Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Forum Moderators

If you belong more than few online fora and groups and if you have belonged to them for some time, you probably are familiar with the kind of "moderator" I'm about to describe.

Usually male, 35-55, claiming to be a professional something. Very energetic and charismatic, he pours all his enthusiasm in sharing resources and providing links and opportunities for fellow members, which of course would never dare shooting on their meal ticket *grin*

If you belong to the same groups I do, you could identify at least three persons fitting such description. In fact, this entry was thought for the three of them, after spotting their "sameness".

Saints, you might think. Not nearly so.

The "professional" moderator, turns out, either spams other fora/groups or recruits members vigorously. He can't wait for being praised for all he does. And here's the problem: what if he doesn't get all the praise he wants?

Techniques I've seen these characters using:
1) "another member" posting compliments for the mod from the same IP address;
2) "another member" arguing with the mod again from the same IP address;
3) the moderator lashing out at whoever doesn't praise him enough, and throwing suspicion on these "uncooperative" others, meanwhile praising gentleness, kindness and forgiveness (that of course don't apply to him).

The lashing out is particularly revealing: it's callous, it allows for no reply, it is a character assassination that mocks at others' ability to be a professional and is totally unexpected by most people (except from online veterans).

By this time, some members of his group (usually the ones with the longest online experience) has already checked many IP addresses and figured out how "sweet D, V, or - say - another D" are a wolf in sheep's clothes. Then these persons commit the mortal sin: they face him and ask for explanation.

He broadcasts the "attack" to his faithful friends (which, may I say, usually correspond with his co-moderators), of course without providing any explanations on what set the other persons off.

The co-moderators, usually, have a few time to spend checking the group let alone checking on whether those accusations are right or wrong. They are completely in good faith and believe in the cause of the group as well as he says, so they regretfully side with him till a person they really trust opens their eyes.

Most members of groups moderated by moderators like him, are like wild cats. Unable to achieve any kind of discipline, disguising insults into polite statements, heck, even unable to read the guidelines and behave accordingly.

When you look at one of these moderators and his group, it is like looking at those women with 30 cats in a 100 squared meter apartment, claiming they would give their life for their cats, while they can't even give them discipline, and the cats dictate her life "gimme more gimme more".

I used to get mad at these moderators.

Now I've understood they are punishing themselves by giving in to the stereotype of the codependent nurturer. They can't say no for fear of being abandoned and yet they can't behave decently either because they want no rules for themselves and that's why they don't give rules to others. And when you yourself have no boundaries for how far you can go, you have no boundaries for how far others can go on you.

So when I look at a group like that all you can see is a bunch of creatures, arguing over nothing, twisting words and concepts, beating a dead horse, just to "show off", precisely like him.

And, precisely like him, to have nothing else to do than posting to this or that group.

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Blogger Matt Moore said...

No I don't know anyone like that AT ALL. But if I did I'm sure they'd be AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL PERSON and the email list would be SO LUCKY TO HAVE THEM!!!


The only email list I ever created followed the trajectory of my house plants and is now dead. My semi-neglectful attempts at wiki maintenance have actually gone a little better. Fancy contributing?

3:03 pm  

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