A Change in Moderation

09 Nov 2014 11:11 - 24 Jun 2019 23:05 #1 by ScienceChic
I'd like to first and foremost say a huge thank you to you all for the great discussions we've been having lately here in the Courthouse! It's been fun reading the back and forth dialogs, and ponder upon what has been put forth. It is precisely because the Courthouse forum is our lightning rod that I am putting this topic here, even though it is better suited to the Letters to the Editors. What I am going to discuss has come about largely in part due to this forum, and this one will be the most affected.

This site has developed in some very interesting, both expected and unexpected, ways since it began; yet, as I look over some of the older threads the tenor of the discussions has remained pretty much the same. Over the past 3 years I've been researching other public forums, analyzing moderating techniques used by others (including Google, YouTube, Facebook, blogs, etc), getting to know fellow area business owners and the challenges they've faced operating successful businesses in our community, and, most importantly, listening to the feedback that you all have provided when we've had issues with, or discussions on, moderating. I've come to the conclusion that how I was taught & how I've been moderating this site hasn't been the best practice and we need to change what we do.

To me, it boils down to two simple concepts:

1. What you allow is what will continue.
2. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.

In the beginning there was an effort to establish the site as an "opposite" an "anti-" if you will, to what already existed. The focus was that the members had accountability for what they posted, and the responsibility to self-moderate, and we said we'd be hands-off and allow members freedom to respond themselves to personal attacks since we're all adults here, unless asked to intervene or if it was egregious. That's all well and good except for the fact that there are always those out there whose sole mission is merely to disrupt and damage, not engage and discuss, and that approach favors their tactics. Also at play is the fact that people deal with enough stress and negativity in their lives and most will not continue to expose themselves to it online over the long-term. Assuming that everyone posting has the best of intentions, and was willing to improve if time was spent working with them because they would want to stick around and make the site better and have better interactions with others was probably not the best method upon which to base our actions; I failed in adequately protecting members in forums where they should not have had to feel persecuted because those kinds of interactions were not intended anywhere except the Ring. For that, I offer my sincerest apologies.

1. What you allow is what will continue.
While we've had some fantastic discussions over the years, we've also had some serious unhappiness with how the site has been moderated from time to time and seen some great members leave - some because of how they were treated, many others just because life happens. I firmly believe that we must always strive to grow, learn new things, build upon our experiences, and try to improve.

To that end, I've quietly tightened up moderating protocols to lessen the "discussions of each other" that used to be permitted in the Campfire and Courthouse (it applies to the other forums as well, but we've not really had issues in those). If you have any questions about what constitutes a discussion about each other vs the topic at hand, or what is "allowed" or not in a particular forum (keeping in mind that everything is handled individually as this is an art, not an exact science. It's the intention behind a post that often matters, not always or necessarily the content), please check the forum descriptions - we've added ratings to all of them in The Highway category - or contact us and ask if you have more detailed questions - we're always happy to answer! We will not be changing our policy of not deleting or locking posts, but if members start discussing each other instead of the topics at hand, those posts will be moved to the Ring more aggressively than in years past - it's not punishment, it's just where that belongs. The Ring is a wonderful resource where you can let loose, cuss as much as you want, and take people on if you wish and if they choose to respond. The beauty of the Ring is that it is an option and a choice - an option because it exists, and a choice for both participants to engage should they desire. For the site, it's great because it's a place that is protected from general viewing by guests so it doesn't scare people off, but doesn't prevent members from letting loose because that option does exist on this site for those who are more comfortable being more combative. You can use that forum without fear of being reprimanded, suspended, banned, etc as you would be on other sites, and if it's not your cup of tea, choose to not even go there.

2. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
The goal is to make this whole site a friendlier, more welcoming place to participate with a wide array of diverse opinions and experiences shared as I believe we all have much we can learn from one another. We are not Facebook where the majority of those with whom we are connected are people with [usually] similar interests, ideals, and opinions; we are a community site made up of a hodge-podge of local residents from all over the country whose beliefs run the gamut. This is both a blessing and a challenge, because it means interacting with those with whom we may vehemently disagree with on some issue or another, but also means exposure to vastly different experiences and opinions - the opportunity for learning is greater. It requires a little more patience and tolerance, a willingness to keep an open mind and listen something that can be difficult online where body language and tone of voice are missing in helping convey messages.

