Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dicks?

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King Author
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Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dicks?

Postby King Author » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:12 pm UTC

So I was on an RPG forum and got into a bit of a row with someone. I'll admit, I was out of line, I broke the rules (no more than anyone else, but that's an aside). The moderator who said something, though, decided that rather than simply say something like "break it up" or "dudes, check yourselves before you wreck yourselves," she'd spend seven paragraphs making a bitter tirade against me.

Now, I don't have a very big ego, so I laughed it off. But then I had the audacity to ask, "Why only me, though? We were both getting fiery, why didn't you tell us both off?" I was then informed that the other guy got a PM.

So, two people on an internet forum get a bit flamey with each other. One gets a demure PM warning, the other gets publically shat upon. Still, it's no big deal. I've got finals coming up, what do I care what some ego trip moderator says or does?

But then I had the audacity to note that it seems tactless to chew someone out publically on the forum if you're a moderator, that moderators ought to use as much discretion as possible. I say as much as possible because, like, if someone starts posting kiddie porn, they deserve to get shouted out. But in this case, the infraction was mild, and there was more than one guilty party, but the reprimands were handed out unevenly, and tactlessly.

Banned.

Yep. She banned me. But what gets my goat is what I got banned for. It wasn't the fireball me and that other guy were tossing back and forth -- I got banned because I dared question the authority of a Moderator.

This is not an isolated incident. I've dealt with mods like this since I first started using the internet. In fact, I'd say my dealings with moderators in general are marked more often than not by extreme egotism, tactlessness, pettiness and abuse of power. And site admins never seem to give a damn, never seem to be unable to recognize out-of-control mods (which seems like most of them). Even when they do recognize them, they seem completely unwilling to do anything about it.

Another for-instance; another forum I used to visit had a really vicious moderator. She was notorious, everyone hated her, she openly closed topics just because she didn't like them or thought the topic post wasn't up to her standards (the same standards the Pulitzer group uses, apparently), and drove off forum-goers in droves. This was brought to the attention of the admin, who admitted that she was abusing her power and not doing the job a moderator should ideally do, but he said he wasn't going to de-mod her anyway, because, essentially, he didn't want to rock the boat.

So...why are moderators such dicks? And why are admins so dearly afraid of de-modding the criminally insane? It seems to me like a microcosm of politics; 99% of those in power are self-serving, and the higher-ups who put them in power don't like dethroning the clearly-corrupt because they think the public will see it as weakness, as going back on one's word. Those with some power abuse their power, and those with power over them are lazy.

*heavy sigh*

Any thoughts?

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Cane » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:43 pm UTC

Moderators are really just users who have agreed to give up some of their time to clean up other people's shit. And sometimes they get really annoyed at some particular shit, usually because it is the same shit that they clean up time after time. And when they do clean it up, people send them PMs bitching about free speech and censorship and fascism. Cut them some fucking slack. They're not getting paid and they are doing you a service.

They were nice when they posted the rules. If you break the rules, they are probably not going to be as nice. Some of them just are dicks by nature, but I haven't noticed it in a greater percentage than in the general population. Except when provoked. And a lot of users like to provoke them.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:50 pm UTC

I can speak only for myself.

Repostin' from a comment I made in FaiD that kinda applies
Spoiler:
This was in response to a question about giving assistance in Forum Rules.
I wrote:It doesn't matter how explicit you think a rule is. Someone will break it and plead "I didn't think you meant that!" And the sad part is, after a short conversation you realize - they really are that stupid.

FOR EXAMPLE - let's say you have a creative writing forum, and due to people just posting shitty shitty Harry Potter fucks Seven of Nine fanfiction, you make a rule that says "No goddamn fanfiction - Goddamn it people, I'm sick of the freaking Harry fucks Seven shit you assholes keep posting, so knock that shit off. No more fanfiction, you unimaginative fucks."

A few days later, someone posts a fanfiction story where, I don't know, it's just the day in the life of some asshole schmuck on the Babylon 5 station. You chew them out and they respond with "Oh, I thought you just meant erotic fanfiction, like the Harry fucks Seven stuff that was posted"

So you go back and edit the rule to be clearer - "No goddamn fanfiction - Goddamn it people, I'm sick dealing with all of it. Post original stories, not shit based on TV shows and Movies."

