"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. MaidenLumpe VIP

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2000
    star 3
    I've not payed much attention to mod selections recently, so I don't know how applicable it is, but something like that could happen by making sure that a resignation/nomination doesn't happen at the same time. Posting in an MSU as soon as you know someone is stepping down, and adding a line along the lines of "If you have specific suggestions on who to select in their place, please PM one of the forum mods" could work in cases when you are nominating someone to replace them.
  2. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    I've always seen myself as open to suggestions from other users, and I've acted on almost every single suggestions I've received from users, which has happened pretty frequently whenever we've been looking for a new mod, but most of that is done over IM, so I certainly understand why other users might not see that or feel that. Barring policy change, that's certainly something I can work on.
  3. ObiWan506 Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2003
    star 7
    That's certainly something we can start doing. We've always been open to any suggestions a user might want to give, but perhaps we need to make it known that we're open about it by mentioning it in MSUs.

    I agree that the tone would be better served as less accusatory and more constructive. Everton, Grimby and whoever else said it is right on that point. We respond better to things that are more productive and practical.

    I don't think a surplus of mods is the reason for an 'us v. them' mentality. Now I'm not saying that polarization is good, but there is going to be some level to that idea. Mods are mods and users are users. There are always going to be differences in those two groups because of their inherited capacity. So we can talk about minimizing that perception, but there will always be some sense of 'us v. them'. What I'm really going for is not to avoid it, but to remove the "vs." from that phrase. I'd rather not be two groups that have to fight against each other but rather work together. Communication and a little more openness might be the step in the right direction.
  4. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Besides letting people suggest mod candidates and making reasons for edits clear, which we can do, and demoting unnecessary mods, which we can't (by "we" I mean individual mods; the admins have to do that), what are some other things you guys suggest that the mods do to help avoid polarization?
  5. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    If there is a general consensus that limiting mod tenure is undesirable (which appears to be the case from reading KW's thread) then perhaps there needs to be a more robust MS policy of honest and critical review of mod activity and performance after 12 months or 24 months. There has to be a process whereby deadwood mods are forced out to make room for new blood. I guess this requires action from the head admin. Basically, there should be a presumption that you will serve as a mod for two years and then upon reaching two years, a review will be undertaken to see whether appointing another user as a mod would be detrimental to the forum (ie, the incumbent mod is doing an excellent job and there appears to be a lack of good replacement candidates). If so, then the mod would remain. If not, then the mod's tenure would expire and a replacement would be sought. This way, tenure is not automatically limited but is open to review.

  6. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    I think a lot of us are very much open to suggestions. Sometimes the strictures of confidentality lead us to adopt a party line or overly formal sort of correspondance, but that shouldn't be taken to mean that we're not willing to talk.

    "Sorry, I can't discuss that" doesn't mean "sorry, I won't listen to your opinion on that."

    So with the whole example of mod suggestions, I think we'd happily take PM suggestions. We can't tell you when we're looking for a new mod (although perhaps we might consider putting that thing in an MSU for the sake of transparency--but that's for another discussion) and we can't tell you what we think of various candidates, but that doesn't mean we can't listen to your own feedback.

    I'd be happy (and honestly relieved) if someone PMed me and said "so and so really impressed me with how he/she de√ɬęscalated a tricky thread today, they seem mod material." I'd appreciate the info and the opinion of the users does carry weight with me. And maybe three months down the line I'd get to use that info if we needed to promote someone.

    The same goes for anything. Just because we can't talk about things doesn't mean that you can't--and it doesn't mean we can't talk about other things, either.

    Maybe there's a divide. How much of it is real and how much of it is circumstantial?

    To be honest, the only time I feel the perception of a divide is when there's a questionable mod action going on and some of us have info we can't release to you. That's a toughie because perhaps giving the users background would justify an action completely, but for confidentiality's sake we can't give it. That's definitely a divide, but we can't really do much about it (unless we decide it's okay to talk about users' records, and I don't think people want that).
  7. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9

    I'm fairly open to the first part of the idea, with yearly critical reviews (stricter than we have now). I don't think I'm a big fan of the second part, particularly the "if there are no other good candidates" bit. IMO if a mod is still doing well after two years but there are good candidates in the forum, the mod shoud still be allowed to stay. It seems like a term-limit-esque thing rather than a good review.

    Policy changes/ideas are welcome, but is there anything that you or any others feel that individual mods could do on a day-to-day basis that might minimize a divide? (Basically I'm looking for general ways to decrease polarization, not mod reviews or policy changes that involve big MS discussion because the topic of the thread is about polarization and I don't think mod reviews are the only way to fix that. Though again, those ideas are perfectly welcome.)
  8. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Nothing you do will keep everyone happy and every error in judgment you make (whether small or large) will inevitably provide fuel for threads in Comms for those who like to complain and provide that good ol JCC drama. I think if you stick the basic rule of treating others in the manner in which you would like to be treated then all will be well. On that note, I should add that I have no issues at all with the mods and so I'm really only posting to provide some objectivity
  9. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    While I agree that a moderator should be a presence in their forums, taking only one month of posts can be rather misleading. Just as an example, during the month taken into account and listed here, I made 147 posts, yet I average (if taking the posts I have made in the year 2008 to date) just about 300 posts per month. So the average listed is half of my yearly average. This also includes "green time" for a long distance move and taking time off to be with my new granddaughter. I would feel safe in saying that the members of the forums I mod feel I participate in those forums.

    Like everyone else, moderators can have months when they are extremely busy or something comes up. If they know it will be a long term thing, then they should consider stepping down. Perhaps it would be more fair to average out their posts for a longer period of time (say a year) or their length of moderatorship (whichever is shorter), making note if patterns seem to indicate a long term decline in posting in their forums? And different forums will have varying patterns. Replying in a fan fic forum requires spending the time actually reading the stories and then replying. And we all know how verbose we fan ficcers can be! :p In the JCC, I would think it would be more fast paced. Some forums might simply not be as active.

    To be clear, I don't feel "called out." I'm simply trying to point out that listing the posts for a single month might not be the best way to determine a moderator's activity level in their forums. I'm all for accountability and feel no hesitation in letting my own performance as a moderator be critiqued. If I'm not doing a good job, I want to know.
  10. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    I'd like to say that I haven't felt an us vs them mentality on here compared to other boards I've been on where I've been banned because of the whim or mood of some mod. I'm not sure whether it's because I've posted on here for five years so I've known people before they were mods as well as the mods who have been around here since Jabba was a boy or during the first three years of posting where I was active in the EUDF and it was a sort of modding based around the EU. Fortunately, things are a lot better since the days of the Canon Wars.

    The only time I sensed some sort of divide between users and mods was in 3SA, and that was because the mods in there had to have pretty big guns they were willing to use. Not just with users but all the content that sprang up from all over the place. However, it was very well modded for what it was.

    I see mods on here as users who have a lot more responsibilites as well as the pretty colours that go with it. The more they engage with their respective board, the better and perhaps more will see them that way. And IMHO, some of the best mods have come out of the JCC.
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