Monday, September 10, 2007

Forum Moderation 4

Background note: See the background notes to the previous threads. Having laid out my philosophy for the first and the last time in the history of the forum, a mixed reception was given. I decided to use some of the criticisms as examples to further explain my thinking.

This thread is the logical next step in a revolution for these forums. Never before has the members had an opportunity to see a prospective Moderator’s vision, goals, - indeed, total thinking about the forum and the Moderator’s function in it – let alone concrete proposals for implementing needed change – before an appointment is made. Indeed, before the prospect even advanced his name to the proper USCF authorities. This event alone, represents a revolution in the governance of this forum.

Lessons from the election: Need for transparency. Need for specific policies a prospect wants to implement. Need to know prospect’s philosophical leanings. Need for members to discuss these and be informed.

It may be that no other prospect for Moderator or FOC may ever again produce a thread like this one. This was a special election; this is a special time. The chess players of America want the USCF Forum cleaned up. It is time to take the Forum to the next level. The bottleneck is proper policing. This is why this thread and this job is vital.

In this post I will address some of the questions asked and concerns stated up to now.


1) My sanction is a topic that deserves its own post. For now, briefly: As a Moderator, I intend to drawn upon this experience to see things from the other guy’s point of view. I don’t believe that anyone who has not undergone this experience can truly understand how unfair the sanctioning process currently is. A key change that is needed is that the member knows what he is being sanctioned for and has an opportunity to respond. - An opportunity that is meaningful. That is why my original statement about what I intend to do to/for people I put up for FOC sanction. BTW Susan Polgar, who was sanctioned also, can understand, I am sure.

2) Here’s an interesting case study in what’s an attack, what’s not an attack, and how things ought to be handled.

tsawmiller wrote:
If you become a moderator, will you intercede when personal attacks appear? Such as:

While George contaminates everything he touches, some of the rebuttals are getting out of hand. How can concerns about who becomes the next President of the USCF be "micromanagement"? This phrasing is surely just as dumb as anything George has said.
- jacklemoine

Upon reflection, the comment about George is regrettable. Far better to talk about his posts than about him, personally. On the other hand, calling some phrasing “dumb” is the normal give and take of discussion and debate. As in, “this idea is dumb because . . .” In this case, the because is implied in the previous sentence.

We don’t want to over-police. Not being able to criticize ideas and even to characterize them with pejorative words like “dumb” will inhibit discussion too much.

So, to summarize my overall philosophy: yes to attacking ideas/policies; no to attacking people.

3) "Negative Politics" thread. Brian M. actually made some astute observations (from his side’s perspective).

Jack's little description of how he would create a "Negative Politics" ghetto thread and segregate anything he considers to be negative politics already disqualifies him, if any more disqualification were required. The moderators role is to delete posts that egregiously violate the AUG, not to try to implement a personal "vision" of how other people ought to act on this forum.

Even if Jack had never done anything to discredit himself as a poster, his little manifesto of how he would act as a moderator has all the evidence anybody needs to realize that Jack would be rotten moderator.
- Brian Mottershead

And this:

Note that Jack doesn't say he is going to have a Politics thread, or a Positive
Politics thread, just a Negative Politics thread. And who is going to decide
whether a post is "negative" enough to be ghettoized, stigmatized, and ignored
in a "Negative Politics" thread? Jack, of course!
- Brian Mottershead
BM and the others of his crowd are right to oppose this idea. It will revolutionize the culture in this forum. It strikes directly at the low level stuff that does not rise to the level of removal and/or sanctions but still drag us down and hold the forum back.

Attackers’ comments remain public. Those who want attack posts can still see them in all their nasty glory as well as their author’s outrage at having their posts reclassified. And those who don’t want to see that stuff don’t have to look. Transparency of actions and individual choice for the readers - yes a revolution.

We cannot go back to moderating and policing as it was done before. Despite the myth-making, people were NEVER happy with the quality of moderating here. If this forum is to get to the next level, a new model of policing is needed. And we’re going to need people with both the vision and the guts to do the job.


Blue Devil Knight said...

Egads just make him moderator!

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