So a few days later, someone posts a story based on the Song of Ice and Fire books. "You said TV shows and movies!"

"No goddamn fanfiction - Goddamn it people, I'm sick dealing with all of it. Post original stories, not shit based on TV shows, Movies, books, songs, Newspaper articles, comic strips, comics, webcomics, weblogs, Videoblogs, or anything I missed!"

... a few days later, someone posts a story about Yahtzee reviewing games as a catperson. Possibly even a catgirl. "Final Fantasy has meow gone to shit. Oh, wait, I meownt to say that in Nineteen Ninety Meown!"

You nuke the forum in response.
So that's part of it. People not understanding rules that you thought were crystal clear and leave you wondering how the hell "Don't Post Porn" can be misconstrued and yet there's a person posting porn and saying "It's drawn, so it's not porn. I don't see what the problem is." and being completely serious about it. So you end up with rules more complicated than the US Tax Code - and no one reads them anyway. See - the number of posts started in which someone says in the post "I found an old thread, but didn't want to necro it" even thought the rules here clearly state "Necro the thread."

There's also repetition. Dealing with the same sort of thing over and over and over again and wondering how the hell someone can be so stupid as to not remember the last time someone tried this shit and only in retrospect realizing the people involved in the conflagration joined a good six months after the incident you're citing as "Don't you remember what happened last time, fucksticks?!"

Moderators are human. Any anger and fury dealt out in a lengthy arse-chewing post is gone.. so when it comes time to chew out the "other" person involved, you're left with a "Hey... knock that off" ... which is why I try not to even address issues until I've stopped giving a shit.

But really, it all boils down to Moderators are People, almost always Volunteers at that. Sometimes Mods are chosen after a careful debate among the Administrative staff, sometimes mods are chosen by the "First seven people to PM me get to be mods!" method. Many forums that are just starting out grant Mod status to users who are the most active. Once you've given someone Moderatorship, it's often hard or impossible to take it away without causing a bigger shitfest than just leaving the shitty mod in place.

Really, if a place's mods are being dicks... leave. The Internet's a big ass-place, and no matter the topic, you can find another place discussing it with the same level of detail.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:58 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Moderators are human.

Or a close approximation thereof.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:01 pm UTC

If it walks like a person, talks like a person, and tastes like a person, it's probably a person. Or I Can't Believe It's Not People, which cannibals prefer to Soylent Green nearly 5 to 1 in a blind taste test.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby pseudoidiot » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:12 pm UTC

Or Hufu.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Jacque » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:39 pm UTC

Because, on the average, a good amount of users of any one forum are idiots. GUARANTEED. And dealing with idiots and the problems they create, day in and day out, tends to start to suck after a while. Tempers get short.

And really, it's so easy (oh so easy) to be a dick to people on the internet whom you never have to physically interact with.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Robstickle » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

As one forum I lurk puts it...

1. THIS IS OUR HOUSE
You are our guests. We will make all attempts to treat everyone with due respect and to accommodate everyone's wishes as far as reasonably possible. But, this is a private site. We are not a "for profit" enterprise. We are not funded by any governments. This means we run the site the way we see fit. We are not obligated to observe anyone's notions of "free speech" or even "fairness." We try of course, and that's why we're consistently considered one of the best gaming sites on the web, and you are always free to give us suggestions (Website Feedback Forum). But, we have our limits. If we don't like you, we simply IP ban you. If we're really pissed off, then we IP ban you AND nuke every single post you've uploaded to the site - ever. It will be as if you had never existed here. This is our house. You've been warned.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby modularblues » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

I see control issues.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby suffer-cait » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:24 pm UTC

i believe if all mods are dicks to you, but all mods are not dicks to everyone else, it must be you.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Adacore » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:43 pm UTC

Moderators are highly variable depending on the forum. On some fora they can be dicks, but I find on the majority of fora they're just overworked people who are volunteering to clear up unreasonably large amounts of shit to make the experience better for the rest of the forumites.

