"Us" and "Them": Why is there Mod/User polarization? How to minimize/avoid it?

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon, Oct 22, 2008.

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  1. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    506 say he wanna sep'rate thread, I give-a you sep'rate thread...

    Continuing the discussion that started in the "So, is this an actual rule now.." thread, this thread will be focused on the issues between mods and users, including but not limited to transparency in edits, user perception of mod behavior, and what conflict (if any) exists between a mod's combined roles of user and moderator. Hopefully we can come to a better understanding of how to improve mod/user relations.

    I'm having trouble coming up with a discussion starter that isn't biased to one side or the other, so here are the last few relevant posts from the other thread so we can pick up where we left off:

  2. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    From other thread.

    It was as much your immediate accusatory tone as anything else. If you don't 'lash out' claiming the MS is desperately trying to cover its collective ass, or that there are guilty consciouses abound, then perhaps the response might be more useful. We'd avoid starting off from the position of having to dismantle each other's rhetoric. Of course we can have these discussions in Comms - that's fine and dandy - but the "us and them" thing, as mentioned in the other thread, very much goes both ways. You've started off at a million miles an hour, and things only ever get faster.

    We were [previously] talking about one side not immediately laying into the other in cases of disagreement, and yet as soon as the situation with Dani was raised and edited out (as such things always have) you jump down the throats of the MS with some rather provocative statements.

    You describe stuff going on here as 'crap'. Come on. All that exists is disagreements. All I see there is sensationalism, which is going to get people's backs up. And to be honest, having seen the MS (albiet briefly, lol) my impression is there there isn't an "us and them" battle constantly bubbling under. Just disagreements, and a dynamic between the mods and the users that will forever be awkward. We have to deal withthat realistically, and calmly. IMO we mustn't draw swords each time something happens that doesn't 'fly'. The non-discussion of bans thing is a long, long, long, long established policy, and jaypee's post (I did see it) wasn't the way to tackle the problem. It never has been.

    Keep your hat on. It might help. Two wrongs don't make a right.
  3. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Good idea :)

    Second point first - I agree with roo that each forum is different. However, I don't participate in the JCC or the movies forums, so I'll just say for myself that I'd rather be a participant first and a banstick second. Not very hard for me, since most of my editing comes from changing thread titles, though :p But it seems to me that the less disciplining, the less burnout. It's more fun to try to be friends or at least friendly with everyone. And editing friends is really hard to do, but in my experience if you send a PM and say, "Hey, I edited this out here because it's on the disallowed words list" or something rather than just editing and being done is better so it doesn't seem so out of teh blue. That being said, I don't make very many.

    First point - I agree with the being more open, and I can see why ASG was upset in the other thread because it looked like a cover-up since there wasn't a reason given. With the giving a reason, do you guys mean in every situation, or just ones like that? For instance, if we edit an F or something, should we add an "edit - language" somewhere in the post, or is making the edit enough? Should "edit - baiting" or "no baiting" or something be put in all posts with edited baits? I have no problem doing any of that.


    I think maybe a way to improve relations on the MS side is for mods to explain their actions or act more like regular users in their communities. On the users' side, maybe letting mods know what you like and don't? The mod review was a good idea, but each mod get it what, once or twice a year? If you really like something a mod does or really don't like something, PM that mod (or an admin if you don't feel comfortable with confronting the mod directly) and just give your reasons for not liking it. Though I realize that it looks like nothing gets done often when you PM concerns, continuing to do it over time will make something happen (even if it's just the mod or mod team reviewing the action) and if something continues, you can always PM 506. And I stress letting mods know what they're doing well, because then they know to keep doing it.
  4. rhonderoo Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2002
    star 9
    It all boils down to communication. On both sides.

    First, if a mod is going to edit, it's always a good idea to state why. Even if it's, "That word has to be starred out." Times where there was a flame war going on, or multiple edits, I always tried to post a warning first to let everyone know the thread had gone too far, and then edit, but it's hard keeping up sometimes and as always, mistakes happen with everyone. And a general warning sometimes was all it took after an edit. And mods who receive a PM about something, try to answer it until you can't answer it. :p And sometimes you just have to say, "I don't know, but I'll try to find out." No one person has the answer to everything, nor can they drop everything to investigate sometimes.

