What should the role of the moderator be in this forum?

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druban
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What should the role of the moderator be in this forum?

Postby druban » Fri May 31, 2013 1:21 pm

I suppose this board is the best place to start this topic although clearly (at least to me) it has a bearing on every board in this forum.
A short summary:
I understand that the forum belongs to one person, Microugly, who is the administrator, pays for its hosting, the address and is ultimately responsible for its software maintenance.
I understand that all users are here by the kind permission of the administrator, and that strictly speaking no one has any grounds to feel entitled to anything while here since it is privately owned.
I understand that the day-to-day affairs are undertaken by additional moderators. They provide the invaluable service of keeping advertising and commercial spam off the boards, and they also appear to decide what material is appropriate for discussion and what form such discussion should take. The first part of their duties are essential to the operation of the forum. I have opened this topic to discuss what users might think about the second part. Clearly there is no mandate that users can bring to bear, since, as mentioned, the forum is privately owned.

Why even open this topic, then? Because, in my opinion, when participating and contributing to the discussions that make this forum unique, there may be some assumption on the part of those participants about the nature of what they are participating in that influence their decision to do so.

For example, would users contribute and participate if they knew that a single person would oversee their posts for acceptability? I for one think that I would have long gone elsewhere (as I suspect I will have no choice but to do as soon as I post this).
Would people be as eager to participate if they knew that users were being banned for having spoken their mind? Having voiced an opinion? For criticizing a work method? For humor?
Would people want to start a topic knowing that it could be locked at any time for no reason than the direction taken by the discussion?
Later edit: Would people post if they knew their post could just be deleted without notice, explanation, or annotation? (Just happened! :!: )
At what point does protecting the users of the forum from spam and advertising also become protecting the users from themselves in an authoritarian manner?

I don't have the answers to these questions, they are, of course, meant to find out what the users think, not to dictate what they should think.
Nor do I think the answers are likely to be simple or easily arrived at, especially since I may have stated the issue quite clumsily!

Certainly this is more eloquent:
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin.

For every person that takes on an authoritarian role saying, "Someone has to do it," I guess there is a voice challenging that act for the very same reason. I'm not a particularly political person, but at some time it becomes clear that truth must be spoken to power, and unfortunately this often seems to cost the speaker something. If I have to give up my participation in the forum for having done so, I do it gladly.
Your mind is what you think it is.

Lazur
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Re: What should the role of the moderator be in this forum?

Postby Lazur » Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:10 am

druban wrote:...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin.
...


http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/04/someone-just-leaked-obamas-rules-for-ass
Peace sells.

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microUgly
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Re: What should the role of the moderator be in this forum?

Postby microUgly » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:43 am

This situation is my fault. Brynn has been the only person keeping the forum running and I have not made myself available to support her when she has needed.

I understand if you may have felt unfairly treated, but I suspect she felt provoked.

Managing this forum is a lot of work and it doesn't sounds like it has been made fun for her in more recent weeks.

I don't have time to go through and figure out who said what and who did what. Let's just drop it and get back the very simple purpose of sharing our enthusiasm and knowledge of Inkscape.

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druban
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Re: What should the role of the moderator be in this forum?

Postby druban » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:02 pm

microUgly wrote:This situation is my fault. Brynn has been the only person keeping the forum running and I have not made myself available to support her when she has needed.

I understand if you may have felt unfairly treated, but I suspect she felt provoked.

Managing this forum is a lot of work and it doesn't sounds like it has been made fun for her in more recent weeks...


I agree with you - it's a lot of work for one person to do. One active moderator is perhaps not enough, depending on what is called for. But when people ask me (quite fairly), "Why don't you volunteer to be a moderator too, instead of just complaining?" I have to ask myself, "Do I know what a moderator's duties are in this forum? What do the users and administrator expect from a moderator?" That's why I started this topic.
I really am willing to contribute time to the forum, but my idea of the moderator's duties lean heavily towards the janitorial, sweeping up spam and shooing advertisements out of the door. It most definitely does not involve being a policeman, punishing users for straying from topics or threatening them with being banned, locking topics etc. Referring to members as childish or immature also assigns a parental role to the moderator, and I would not be comfortable with that mantle! Is there any point in being a moderate moderator if another moderator has a Draconian idea of their duties....?

Image

microUgly wrote:Let's just drop it and get back the very simple purpose of sharing our enthusiasm and knowledge of Inkscape.


Absolutely. All I want(ed) to do was to point out that heavy-handed moderation cannot but have a chilling effect on that enthusiasm...? All done now. :)
Your mind is what you think it is.


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