One problem with the internet, as well, is that it's quite hard to judge someone quickly. If a user breaks a rule, you can't tell whether that user did it deliberately, or is just an idiot, or if (s)he has a good reason for violating that rule in this particular instance. As a mod, when a user PMs you querying your decision (which, I'm guessing, must happen all the frakking time on busy fora), you don't know if it's an innocent query or someone itching to start an argument and assail the mod with torrents of abuse. I know I've seen moderator decisions on almost every forum I've been in that I've disagreed with, but I'd rarely query them.*

*The only exception to that is when a mod declares I've broken a rule and I don't have the first clue what I did wrong, so I ask for clarification so I can avoid making the same mistake again - this can get mixed reactions, varying from a polite explanation to a prompt banning.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Azrael » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:04 pm UTC

suffer-cait wrote:i believe if all mods are dicks to you, but all mods are not dicks to everyone else, it must be you.

I think someone made a poster about that.


King Author wrote:... that moderators ought to use as much discretion as possible.
I'm not condoning the alleged excessive browbeating you received, but in addressing your overall point rather than the specifics of one particular argument on the internet:

Sure, that's your opinion about how a moderator should handle things, but it's about as useful as a student's opinion about whether a teacher should use the Socratic method, or which MBA program philosophy an employee thinks their boss should use to conduct a business meeting. If you're a teacher or a boss someday, feel free to apply it. If it's actively harmful, elevate the matter as appropriate (think Principal or HR, not shouting about in the cafeteria). But otherwise it's pretty much time to sit down and shut up about it in the class or the meeting. In both of those examples, the very basic truth involved is that someone has to be in charge, and it's not you.

I'll point out that you're suffering from the typical problems with large generalizations, as well as confirmation bias. It's not hard to see that, with a few notable exceptions, the rest of the moderation staff here is incredibly nice. But, if we're going to generalize: Around the whole internet, everybody is a dick.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Nova » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

Moderators are dicks because they have to be, sometimes. I'm a modmin (weird hybrid) on another forum, and I've learned that absolutely anything I do will anger someone, including doing nothing at all. So, I may as well do what I think is best. Sometimes this means showing someone the door, but that's part of the duty I volunteered for, so I cannot be shy about doing that duty.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:35 pm UTC

Because they are on the internet, and people on the internet are dicks.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Cloud Walker » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:41 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Really, if a place's mods are being dicks... leave. The Internet's a big ass-place, and no matter the topic, you can find another place discussing it with the same level of detail.


Or just lurk. Set up a new account to do so, if necessary.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Wallydraigle » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Most people who seek out positions of power are the kind of people who would abuse it. It's the same in online government as it is in IRL government. And that's just how it's always been.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Cynical Idealist » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:21 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:If it walks like a person, talks like a person, and tastes like a person, it's probably a person. Or I Can't Believe It's Not People, which cannibals prefer to Soylent Green nearly 5 to 1 in a blind taste test.

I really wish I had room in my sig for this.

Also, my favorite catchall rule is this:
* Don't be such a douche that we have to add more rules.


(That's after generic "avoid personal attacks, label NSFW threads & links, avoid religion and politics because you'll just piss people off" rules. It's a small forum, and not open access, so very general rules suffice)
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Sungura » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

Well, they aren't, so your question is wrong in the first place.
I'm on two forums. The other I question the admin a lot but the mods are pretty nice in general.
This one I like our mods and admins (<3 hammer!) bunches, I've formed friendships with a couple even. A few mods, sure, I'm not so much a fan of, but so what? Personalities are different irl and internet.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Aaeriele » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:42 pm UTC

I think confirmation bias has a lot to do with it.

You never really pay attention when the mods are being nice, because they're not going out of their way to say "HI, I'M MODERATING YOU BUT I'M BEING REALLY, REALLY NICE ABOUT IT" - after all, they're trying to be nice. :P

You only notice when a moderator goes out of their way to say "you stepped over the line here, and we are not happy."
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:56 pm UTC

Wallydraigle wrote:Most people who seek out positions of power are the kind of people who would abuse it.

True, which is why here, like probably many other forums, the fastest way to make sure you never become a mod is to ask to become a mod.

Aaeriele wrote:I think confirmation bias has a lot to do with it.

You never really pay attention when the mods are being nice, because they're not going out of their way to say "HI, I'M MODERATING YOU BUT I'M BEING REALLY, REALLY NICE ABOUT IT" - after all, they're trying to be nice. :P

You only notice when a moderator goes out of their way to say "you stepped over the line here, and we are not happy."

