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 Moderators - what are your thoughts?

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PostSubject: Moderators - what are your thoughts?   Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:36 am

Many of us who have visited online gaming sites have also come across the dreaded 'moderator'. You know what I mean by that? Those people who have been employed to voluntarily monitor chat lobbies etc to uphold the rules and codes set by the site they represent - sometimes called a plus or a cysops. In previous discussions we have talked about incitement etc, but let us now discuss the moderator as a person.

In my experience, I have come across many moderators - good and bad. My aim here is not to be critical of all moderators in a nasty vindictive way, but to start a study of what makes a moderator tick. What motivates them to take on the responsibilities that they take on and are they effective?

So, to my first point, what makes an ordinary online person want to become a moderator?

This is a key question because it determines how the moderator behaves in his/her role. I believe that there are many things that motivate a person to want to take on such a responsibility. In most cases I would suggest that these people want 'attention' of a kind. They want to have power and recognition that sets them above the other gamers in their community. They want a position of prestige and they want to be respected for the connection that they have with the site for which they work.

This, in itself, is not a bad thing. Many of us want attention - that is why we chat in a lobby. Some want more attention than others. Moderators certainly do. Moderators want to wear a badge of authority and I don't really buy the statement that some moderators do the job so they can put something back into the online community they serve.

In one case, back in zone, I remember a moderator who was basically idle in his role. Never really confronting issues, just wearing the badge so that he could be seen to be important. Not that I have a problem with that - he was pretty harmless, and that is how he wanted to appear. The moderator badge for this person was nothing more than an icon - a fashion accessory to support his interactions online with the opposite sex.

However, not all moderators are as harmless in their position. There are some that use their 'badge of authority' in corrupt and abusive ways. That is to say, they abuse the power that is invested in them to further a personal agenda by harming the rights of other individuals for whom they have taken a dislike - or to further the agenda of people who they favour.

Let us now consider my first example. Snowball from WGC. Many will be surprised that I have not identified +Capt_91D as my first example, but I do believe there are some significant similarities between Snowball and Capt - and after all, Snowball is contemporary.

I believe that people like Snowball and Capt are motivated to become moderators because there is an innate desire within them to dominate and control others. To wield power over others to feed their own egos and self worth. This manifests itself in an almost religious zeal towards their position and a powerful belief that they are doing the right thing and ALL others are wrong.
These people are dangerous. They alone can kill the mood of a lobby by making instant judgements and operating a draconian method of punishment. The problem is that they feel that they are right in every instance – and everybody else knows that they most certainly are not. They create unease with their presence, which in turn creates unrest and anger, which in turn creates disruption and rule breaking. THE VERY THING THEY ARE THERE TO PREVENT.

To make matters worse, moderators like this tend to favour a particular type of person. People who pander to them and make them feel that they are important, right and just in the sanctions and punishments that they have administered. These people are encouraged by people like Snowball, Capt, Salty Pelican, Harbor Helper to keep them informed of events occurring in lobbies even when they are not there.

Blind and oblivious to the incitement that THOSE people engage in – moderators like Snowball and Capt invent their own rules for lobby management. They have developed their own little gang of ‘moles’ in gaming lobbies. A small network of equally disenfranchised individuals who have nothing to do in life but to be the cause of misery and strife for anyone and everyone else. An example of this would be: Ketch, Zipper 104, sim0n, dutchee, Hider Heaven, Na Nashi, Tom74, Rose, Carrie No1, Brad and Sammy.

I sincerely believe that most moderators that I have encountered are either power-crazed misanthropes or people who are significantly lacking in intelligence. It is a sad indictment of the situation – but hey that’s my opinion based on what I have seen.

I have already shown how the power-crazed ones operate, but equally damaging are the stupid ones. Those that have NO vision of their own, but are led and manipulated by the vision and agenda of others. This type of moderator is often less resolute in the administration of their duties, but rather waits to see what the general mood of the majority is and acts therein. This type of moderator has no perception of the bigger picture. Sometimes, the stupid ones can be more damaging than the draconian ones like Snowball or Capt_91D.

