moderating

For the temp placement of 'heated' threads and threads that generally breach forum guidelines.
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Karleen
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moderating

Post by Karleen » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:53 pm

...Drat the previous thread was locked just as I was going to post....I actually think that it's an important discussion so I'm just going to start a new thread.

Moderating is hard. For the past decade or so I have been a moderator for an international email list for profesionals and peer counsellors involved in breastfeeding or lactation. We have anywhere between 3000 and 4000 members from all over the world. I've done my fair share of moderating over that time. Discussions get heated from time to time. We also deal with controversial and difficult topics. Political situations can make things very tricky (for example, we have many members from Israel and some from Lebanon- a few years ago Lebanon was bombed by Israel, tensions were high as you could imagine). We do not allow flaming. We do not allow personal attacks or attacks on any group. We expect members to be respectful of each other. However, we encourage vigorous disussion. We expect that people will disagree with one another and at times get upset and angry about posts. That's OK. When a controversial topic comes up (for example circumcision or the use of scales) we watch these discussions carefully and ensure that no one becomes abusive. If an individual steps over the line we will email with them privately and and see if we can resolve it. It is rare that we cannot. Posts are not deleted unless there are extraordinary circumstances (I can think of maybe 10 instances in 10 years). People are expected to stand by what they have said. We ensure that everyone is dealt with fairly. Action is not taken without explanation. An unpopular opinion is not grounds for censure but those presenting an unpopular opinion can expect to be challenged. Attacking opinions is fine, attacking individuals with those opinions is not.

That's what I have seen work. Wanting everyone to like everyone and get on with everyone is not the job of the moderator IMO. Nor is protecting people from negative emotions and sometimes that's what I (and others as noted) have observed happening here. It is most unfortunate.
Karleen

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Andrew's Mum
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Post by Andrew's Mum » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:37 pm

Any constructive discussion of how we can manage that better is very welcome. Please though, same as previous thread, do not use this thread to discuss specific content (which I agree makes it very difficult to have this discussion-sorry).

I think there are probably two issues; you don't always see everything that goes on in a thread, so what you saw a few minutes ago might be OK but suddenly it isn't. Then there's the issues of the varying perception of where "abusive" starts- I think we all agree at a certain point but people's thresholds are different.

Karleen is your email discussion list a professional one? I think that it is much easier to argue in an objective way without "abuse" or personalization when you have the benefit of being taught how through a tertiary education ( not saying those without can't but it's probably harder).

We do have these discussions as a mod team, and we have very differing viewpoints. I think we have become a little more interventionist over time; don't know whether that is due to the changing personalities on the mod team or experience. And of course some will argue it's a good thing and others will argue it's censorship.... :?
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Karleen
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Post by Karleen » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:08 pm

Lactnet is for professionals and lay breastfeeding counsellors. Many have tertiary qualifications, quite a few do not. I don't think that that's really significant in the issues being discussed here with moderation. And in fact my personal experience with moderation on this BB would not back that up- I have argued the point rather than the person and still have had posts deleted (without any explanation) and I'm maxed out on education. I would say that the cultural differences of an international forum are the most challenging to deal with.
The thing that bothers me the most is the tendency to shut down conversations if they get heated with no explanation (the protect people from negative emotions thing) as well as playing the (wo)man, not the ball. It is incredibly inconsistent and I was flabergasted when I recently contacted mods about someone using language that expressed prejudice against a disadvantaged group (people with a disability) to be told I needed to be more tolerant. It seemed that a discussion that does nothing more than argue a point and did not attack an individual or a group was considered to be unsuitable (can't let anything get heated) but language that derided a disadvantaged group is OK (need to respect people's opinons even if they are expressing bigotry). That's just been my personal experience. I don't get it but I imagine if that's what I've experienced then it is probably repeated many times over (and the posts from others in the locked thread would indicate this). It is unbelieveably frustrating!
I think that perhaps some decent guidelines are needed for moderators.
Karleen

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banjoclutz
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Post by banjoclutz » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:15 pm

Karleen I would like to just say that I do think that you are personally attacking a forum member on here... repeatedly... over and over again. I and many others saw the thread that you keep referring to and know who you are talking about and I think you are borderline harassing her. She may have used an unfortunate term but it was not loaded and she removed it. I have no idea what on earth more you could possibly want from that situation now?
Very excited to be storking keeko!

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mumofmac
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Post by mumofmac » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:18 pm

karleen it is because there are certain people and certain topics that the aba like to protect the feelings of on this forum. one is smacking kids because the aba believe it is a parenting right to choose to smack or not so we cant speak against it without our posts being removed in case it offends someone.

but it is okay for a moderator to publically accuse me of bullying and lecturing and causeing upset and offence because i used the word 'hit' rather than 'smack'. my post was deleted but its okay for the moderator to call me a bully.

its also okay for a current forum member to join up on this forum under a new name called 'mumofisanidiot' and for me to not even be contacted about it by anyone and of course whoever did it is just fine. its okay to insult and humiliate some on here but we have to pussy foot around certain other subjects. how anyone can say my post was bullying is beyond me simply because i said hit instead of smack. if people are so okay with smacking their kids, who cares what other say? people tell me all the time that i shouldnt be breastfeeding my 4 year old but i know i am doing the right thing so it doesnt bother me at all. smackers should feel the same if they know they are right to smack their kids.

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