In other words, "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:17 am UTC

I don't think the mods are dicks. I like them. Like there was that one time I was trying to make a post, but I didn't know what I was doing. No matter what I did it wouldn't work. I just sat there feeling confused, lost, and isolated. But then a moderator came up behind me, and put his arms around me, and he carried me somewhere that was safe, warm, and comfortable. At least, I think it was a moderator. He looked Mexican.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby scienceroboticspunk » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:36 am UTC

I think moderators do a great job and are really under appreciated. On these forums for a game a long time ago, I spammed a lot and the mods handled it perfectly. Mods deal with a lot of shit and I'd offer to be a mod just to help out a community cause mod jobs are really hard. Just think for a second, is dealing with your own problems on the internet easy?
Now immagine having to deal with everyones and have the pressure to make the perfect decision, and volenteering to do it.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Raeluna » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:57 am UTC

As a site admin/mod on another busy fora, allow me to explain why we often let power-hungry/dickish mods run around.

When people get into a position of power, a lot of times they let it go to their heads and yeah, they DO pick on members sometimes. Sure, I could strip their mod status - even ban/delete them if I really wanted to, but unless they're being a total psycho, I'm going to for the most part, leave them be. I might talk to them, let them know t knock off the shit, but chances are good I won't actually boot them from their shiny mod chair. Why? Because booting them will draw a shit-storm not ONLY from that person, but from their friends and the people who supported what they were doing. Then you get into the realm of being called biased, a dictator, evil, what about free speech, you controlling bitch/bastard, you're taking away all our fun, etc etc. Site Admin (at least on my fora) are essentially god. We can do whatever we want to the site and the members because its our site. I get even more PMs about drama and cleaning up steaming piles than the mods do, and after dealing with all the members shit-storms all the time, I REALLY don't want to delve into the horrible realm of decommissioning a mod. Because like I said, unless they're being truly psycho, it is not worth the days (and possibly WEEKS) of drama-rama that will follow.

Apologies to anyone who's ever had their ass chewed into hamburger by a rogue mod, but yeah. :/
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Sleekgiant » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:06 am UTC

suffer-cait wrote:i believe if all mods are dicks to you, but all mods are not dicks to everyone else, it must be you.


This, this, this, 100% this. I know moderators personally on other sites and they are some of the coolest people on there, its all about your attitude and the way you present yourself while posting. If you come out actin' a fool(oh yeah I used that phrase) then of course your gonna get some wrath, or in other cases, hit on the head with the banhammer. If you stay respectful while posting though, things go a lot more smoothly for everyone on the site.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Chicostick » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:33 am UTC

There's occasionally dickish mods. But most of the time I feel mods are fully justified in being dicks. They're volunteers doing a thankless job that involves dealing with things like trolls and morons all the time. And then having some snappy bastard come back and complain about some sort of minor punishment? I'd ban em too. Being a member of a forum isn't in your "natural rights." I consider it an arrangement where you are always there only at the consent of the mods. If you break the rules and piss them off and they kick you, well I guess you shouldn't have broken the rules then huh?

If you break a rule and you KNOW you are breaking a rule, don't be surprised if you get caught. And don't start whining saying "waah these OTHER people are doing it too!!!" That's like someone confronted with a speeding ticket saying "other people speed too!" Mods are only people, and they can only enforce the rules some of the time. But the idea is there that if they call YOU out for breaking a rule, then don't whine about it cause it's your own fault.

If you have a problem with a mod, bringing it up in a polite way is fine. But if you're questioning an explicit rule that's in front of you just because you are mad you got caught, to bad.

I have met far more nice mods than dickish mods. If most of the mods you've met are dicks, then you might want to take a look in the mirror.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Poochy » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:41 am UTC

To quote Douglas Adams, It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

Any site will have a bunch of power-hungry, egomaniacal, know-nothing know-it-alls who try to get mod positions so they can rule over others. It's the same with any position of power, really - look at all the crap about corrupt politicians, police, religious leaders (especially cults), and so on. You can only hope that the admins ban them for being idiots instead of rewarding them with mod positions for their constant sucking up.

Of course, much like the aforementioned groups, you'll also have plenty of people who have the best intentions; it's just the worst 20% or so who give the rest a bad name. But every sufficiently big site gets a metric buttload of idiots who don't read the rules, more idiots who insist everybody who disagrees with them is delusional, and even more idiots who... well, you get the idea. In my personal experience, at least 1/3rd of the human population is insufferably stupid like that, and I consider that a conservative estimate. Anyways, those who aren't corrupt and power-hungry tend to end up feeling like Liz Lemon. Dealing with idiots constantly will make nearly anyone cynical and snarky.