Ok, so having established that people become moderators to gain power and prestige over their fellow gamers – and that they can either be idle, power-crazed or just plain stupid. Let us consider how effective they are.

When you consider that most internet lobbies and chatrooms have a variety of facilities to allow the individual to control what he/she sees and engages in – do we need moderators at all?

I think we do. BUT…not in the way that people like Snowball, Harbor Helper, Salty Pelican, Bug Zapper etc like to set themselves up. I believe that all sites need a host that will guide the room in an appropriate manner. Not a person that wants to control the room in accordance with their own vision of life or some dumb dithering fool that doesn’t really know what to do but just hops around gagging people to curry favour with others.

An effective moderator is someone who is aloof from the participants of their room so that they can maintain objectivity. It is someone who is at hand to help, support and guide participants through the site - its functions and the facilities that are offered - to help them avoid undesirable interaction. It is someone who acts forcefully when they HAVE to act and without prejudice. It is someone who has the intelligence to see how their own actions can influence the success of the site that they work for. It is someone who understands the nature of how people interact. It is someone who is sensitive to the rights of the individual whilst being sensitive to the rules of the site. It is someone who can explain and justify their own actions without creating smokescreens.

I am afraid that I have seen very few moderators who possess even ONE of these qualities. Many that I have encountered seem to have all the defects and none of the positive elements. There are however SOME moderators who do demonstrate many of the positive features that I have listed. People like Pinkiee, Fly@Web, +Victoria VMV, +Da Silent, Ghostie, +Da Mutt are a few who I have had the pleasure to interact with. Sadly, they are few and far between.

Last edited by spacemariner26 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Moderators - what are your thoughts?   Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:21 am

I will start by saying I agree with almost everything Nathan said about moderators. I will add some of my own observations.
The reason people want to become moderators.
As always, I try to be objective and that's why I analyze my own reasons first. Hmmm kinda difficult, because I never applied for being a plus or a host or a manager. I was asked to become one. And I accepted because (and you can all laugh) I have the feeling I can help. Or should I say : I HAD that feeling (now I think I can do the same from my player nick, that's why I don't go to rooms as much as I did before). But I should admit that maybe was another reason: the feeling of being important to achieve something I always wanted: to see people having fun, escaping from their problems, sharing a laugh or 2 when they have problems in their real lives, or even to vent , to lie, to pretend they are something bigger, better or smarter than they really are.
But in years of doing this, I noticed that the most frequent reason for people to become pluses is their desire of being "popular". And this is even worse than the desire of being in control (and I agree with some of the names Nathan quoted in his post). The real mess in the lobby is made by those that want to get more hello's, more hugs, more smiles than they had when in their player nick. The "snowball" personalities are usually correct in their narrow way of thinking and acting, they can ruin the fun, but they rarely do big mistakes. The "popular" ones will always try to gain more "popularity" by being protective and friendly to those players that control the lobby. They will overlook their mistakes and will hunt the unpopular players. They will take sides, becoming part of the "gangs" that are trying to dominate any lobby, ending usually in abusing others.
Secondly in my list of "wrong reasons to become a moderator" is the "cop" mentality. These are people without any imagination, people with no sense of humour, people with big frustrations and personal issues. They will jump on you without any second thought when they will see words, not sentence, not meanings, just words they have the feeling that are "dangerous". Not long ago, in Hearts, a plus almost warned me (they didnt dare to send me an warning, was an attempt of asking me to be careful that ended in that plus telling the SR lead about what I said, which was really stupid) because I typed "virgin". I will not debate the stupidity of such an act, I explained it to her, the SR lead also did, but I can only imagine how this plus acts and I am sure you all know better than me even.
I will end this saying that again from my experience being a moderator should require at least 3 qualities:
- an IQ that allows them to understand the linguistics subtlety of people's way of expressing themselves;
- a good sense of humour, that will not let moderators to take themselves too seriously
- a great deal of sympathy for players, treating almost each of them individually, and not following blindly some rules that are made only to guide our acts .
I will continue maybe later, after seeing your opinions.
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PostSubject: Re: Moderators - what are your thoughts?   Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:33 am

merry christmas
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