Monday, June 29, 2009

Moderation in Postings

I had to write this after the near-flamefest here (the audism posts) and on The Deaf Sherlock last month. Over the years, I've been a moderator in chatrooms and message areas. Sometimes the work is fun. But then there's the occasional time when you'll have a member who is quite abusive and openly flouts the rules.

In some cases, moderators need the ability to clamp down in order to prevent an explosive subject from getting out of control. It's all too easy for this to happen and I have seen groups going from active to meltdown dead in short time due to certain subjects being brought up. In some cases, the operators are forced to start over.

It's not a freedom of speech issue. It's about following the rules. Most forum rules are common sense, usually treat each other well, no attacks, stay on topic, that kind of thing. One to remember is that the moderator has the final word on things, reserving the right to moderate, edit, or delete comments. If members complain about something, the moderator will take action on that. There will always be some who cause trouble, known as trolls. They have been known to start flame wars.

For more on understanding what needs to be done, read these sites;

How to effectively moderate forums
Internet Forum Moderation...for Dummies
Internet Forums on Wikipedia

One must have flexibility in being a moderator without looking like a dictator, silencing everything that you disagree with. Neither do you want to be known as having a heavy hand and/or being a control freak.

3 comments:

MM said...

I do find them very boring too. Like a dog snapping at a bone. I think deaf.read goes with it because it pulls the punters, more than it contributes to anything much but argument...

Once upon a time Audism was the persecution of deaf people or culture, by hearing, now it is anyone who uses speech too much, supports oralism, Sign English, CI wearers, you name it...now anyone who doesn't hold a particular view is an audist and its spun out of control.

What part of the word or term 'discrimination' do American deaf not understand ? It IS a particular deaf american thing, we brits hold nothing to the audism term. You'd be hard-pushed to find many who have even heard (!) of the word.

Deaf have a special kind of discrimination or something ? Sorry, they don't. Audism blogging alienates almost as much as discrimination does. It takes no prisoners, draws lines everywhere, and demands some conformist view of things. (Doomed to failure of course).

Sherlock Steve said...

Robert, you have made it clear very well. Especially when you said:

"In some cases, moderators need the ability to clamp down in order to prevent an explosive subject from getting out of control. It's all too easy for this to happen and I have seen groups going from active to meltdown dead in short time due to certain subjects being brought up. In some cases, the operators are forced to start over. "

In my case, I've had to kill a previous blog in order to terminate a certain person from domination of the topic and find a site that has "SECURITY" and "Moderation" controls, which is blogspot. The fresh start to this day has been awesome!

CAUSE ME TO HEAR said...

I agree that moderation isn't suppressing freedom of speech. If you have something to say that isn't allowed on that particular site, say it somewhere else!
I also found MM's comment about Americans/audism/discrimination interesting. I agree, it seems we are quick to scream discrimination on just about anything!