    Second, if you have a question about an edit or something, PM a mod. Hopefully, it gets worked out. I honestly don't know any mod past or present that just ignored PMs on purpose, unless it got to the point an admin was taking care of it and they were told to. They may not say what you want them to say, in the time frame that you want them to say it in, but they usually answer.

  5. Eeth-my-Koth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2001
    star 9
    Haven?t you heard it?s a battle of words
    And who?ll deny it?s what the fighting?s all about

    Yeah :)
  6. HL&S Magistrate Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2001
    star 6

    Unban PreacherBoy! [face_mischief]
  7. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Ahem.

    Two thirds of my post was edited out yesterday (in the 'so is this an actual rule thread'), when only one sentence mentioned something that should not be mentioned. The point I was trying to make (without mentioning names, of course) is that if something would not be edited/warned/banned for in a thread amongst non-mods (for example comparing 3 users to The Three Stooges), why is it acceptable that it be modded if the user(s) in question also happen to be mods?

    THIS is a prime example of the 'us vs. them' mindset perpetuated by a portion of the moderating staff.

    I also linked to the classic Thin-Skinned moderators thread, which is interesting and relevant reading.

    http://boards.theforce.net/communications/b10006/755889/
  8. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    It is if you say it is.
  9. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Modding something soley because it was directed at a mod, something that wouldn't have been modded if it was directed at a non mod?

    You don't see that as an 'us and them' type ruling?
  10. rhonderoo Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2002
    star 9
    Without knowing what was edited, was it something like "JCC mods need to be less thin skinned"? Or "Mod A needs to be less thin skinned"? Because I'd agree with the first, since I've been there and learned that particular lesson. :p But maybe if it was the latter, it should have been phrased like the former.
  11. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    My non-pointed answer would be why indeed is is acceptable [your previous post] - why did that happen? Let's find out. Let's do that, but let the regular users not assume the action was taken to preserve some sort of elite status for the mods, and let the mods not assume they shouldn't climb down if necessary. It appears unfortunate, so let's take the stance that it is unfortunate, and not anything more sinister. Wouldn't that be better? I think so.

    Both sides make it hard for the other to take a step back. IMO that's "us and them". It's the idea that "man, the other side is so totally wrong I'm gonna jump all over them". By coming in and automatically claiming "us and them!" "us and them!", you almost make that the default position. You make an "us" and you make a "them".



    EDITS: Aaaaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.
  12. GIMER Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2000
    star 6
    I agree with blue boy.
  13. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    I think it becomes "us vs. them" when we truly become detached from each other. In a summary of all the points brought up here, I think it stems from a lack of communication between the two groups. A detachment in the sense that there is no more communication or that one group feels intimidated by the other.

    Mods can't be open with everything, but I think a more open attitude is necessary. An inviting attitude really. I'd rather mods have the attitude of trying to help users rather than the attitude that we have to punish users. Obviously there are times where we have to enforce things, but I'm talking about an overall attitude. You can enforce things and have an affable attitude about it.
  14. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    To be perfectly frank, this isn't the kind of attitude I've been feeling from the administration in general lately.
  15. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Is it possible that there are actually too many mods now? The traffic volume has decreased significantly over the last year or so, yet, as far as I'm aware, mod numbers per forum have stayed constant.

    Perhaps, and this is a left field theory, the mods have way less to do than they used to. So they are perhaps being distracted by fairly trivial matters and/or things in the past that wouldn't have been any concern, because they now feel like they should be doing more?

    Also, more mods with less to do may be contributing to the 'left hand doesn't know what the right is doing' type inconsistent modding.