The solution: Remember Sturgeon's Revelation: 90% of everything is crud. So if you're at a site with crappy mods, just go somewhere else in hopes of finding a site in the other 10%.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Vandole » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:47 am UTC

I have to echo so much, so much what gmalivuk has said. Good moderation should be discreet if at all possible. I imagine that the majority of moderation goes through pm or other private channels.

As for getting a surprisingly heavy response, some mods really don't like being challenged. I can see why - it'd be similar to being caught speeding and demanding the police officer justify why you should travel the speed limit. At some point there is a tone or phrasing they switch to which says "This is my authority voice. Obey, and don't bother me." On xkcd it's the red text. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when someone is fed up online and you end up going too far. (especially since they could be fed up before you even got there)

Also, you might have reminded them of a previous problem user. If you wrote similarly as well they might have decided you were a sock puppet. Or you mentioned something which the mod has decided (s)he has no tolerance for. I know that there have been a few troublesome topics around here that I doubt the mods would enjoy seeing again - people asking about the cheesegraters comes to mind from mod chaos, and I recall a discussion about grinding with random strangers that did not resolve easily, and I think something from a long time ago about a user who vehemently defended "the ladder theory" as fact and insulted people in the process.

One of the more interesting systems (Which has since been removed, sadly) was the meta-moderation system for GameFAQs. Basically, any user in good standing could review random decisions made by mods and rate the harshness and suitability of the response. However, due to the huge lack of moderators on gameFAQs it was essentially a hive of scum and villainy anyway. No idea what it's like now that cNet took over - I'm guessing still pretty dumb but maybe more civil. It strikes me as an interesting way to get feedback from the userbase though.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby ian » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:15 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Wallydraigle wrote:Most people who seek out positions of power are the kind of people who would abuse it.

True, which is why here, like probably many other forums, the fastest way to make sure you never become a mod is to ask to become a mod.

Aaeriele wrote:I think confirmation bias has a lot to do with it.

You never really pay attention when the mods are being nice, because they're not going out of their way to say "HI, I'M MODERATING YOU BUT I'M BEING REALLY, REALLY NICE ABOUT IT" - after all, they're trying to be nice. :P

You only notice when a moderator goes out of their way to say "you stepped over the line here, and we are not happy."

In other words, "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

Apart from in mod madness time of course.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Low Caliber » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:38 am UTC

I find the biggest problem with mods to be that when someone is out of line they feel and they are pissed off, they just want to explode and make fun of the person, rather then simply deleting the relevant part of the post and pming the person with why that was not allowable. It is funny when it happens to someone else, but the offender has no way of defending himself in that the mod can just keep coming down on them. I understand that mods are only human but they still need to be held to significantly higher standards then the average forum-goer. Perhaps if there was the voting system suggested earlier, or perhaps two moderators of differing attitudes for every forum who would place temporary blocks, on topics and posts before they enacted a punishment allowing them time to consult, it might work better.

after all Waaaaaaaaaah

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Aetius » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:20 am UTC

I was once on a forum where I was "permanently banned" and unbanned no less than six times, because one mod hated me and one mod favored me. That place was a clusterfuck of moderation, and it eventually split the board in half.

Compared to that, even the shitty mods don't seem half so bad anymore. Round these parts I've found the moderation to be a little above average (with the caveat that Hammer is truly spectacular). The best moderated site I've seen, especially considering the volume they deal with, is the official Star Wars messageboards.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Hawknc » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:13 am UTC

The culture of the place set down by the owner or admins has a lot to do with the quality of moderation. I used to mod a very small part of a very large fan site, and it suffered terribly from the restrictive "family-friendly", shit-scared-of-pissing-off-George-Lucas'-lawyers mentality that was disseminated from the top down. It resulted in some accordingly stupid policies and promotion of people who were happy to enforce them after other mods left.

