|Some quotes to start: |
Sylph, here: Although I think the "Which is okay because of distributed moderation" is actually a bit inaccurate at the moment, given how far we've strayed from actually getting new mods on board. Moderation is in the hands of the few, which is why the many expect that moderators should actually behave differently. After all, if they're not, shouldn't we simply have more mods?
Smoothly, here: Iím not denying that some peoplesí opinions tend to carry more weight than othersí, but it seems to me that this has more to do with their reputation, contribution and an authority derived naturally from a positive and long-standing involvement with the community. Of course thereís some cross-over here, but I think itís their qualities as *posters* that confers them Ďweightí, rather than mod status. I donít think I need to name names to point out that there are lots of posters whose opinions are widely respected but who are not moderators...... I think mods should (and largely do) become moderators *because* they have demonstrated a level of respect in the community; they don't become mods and therefore respected. If that makes sense.
Tom, here: We should be thinking about a more democratic process in the longer term - and you're quite right that maybe we don't need more software to get that in place. Can I propose that people work together to propose non-technology based structures for checking that people are comfortable with the existing moderators and finding structures for proposing new ones. I'd be quite happy setting an arbitrary date (say November 1st) for us to do another revision to the moderators based on whatever process you guys come up with
So, what do we need to consider when checking that people are comfortable with existing mods and then coming up with a structure for proposing new ones? Smoothly talks about people becoming mods because they have 'demonstrated a level of respect within the community', but does it really work like that? Do we need/can we have a way of checking that?
Also, I think it was Sally D who talked about properly distributing the jobs across timezones, in order that requests and problems can be attended to quickly. Is that a requirement we're addressing sufficiently? For example, considering the amount of trolls the forum attracts, it seems crazy to me that the Temple only has the *one* active mod from the across the Atlantic. Books, G&G, Head Shop, Policy, also only have the one American. The Creation, Music have two. And itís often the same names - surely the jobs should be more spread out, if only because if grant, Gridley or Sally D go offline for a few days, weíll be left dead short all over. But other people might have more pressing concerns.
So, what would we want a new process/structure to achieve, and how might we do it with the existing technology?
To get the ball rolling, this is a process for selecting new mods that I suggested in the Results of the Moderation cleaning thread, here:
"Iím suggesting that, when moderator lists need refreshing and re-jigging, thereís a time-scale: a week, a fortnight, a month, and a fairly organised set of stages. The way Iíd have it is with the mechanics of the process being transparent, but keeping the votes and the personal issues confidential. Like this:
* Art_Garfunkle666 puts himself forward to be a mod in The Temple.
* His name is duly added to the list of all prospective Temple mods on the page in the wiki (eg LINK - because the wiki can be so damn helpful if we *want* to use it)
* I am a User Of Barbelith and regular poster in the Temple. I see that list, and I am concerned about the prospect of Art_Garfunkle666 modding the Temple based what happened in [such-and-such a thread] some time, and how they dealt with [this] incident. I write it all down in a pm, with links and everything. Itís a Policy issue about suitability for a particular job, not just having a bitch about personalities, or an opportunity to pursue vendettas against your arch-enemy. If mods commanding the respect of the forum is important, then so is this bit.
* That pm is ccíd to every current Temple mod and to Art_Garfunkle666, so heís aware of and involved in the process. Even if he *does* become a Temple mod, heís aware of the issues that were raised leading up to that appointment. I'm not interested in a system which encourages sneaking atound behind anyone's back.
* Temple mods may know what Iím going on about, may already have their own views one way or another, may not have a clue and want to know more. They may know me to be a loon or a stalker or a Vengeful Little Shit, and treat my opinions accordingly. Any or all of them can pm to ask questions of me and/or Art_Garfunkle666, until theyíve got it straight in their head, enough to form a view.
* At the end of this Ďconsultationí period, all questions have been put, all enquiries answered, the vote occurs: Each current Temple mod looks at the list on the wiki, and arranges the names in the order theyíd like people to be considered. Any views from forum members are kept in mind, but mods aren't obliged to vote according to any concerns theyíve received. They're just being made aware of any relevant feelings that anybody has. A poster saying theyíre not happy isnít in itself enough to torpedo someoneís chances, likewise any expressions of support are relevant, but not decisive or anything. Itís like MPs, who arenít obliged to vote according to the wishes of their constituents - theyíre just aware of the views in their postbag and then apply their own judgement. However, ultimately *this* vote is private, and isnít any more up for public scrutiny than any other moderation vote on barbelith.
* PM this to a nominated person for each forum, who collate these votes and comes up with a definitive, confidential final list for each forum.
* Nominated person for each forum/whoever changes that into the user number/forum number format, sends it to Tom. Tom retains the right to tinker/skip/promote names on the list as he sees fit, without review. If he has feelings of his own about the names on the list, what he thinks overrides everything without question.
* As many new mods as necessary are then drawn from the top of that list.
Thatís the way Iíd suggest we could structure consultation without too much trouble. Not a pristine plan that Iím massively invested in, just the start of an idea, and posted in the desperate home it might be subjected to some kind of Policy kick-around. Címonnnnnn kids.
...Aaaannd just to say, reading back, I realise that a lot of that post was phrased in a certain way because I *was* concerned about specific mod appointments that had just taken place. But, its not just that, and I still think Ďsuitabilityí could be a pretty important consideration when building/expanding moderation structures on barbelith in ways that everyone can be happy with. Iím interested to hear other opinions on this. So, in tandem with this thread about how we expect moderators to behave, can we explore how we might want to evaluate/select/organise our moderators, and find ways to make any such reorganisation a groovy, involving process that leaves posters happy, and fora efficient and harmonious?