    So, is it time to rethink the numbers in some forums? I'm not suggesting kicking anyone out, more that when a mod steps down, assess the situation to see if a new mod is actually needed to replace them, rather than just promote someone as a matter of course.
  16. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    Actually, jp, I've been saying that for some time now. Not that mods are "making work" for themselves, but that we have actually increased the number of mods over the years to a point where we probably have more than enough. Most of this has been due to expansion of forums, not increased traffic. I believe the general feeling is that we will let that number drop via attrition. For example, DarthButt stepped down last week, and we do not have plans to add a new mod to CT at this time.
  17. s65horsey Otter-loving Former EUC Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2006
    star 7
    I was under the impression that some of the increase in mods came from the fact that users do want us to still be part of the community. With less mods, that makes it hard to make sure the rules are being followed and still have enough time during the day to actually participate. So with the more mods, and maybe I made this up in my head to have it make sense, but it was so that they'd spend less time on the actual Mod business and more on interacting with the community.

    I know that's how Jello and I work things out in the EUC.
  18. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
    Well, we used to manage modding and being part of the community just fine back in the day when there was heavy traffic. If you're participating, you'll get to see things that need modding attention in due course. You don't need to be out 'patrolling', y'know.

    Thanks for that update 506, I didn't realise Butt had stepped down, and that he wasn't replaced.
  19. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    I think there are alot of variation w/in the community.

    In RPF, Saintheart and myself are in a situation where (probably not unlike Fanfic) we have plenty to do outside of moderating. I welcome not having much to do much, because that means I have the chance to run my own games, implement forum projects, and get to meet the people I moderate through those things. For my forum, the more is definitely the merrier. Allows the load to be spread more thinly between us, and lets us each continue our pre-moderator lives so to say.

    In short, the "writing forums" of RPF and FanFic are unique in that they have the ability to let their mods do more than just moderating. This is why the idea of a polarization is quite foreign to me. In my neck of the woods, knowing who you mod and being apart of the group is the only sure way to success. You'd quite literally be hurting yourself if it wasn't that way.

    -I_H
  20. General Kenobi Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 1998
    star 6
    I knew I shouldn't have encouraged him to copy my poopbrown color. :mad:
  21. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
  22. Jack1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2005
    star 5
    I don't look upon this as a "polarization" per say.

    The mods/managers/admins do not OWN this site. There are rules that the owners of the site entrust them to enforce. I feel not all of them may agree with these things, but if they want to keep the colors and help the site for everyone, they must be enforced.

    I should know, I have a few bannings under my belt and I knew what I was doing when I got them. :p

    You want an example? Flame a mod and see what happens! [face_laugh]


    Kidding ...don't do that.
  23. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    That's good. I mean that in the sense that I want to know about that stuff. I want anyone who feels that way to tell us. Don't keep it to yourself. Part of getting better is receiving opinions from others. I make myself available through PMs, through email and through IMs. It's not difficult to come to me - or another mod - with a concern. Now, what doesn't work are comments that say, "You suck. I hate this rule and I hate you". I can't do anything with that. I'm not saying anyone has said that, I was just coming up with an example to use. What I can do is listen to someone who geniunely wants to tell us what's wrong, where the problem is and what we can do to fix it.

    Butt stepped down after that last MSU was posted. It's going to be in this next one coming out in the next day or so.
  24. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I think there needs to be some general recognition that posting activity has dramatically declined over the past year, especially over the last six months or so. It's probably not going to be coming back (and certainly not to the levels seen from 2001-05). The Mod Squad is too big as it stands now, and I think there needs to be an understanding within the administration that it may be possible to bring stuff into the open that was necessary to keep private in the past.

    This is a relatively small community now. Most people who are active know each other to one degree or another, or at least know of each other. Whatever decisions are made in the future, I think they should be made with the understanding that this is a different kind of JC than has been seen in a very long time, and that the dynamics in play now are worth looking at on their own merits.
  25. harpua Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2005
    star 8
    Also, perhaps revamp the selection process for moderators. Now, I'm not sure what kind of discussion goes on during the selection process, but there are definitely some questions that should be asked when making selections... just to be sure the right person for the "job" is being considered..

    what makes this person special? What stands out? How comfortable is this person with the userbase? What / how does this person contribute? How does this person handle constructive criticism? How does this person deal with conflict? All of these things are important.

    Like KW said above, we are a smaller community now, and it's important for moderators to be connected to the forum. Patrolling and thinking of yourself as "on duty" creates a detachment.... a dividing line, and that's just silly. At the end of the day, we're here in our free time.
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