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 Topic: * Some of My Thoughts on Moderation - Please Read *add this topic to your watch listrecommend to PUBLISH this topicrecommend to REMOVE this topic 
WatchOle
StaffAggie12th Man Donor
posted 2:20p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



All,

Based on a conversation in another thread, I have put together some thoughts on the moderation of this site.

Before we get into an in-depth discussion about moderation on this site. Let me share with you some site statistics so that you guys can better understand the moderating task at hand. These aren’t shared to provide an excuse for poor moderation, but only to insure that we are discussing the task of moderating this site from the same foundation. Here we go:

Forum Participation in the Last Month:
Number of users that participated: 4938
Number of unique individuals that read the forums: approx. 23,000

Forum Content Generated in the Last Month:
Average post length in words: 32
Number of posts created: 240,000
Number of words posted: approx. 7,680,000
Length of average novel: 100,000 words
Number of “novels” posted last month: approx. 76.8

First, holy crap! That’s actually much more than I had anticipated!! Second, this should give us all a better idea what the moderators are up against.

Keep in mind that all the moderators are volunteers and they are successful, busy people in their offline lives (I am the only individual employed by TexAgs, started in Oct ’05, and my time is consumed running all other aspects of the site). Asking them to read through 77 novels each month and separate the acceptable from the unacceptable is a very tall order. Pile on top the demands of doing so judiciously, consistently, and in a timely fashion and you pass up the realm of possibility very quickly (at novel 20 ).

So, armed with the above information to help us understand the scope of moderating this site, let’s talk a little about moderation:

The Basics
First, I believe moderation of this site is very necessary for its survival. I’m not sure that many would argue with that belief, but for the sake of completeness, I will start with that. I don’t know how many of you were around in the days of gobig12.com, but it was a completely unmoderated forum and it was a complete disaster. Many sites were born out of that disaster, the first, and most successful , being this one. Seven years later we are still going strong and growing daily.

Second, two principles guide the moderation of this site. The first of these is personal conviction – my personal conviction. Because I am charged with running this site, I view it is an extension of myself. Every now and again I tell someone in the real world that I own and run this thing called TexAgs – I want to be proud of that. That said, there are certain things that I feel are not acceptable under any circumstances (porn, inappropriate sexual humor, personal attacks, spamming, etc.) no matter what financial or other intangible gain could be had.

The second guiding principle is success (which includes financial). I want this site to be the best at what we do and one important component to this is maximizing participation. I want as many to enjoy reading, posting, and interacting on this site as possible. Why? Because the more that participate, the more entertaining, relevant, and valued the site becomes. It is a self-feeding cycle that has mushroomed this site into arguably one of the best sites of its kind.

The effort to maximize participation influences the moderation as we (the moderators) try to shape the content into something that our broad audience wants to read and participate in.

Micro versus Macro
The average poster thinks about moderation on a micro level: what I can or cannot post, why I was banned (and not another), etc. It is usually centered around them. This is understandable, as it directly affects the individual.

However, back away with me for a second and consider moderation at the macro level – where we as moderators operate. Our job as moderators is to provide an environment where fruitful discussion can exist among thousands of individuals – and be read by thousands upon thousands more.

As indicated already, we had nearly 5,000 posters participate last month (and there are months when we have higher participation) – that’s like filling up Rudder Auditorium twice and handing everyone a microphone. Because of this, our moderating policies (what is and is not acceptable) have to strike a balance between individual freedom and the communal good (what’s best for the forum as a whole). This place wouldn’t survive if we weren’t constantly working to achieve this balance.

I think it is important for all of us (as posters) to understand that we are participants of a much larger community – and post responsibly.

Being Consistent
As evident from feedback from you all, consistency is one of our biggest challenges. Of all the moderating criticisms I think this is the most valid. However, let’s first dispel the idea that perfect consistency is achievable - it’s not. There are too many factors working against us: we can’t be on the forums all the time, there is an enormous amount of content being posted, it’s not possible to follow every subplot in the daily soap-operas, moderation by different moderators can vary slightly, different policies for different boards, situational flexibility, moderator humanity, etc. So, let’s replace “consistency” with “more consistent” - that’s achievable.