Now, with that said...mods are just people. Most of the time they're friends of the admin or other mods. They very rarely have any experience or training in conflict resolution and as such, when conflicts break out, they can be not great at handling them. There's not much of a way around that except to find sites where this is a minimal issue.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Cloud Walker » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:19 am UTC

Other posts above me have spurred me to say that, in my nearly 10 years of forum participation, most of the mods I've encountered have been exceptional. In some cases they're even people I looked up to.

Which made it all the harder for me when I was asked to be a mod (and, eventually, a "super mod") of a forum I frequented. I took the job, of course, to help out. But I made my insecurities known. I wasn't able to be around all the time, and I wasn't sure if I could exercise judgment in the best possible accordance with the site's goals. When a veteran mod stepped in to handle a situation in my territory, I apologized to my peers and superiors for my shortcoming. They reassured me and all that, but still. This was built upon an (accurate, without a doubt) image of mods going a damn good job.

So I'd say you (OP) encountered the wrong person or the wrong day, or some mixture thereof. And maybe you, if you cared, were lacking a bit of tact. But the caring part comes hand in hand with respectable moderation, so that's a less sure point.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:33 am UTC

Vandole wrote:Good moderation should be discreet if at all possible.

I've made six subtle changes to random words in random posts within this thread. If you find words that don't quite seem right, or have a letter wrong somewhere, make a note of what the letter *should* be. That letter corresponds to a number (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.) and once you have found all six incorrect letters, put them in place of the hashes in the following code, (the order should be the same as you find them) and visit the specific post, for a pleasant surprise!

Code: Select all

http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?p=#######
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Kaelri » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:05 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:I've made six subtle changes to random words in random posts within this thread. If you find words that don't quite seem right, or have a letter wrong somewhere, make a note of what the letter *should* be. That letter corresponds to a number (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.) and once you have found all six incorrect letters, put them in place of the hashes in the following code, (the order should be the same as you find them) and visit the specific post, for a pleasant surprise!

It is infuriatingly remarkable that a quick scan of the thread turned up only four distinct misspellings. Well done, xkcders.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:14 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:
Vandole wrote:Good moderation should be discreet if at all possible.

I've made six subtle changes to random words in random posts within this thread. If you find words that don't quite seem right, or have a letter wrong somewhere, make a note of what the letter *should* be. That letter corresponds to a number (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.) and once you have found all six incorrect letters, put them in place of the hashes in the following code, (the order should be the same as you find them) and visit the specific post, for a pleasant surprise!

Code: Select all

http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?p=#######


Is it cheating to guess where that links due to the number of hash marks?
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Felstaff » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:35 am UTC

Of course not. Knowing that there are seven hashmarks reduces the number of possibilities to a paltry 1,123,206 posts.
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Hammer » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:28 pm UTC

Just as a side note: When people have written me angry messages berating me for doing a particular thing, I've found that the reasons and personality traits they have assigned to me, and are subsequently furious with me about, are almost always inaccurate. People tend to find my actual reasons for taking particular mod actions much less infuriating than the ones they make up for me. :)
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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby Azrael » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Vandole wrote:Good moderation should be discreet if at all possible.

I pretty much disagree completely, because the scarlet letter works, and has lots of benefits:

1) Transparency: When it's all out in the open, everyone can judge consistency and fairness. Of course, there has to be a remediation method, or else transparency has no purpose.
2) Notification: It's no secret that people fail at reading forum rules, and fail even farther at understanding that rules actually apply to them personally. The more times they see that a behavior is an infraction, and that discipline is the result, the more likely they not do it.
3) Shame: Shame or embarrassment are incredibly powerful motivators. It's why all of you want your spankings to be in private, after all. And you shouldn't forget that what ever it is that you've said or done, you've said or done in full public view on an archived/archivable medium.

There are, quite obviously limits: Long winded and personal berating or tirades are obviously unacceptable, lots of things need to just get swept away quietly without creating a fuss or increasing visibility, and formal warnings aren't public knowledge.

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby broken_escalator » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

I agree with the thought that moderation should be transparent. Makes it a lot simpler to figure out what is or is not tolerated. Y'know, aside from reading the rules.

Azrael wrote:3) Shame: Shame or embarrassment are incredibly powerful motivators. It's why all of you want your spankings to be in private, after all.

We can get private spankings? :D

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Re: Why, around the whole internet, are moderators such dick

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:19 pm UTC

Low Caliber wrote:Waaaaaaaaaah

Hammer.

You got a problem with that?
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