another board, where we use a tag that makes all the text inside it appear in a big red mother of a box with the text MOD on top, and the posters there still think we’re speaking as moderators when we speak as ordinary posters. I think there’s no way around it unless the moderators start adding “Not Speaking As A Moderator” to all their ordinary posts.
I, personally, find reading posts in color to be irritating. Not hugely irritating, but irritating enough that I would not find that to be a desirable solution to the “problem” of people not being able to tell the difference between a moderator posting as a poster and a moderator posting as a moderator.
Not sure how to handle this, most anything we do or say will find disfavor in someone’s eyes. We do the best we can but there’s nearly always somebody with their boxers in a bunch because of something we said or did.
Can’t please everyone. Some days we can’t please anyone!
The problem, so far as there is one (which isn’t very far, to my eye), isn’t that the official posts aren’t marked sufficiently well as official, it’s that the unofficial posts aren’t (usually) marked as unofficial. Folks don’t generally claim “Well, I didn’t realize that when he said ‘Official moderator warning: Don’t do that’, it was an official moderator warning!”. Or if they do try to claim that, those are the folks we’re probably better off without. More often, the complaint comes when a poster who happens to be a moderator says something like “Your argument doesn’t hold water” in a GD thread, and the other poster then complains about the moderators using their authority to suppress em. I suppose this problem arises because, even when a moderator is speaking merely as a poster, the title “Moderator” always appears below their name. Someone not well-versed with the way message boards work in general, or how this one works in particular, might conclude from this that every post made under that title is an official moderator post. There are a number of solutions to this problem, but the simplest is probably just, any time such a misunderstanding comes up, to explain it to the misunderstanding poster.
The OP raises an interesting possibility, but it should be noted that the main trouble isn’t knowing when the Mods are posting as Mods, but knowing when they are just being plain old ordinary human beings. The way some people act, I’d suspect they would want the non-Moderator hat postings to look something like this: Now I’m invisible, and can say what I want…
I think Chronos nailed it. Regardless of how much effort a Moderator puts into distinguishing his “official” acts as moderator from his personal opinions as a board member, there will always be people who cannot, or claim not to be able to, tell the difference. That said, I rather like the idea of
or something of the sort for full-fledged warnings – it makes it quite clear to most people that an official act is being alerted to.
DSYoung and elbows: I know that on a different board, the idea that Mods. would have one name used for moderator actions and a different one for general-posting purposes was tried. It didn’t work well for three different reasons: (1) on that board, mods. “played favorites” according to whether or not they agreed with the stance of the member (not a problem here, IMO) and “mod socks” could get away with purely outrageous posts for which other members were warned; (2) there was a huge amount of guessing games as to whether MemberQ was really ModeratorX’s sock; and (3) moderators, being human, would forget to log out as member and in as moderator, or vice versa – or simply needed to act in a hurry for legal or flamefest reasons using their moderator powers (available only in the moderator name). I find it really easy to distinguish between tomndebb explaining Catholic doctrine or stating SDMB policy, or samclem discussing sources for 1930s news reports or informing members firmly that debating political or religious views doesn’t belong in GQ, without tomasamod or samwithmodhaton names.
David B., who TTBOMK invented the “Mod Hat” meme that has spread across many message boards, made it clear when he was acting in official moderator role by putting official actions in bold in a new paragraph set off by [MOD HAT ON]/[/MOD HAT OFF]. That seems to have been general policy here for several years.
Is there some reason we can’t just assume that when a mod posts, he’s doing so as a regular old poster unless he specifically indicates otherwise? It’s almost always pretty obvious to me; if you can’t tell when a mod is being a mod and when he’s just posting, well, you probably don’t really belong here.