So, in that light, I think the following items would help us be “more consistent”:

First, we need to publish a more thorough list of posting policies. A more thorough list of policies would detail more clearly what is and is not acceptable on the forums. There is too much ambiguity in the current user agreement that lends itself to inconsistency (or, at the very least, perceived inconsistency). We will work on this new policy list.

Second, we need to improve our communication with posters regarding moderation issues. Even if it is an automated “canned” response as to the reason for a ban would be helpful. I’m still not on board with the penalty box, but maybe there is something in the middle that can implemented.

And that’s moderation 101. Thoughts?

Brandon ‘95



[This message has been edited by WatchOle (edited 3/9/2006 2:35p).]


65532ag
user level: LegendAgTag EXPIRING soon!Premium Level Supporter
posted 2:26p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



okay Ill behave

[This message has been edited by 65532ag (edited 3/9/2006 2:49p).]


mitch-a-palooza
user level: Legend
posted 2:27p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply





NeuroticAg
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:27p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Perhaps you need more moderators?

guitman17
user level: Legend
posted 2:28p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



wow. i actually read the whole thing. i dont have a problem with the moderation of the site. i like that every poster doesn't have a picture of some random event underneath their name tag - on other sites it get confusing. so, i keep coming back. but im still not gonna pay. you can take the ad revenue from all the hits i prodive you with.

rhoswen
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:28p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



That's what I was thinking. I stopped paying because of the viciousness of people here. If I wanted to hear that, I'd call my sister.

Burdizzo
user level: LegendAggieVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:29p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



I think WatchOle should communicate more often with the posters. It migh cut down on the whiners who get banned and then create a million differetn sockpuppets. sockpuppets are dumn.

Rex Racer
user level: LegendAggieFifth C Fine Jewelry Customer12th Man DonorPremium Level Supporter
posted 2:30p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



You can moderate this site however you choose, man. If people don't like it, they don't have to come here. It really is that simple.

HvilleAggie
user level: Hall of FamerAggie12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorPremium Level Supporter
posted 2:30p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



i dont have a lot of experience on other sites, but i've been very pleased with my experiences on this one. thanks for making it great Brandon!

AggieBusDriver
user level: Hall of FamerAggie12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorPremium Level Supporter
posted 2:31p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Where's my Ag Tag?!?!

Just kidding.


Old Style
user level: LegendAgTag EXPIRING soon!
posted 2:32p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



quote:
First, we need to publish a more thorough list of posting policies. A more thorough list of policies would detail more clearly what is and is not acceptable on the forums. There is too much ambiguity in the current user agreement that lends itself to inconsistency (or, at the very least, perceived inconsistency). We will work on this new policy list.

Please!


Burdizzo
user level: LegendAggieVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:32p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



By the way, this thread might have more effect if the title were bolded, and the post was accentuated with a clap of thunder, like IIIhorn

65532ag
user level: LegendAgTag EXPIRING soon!Premium Level Supporter
posted 2:32p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Having said that this is the best site of its kind brandon, you are doing great. I would like to say that I like the penalty box idea if it is possible, maybe a texags most unwanted list or something of that nature.

CDUB98
user level: LegendAggieFifth C Fine Jewelry Customer12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:32p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Cliff notes please.

94DallasAG
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:33p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Good Lord, that was a long post. Cliff notes please.

CDUB98
user level: LegendAggieFifth C Fine Jewelry Customer12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:34p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



I do like the site Brandon. Thanks for creating it and keeping it up.

My company does not thank you though.


94DallasAG
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:34p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Darn you CDUB!

(please notice the use of unoffensive language)


Cru
user level: LegendHonorary AggieFifth C Fine Jewelry Customer12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorPremium Level Supporter
posted 2:35p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



I agree with Racer, but Racer, he asked for feedback, we gave it.