This is where it's our job to help by running this site in a way that treats everyone equally with respect and fairness. We the moderators treat people fairly, with honesty and integrity, because otherwise all of you will have no faith or trust in us. We appreciate all of you, and on some level it is our responsibility to provide a safe place from those who would try to harm our members emotionally or mentally online. We've all experienced cyber-bullying in various forms on many online sites, it's rampant (just look at any YouTube video's comments, or hot-button news story's comments, and you'll see what I mean) and enough is enough. I think this is what sets MMT apart from other sites in the area. If you can't trust the one leading and the ones managing the site, then there's no feeling of trust or confidence, and no desire to participate.

As you all know, I'm fond of feedback and never one to shy from criticism or take suggestions under advisement and act upon them. I know we've had multiple conversations about moderating, and each time I think we've all learned a bit more about how we want online sites to be run, and how we'd like to be treated - it's always good to have those discussions periodically and engage with one another. If you have any comments to make about this, you are welcome to PM me for a private discussion or post them publicly here.

Thank you to everyone who has been, and is now, a part of this site. You are all truly welcome and appreciated, and I look forward to continuing to grow and learn from, and with, you! To those who have felt hesitant to begin actively participating, I hope this eases your concerns and you feel more comfortable posting and sharing yourselves from here on out. To those who have declined from participating, I sincerely hope you wish to return and engage yet again - you are missed.

Gratefully,
SC

"Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T'Challa, Black Panther

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill
The following user(s) said Thank You: CC, jf1acai

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09 Nov 2014 16:50 #2 by Blazer Bob
Replied by Blazer Bob on topic A Change in Moderation
Seems reminiscent of my forum so of course I like it. :tossleaves:
The following user(s) said Thank You: CC

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10 Nov 2014 07:38 #3 by Rick
Replied by Rick on topic A Change in Moderation
:td: :cheersbeer:

I now identify as INVISIBLE. Although I was born visible, I am now Trans-parent… my pronouns are now WHO and WHERE. I now demand you respect and address me by my correct identity. [\b]

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10 Nov 2014 19:24 - 15 Aug 2017 18:14 #4 by LOL
Replied by LOL on topic A Change in Moderation
ok

If you want to be, press one. If you want not to be, press 2

Republicans are red, democrats are blue, neither of them, gives a flip about you.

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10 Nov 2014 20:00 #5 by HappyCamper
Replied by HappyCamper on topic A Change in Moderation
Does this mean I have to be overly nice to VL if he ever comes back? :woohoo:

Thanks SC we know you are on top of things!!!!

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10 Nov 2014 21:30 #6 by jf1acai
Replied by jf1acai on topic A Change in Moderation
Yep, we know SC is on top of things!




I could not resist!

:biggrin:

Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again - Jeanne Pincha-Tulley

Comprehensive is Latin for there is lots of bad stuff in it - Trey Gowdy

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11 Nov 2014 12:29 #7 by Nobody that matters
Too long. Anyone got the cliff notes? :)

"Whatever you are, be a good one." ~ Abraham Lincoln

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11 Nov 2014 12:38 #8 by HEARTLESS
Replied by HEARTLESS on topic A Change in Moderation
Rule #1 SC owns the site, what she says goes.
Rule #2 Anything humorous and even mildly offensive to anyone, will be sent to the Ring
Rule #3 If "asked" in a private message and not done, it will be done for you refer to Rule #1

The silent majority will be silent no more.

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11 Nov 2014 14:10 #9 by Blazer Bob
Replied by Blazer Bob on topic A Change in Moderation

HEARTLESS wrote: Rule #1 SC owns the site, what she says goes.
Rule #2 Anything humorous and even mildly offensive to anyone, will be sent to the Ring
Rule #3 If "asked" in a private message and not done, it will be done for you refer to Rule #1


No wonder I failed english. :biggrin:

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11 Nov 2014 14:32 #10 by HEARTLESS
Replied by HEARTLESS on topic A Change in Moderation
I know my punctuation leaves a lot to be desired, sorry.

The silent majority will be silent no more.

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