Some of you will be aware that some time we conducted a bit of a feedback review with a cross section of site members via pm. This feedback covered a range of issues from the last fanzine that we published, the front page, forum competitions and the moderation of the site. Some changes have already been implemented following this feedback, such as the creation of a separate ‘Other Footy’ and ‘Banter’ forums and the updating of ‘stickeyed’ topics.
got around (mainly coz we couldn’t be arsed) to reviewing the rest of the feedback, particularly to do with TW’s apparent moderation policy. Of all of the people who were asked to provide their feedback, about 30 in total responded with their views on modding. I’ve tried to highlight the main points below, and provided a response as appropriate.
1. Why is swearing modded? (4%)
The swearing filter is implemented because, like it or not, we have members of all age ranges and we must therefore take the necessary steps to curb the excessive use of abusive and foul language. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. Having the swear filter also means it helps reduce the potential for the personal abuse of individual members – although the more sharp witted will obviously find away around it!
2. The modding is good / relaxed / quick / firm and fair. (57%)
3. Some mods can be a bit arsey about new threads. (4%)
True. We make no apologies for this. One of the main reasons for having mods (apart from stamping out infighting and spamming) is to ensure that the forums are easy to navigate. A new poster seeing five seemingly identically related threads (the Stelios factor, as we like to call it), can be off putting. Therefore, we ask that members have a quick look (by using the search function if necessary) to see if their intended topic has been posted before. It only takes a jiffy and saves us work!
3. Occasionally heavy handed, but usually fair. (4%)
Them’s the breaks. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to get heavy handed in certain situations. We either mod, or we don’t. There isn’t much of a middle ground, I’m afraid.
4. Modding is kept to a minimum with explanations often given for locking threads, etc. (4%)
5. Modding isn’t strong enough / infighting isn’t stamped on quickly enough and personal abuse of some members is allowed to endure. (14%)
This is pretty much our biggest challenge at present. We’re caught between Gartside and his fax machine on this one – if we rush in two early we’ll be accused of being draconian. Too late and we’ve not interceded quickly enough. We do this voluntarily and, therefore, we cannot man the boards 24/7. For this reason, some infighting / personal abuse goes unchecked. We do try to stamp on this type of thing as soon as we can!
Whenever personal abuse starts, we send a pm to both parties asking them to back-off / cool down. Most of the time this works. If things continue then we send a second pm, warning them that if their behaviour continues we will instigate a short-term ban (either a day or a week depending on the nature of the abuse and whether this kind of thing has happened before with the poster in question). If things continue, then they get a short-term ban. If they come back and things pretty much continue where they left off then a further warning is given quickly followed by a longer ban. All of this goes on in the background – we don’t see the need to advertise a poster’s ‘warnings’ or ‘banishment’ publicly. We feel that, in the mean, we give people every opportunity to back down and we try to be as fair as possible.
6. Modding is a difficult balance but seems to be better than on other forums. (9%).
And that’s about it. I hope the above goes someway towards allaying peoples concerns about TW’s modding policy, and demonstrates how open we try to be about it.
One other comment that was made, by a member who will remain nameless as I am sure he / she doesn’t want it advertised, was of much interest and probably outlines a fair few feelings on the forums:
Moderating and site admin are difficult positions, and I tend not to offer opinions on something I haven’t tried to do. Often we don’t know why moderators have done something, or even that something was done at all. Posts disappear, even posters fall off the face of the earth whether of their own volition or not. I’m sure the moderators – the clique if you will – know and discuss all these things, but they are a great mystery to we general posters. Is this a good approach or a bad one? I’m not sure. Personally, I am curious as to who is banned and why but perhaps I have no right to know.
One problem of censoring posts (and it happened to me) was that subsequent remarks on the same thread took on the character of non sequitur and could make posters look a little silly. My post was deleted, as I understand it, because it quoted someone else saying something objectionable. The ‘objectionable’ poster was allowed to modify their post while my thoughts on the subject were lost. Still, just a minor matter.
The site seems to run smoothly most of the time so I guess the moderators are doing a good job. There is a perception amongst the general posters that one individual is favoured by the mods and allowed to carry on with impunity, while other lesser fish are stamped on. I can understand why people think this, but they do not really know what goes on behind the scenes and the extent to which the mods try to be even-handed. Nor, of course, do I.
So, here is the conundrum: Should we be more open about what we do (who has been warned / banned etc or should we keep it below the radar as we do currently? The majority of the respondents appear to favour the former, but it would be good to get a more general view of things…..
Thanks for listening.