I more thorough list of "unappropriate" actions is a great start, and make sure all the MODS read it.


CDUB98
user level: LegendAggieFifth C Fine Jewelry Customer12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:36p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



94DallasAG - DUBpwnd

Jersey Girl
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:39p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



what!!?? No mention of my thread-labeling-pic-posting idea?

*stalks off in disgust*


PS: great job B! I agree that more communication from "Moderators" like this one help remind posters who can get out of hand that there really are human beings behind this site.


AggieHMF
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:40p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



CUwhenitburns says that he loves Fran and he is sorry. He will be sure to read the new posting guideline when they go up.

I think that's really necessary and will solve a lot of problems. It's too often that we try to figure out why he got banned...

P.S. Macks feels discriminated against on the rivalries board. I hope this problem can be resolved b/c we all want him to be happy.



[This message has been edited by AggieHMF (edited 3/9/2006 2:46p).]


bigjohn1
user level: Hall of FamerAggiePremium Level Supporter
posted 2:40p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



I agree with the message and have no problem with the moderation of the board.

I agree, though, that having a published list of acceptable and unacceptable posts would help greatly in both your job as moderator and our enjoyment as users.

And, most importantly, the list should be a living document, being edited and updated as needs dictate.


65532ag
user level: LegendAgTag EXPIRING soon!Premium Level Supporter
posted 2:43p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



In the aggies only forum you let us ask questions so you could answer. Why dont you do that and bold and sticky it to the top of this board. I think each forum has different moderation practices so a question thread at the top for a week or so would be good.

Burdizzo
user level: LegendAggieVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:44p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



I think most of these problems could be solved if posters were required to read the current posting policy and take a test on it every month.

Some people just get carried away with themselves and don't recognize what morons they are being.


94DallasAG
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:47p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



May I assume that posting porn on this thread would be a bad idea?

NeuroticAg
user level: LegendAggie
posted 2:51p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



quote:
Number of words posted: approx. 7,680,000
Length of average novel: 100,000 words
Number of “novels” posted last month: approx. 76.8


20 bucks says 75% of this is from the R&P and B&P boards.


CDUB98
user level: LegendAggieFifth C Fine Jewelry Customer12th Man DonorAssociation of Former Students DonorVarsity Level Supporter
posted 2:54p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Agreed NA

George Jefferson
user level: Hall of Famer
posted 2:54p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Great job, B!


You can count me as one who supports the penalty box idea.


compartido
user level: Legend
posted 2:54p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Definitely make an effort to highlight the differences in moderation policies between boards.

Know It All
user level: Legend
posted 2:57p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



B, If you want me to be a moderator, all you had to do was ask. You didn't need to come up with this thread, just ask me directly.


Seriously though, I think I speak for a lot of us when I say this is a good site. It has its problems, but those are inevitable. I like that you are doing what you can to improve...thats all we can ask.





Ag2005
user level: Hall of FamerAggie
posted 2:58p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



quote:
And, most importantly, the list should be a living document, being edited and updated as needs dictate.


I definitely agree. And thanks for all your work, B. I don't know what I'd do all day without this site...well, other than be a more productive worker.


aggiebylegacy
user level: LegendBasic Level Supporter
posted 3:00p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



For every naysayer, there are a lot of us who are behind you 100%, Brandon. I appreciate someone who has certain values and making a stand. Do not be swayed - keep up the good work.

abc: If you think texags is vicious, you'd better stay away from the other sandboxes.


rhoswen
user level: LegendAggie
posted 3:01p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



There's a reason you don't see me in other sandboxes.

Matt in DFW
user level: Legend
posted 3:16p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



Brandon, this site is still top notch no matter what you decide. That being said, I need to be a member of staff, I think it would ensure that I don't get banned as much and would reduce my emails of asking why.

bkellyslim
user level: Hall of Famer
posted 3:25p, 03/09/06this user's public profilesend private message to useredit this replyobject to this reply



i fell asleep with my eyes open while reading that first time thats ever happened to me. i blame know it all

 
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