Thursday, September 6, 2007

Forum Moderation 1

Background note: Last July 30, I started a thread in the USCF Forum where I offered my ideas on policing forums. I had offered to be a Moderator for the USCF Forum and these comments were in that context. The USCF Forum was and remains a deeply troubled place. At the time most of the Moderators and the Forum Oversight Committee had resigned. They were down to just 1 Moderator and he has since died. I reproduce my posts here.

I have publicly mused about being a Moderator in the past. With the election over, it is time to look at the subject of Forum Policing again. I think that I should publicly state my positions if I become a Moderator so that you, the members as well as the ED and the EB can assess whether you want me or not. This is a case where transparancy benefits all concerned. I would not want to be a Moderator if the people on the Executive Board I supported do not want me to be one. But if I were a Moderator, this is how I would run things.

First, anonymity. I don’t believe in it. I will respect other Moderator’s anonymous status; I will not hide my own identity. I believe that USCF officials, whether elected or appointed, should be held accountable for their actions. Accountable to the appropriate superior body within the organization and then ultimately to you, the members. Fire the bum! In fact, this is your chance to fire the bum before he ever even gets in!

That means that not only my identity should be known to you, but my official actions, too. Yes, there are standards of confidentiality any deliberative body must have. We don’t need to spin endless legalese in this area. Millennia of human experience gives us common-sense guidance. A USCF Moderator must act collegially as well as authoritatively.

If I pull a post of yours, you should know what was pulled and why it was pulled. You should have a chance to state your side of the story. It the matter gets referred to the FOC or any other higher body, then they should get both my case against you and your defense. In short, both sides of the story. If they don't get both sides because you don’t respond in a reasonable time frame, then that is your problem.

I won’t go around and around on this stuff. I think that the Moderators and the FOC has generated WAY TOO MUCH work for themselves in the past. Yes, I take into account that they had to pioneer new territory. We have a AUG to go by as a result of their efforts. What I mean here, is that there is a middle ground between no due process and endless process, due and otherwise. I state my charge against you; you write your response; I consider your response; I decide whether to reverse myself or not; then the case goes on to higher authorities for disposition. That’s it for me.

So, both my identity and my official record should be known.

This is a lengthy post and I have a lot of thoughts on this subject. So I shall end this post here. My next post shall be on my philosophy on freedom of speech and civil discourse. In short, about pulling posts.