Thursday, March 31, 2005

On forums and their moderation

Some of you may know that I am active on many different internet discussion portals-some of them are moderated very well, others aren't. Sometimes, users ask about what makes a good forum moderator-lets try to compare three pages: 1src, PalmGamer(german) and another german one(I just escaped a bloody, long flamewar with a blogger there-one more post and we would have ended up in court-so no name).
1src definitely is the biggest of the three, and PalmGamer is by far the smallest. Both of them work very well though-its the one in the middle that has the high fluctuation rates, etc.
First of all, lets look at flamewar and swearword handling. You should know that I have a strong tempranent which expresses itself with an occasional four-letter-word or two when a spammer is sighted. PalmGamer has no problems with these-they are accepted as something that happens. At 1src, morals are stricter and the words get filtered. Also, a MOD emailed me. His email was friendly and polite-read for yourself, please:

Hi. No need to put in those words with asterisks
Just report them ASAP and I'll do the rest.
Thanks!
Joel

As you see, his intent was to save me work. That definitely is a mod to give a kudo to.
On the middle-sized page, moderators do nothing. They usually let the situation escalate and sometimes even participate(!!!) in flaming.
On to the next thing-closing and moving discussions(sometimes called threads). All serious bulletin boards have a category structure to simplify finding posts. Users tend to ignore categories and post where they want to-and mods should move topics if needed. This is no problem at 1src, as hyperlinks remain in the original place and moving occurrs once a week. PalmGamer has no problems either-their simple category structure is easy to grasp. And nobody really needs a structure for 10 threads a week imho. When a thread gets stuck(happens rarely)-it gets closed. No problem here.
But our friendly, fellow moderators at the third page act differently. They close threads if their favourite users whim(!!!) for closure or anyone begins to argue about one of their decisions. Also, moving happens once a day or so. A friend of mine once said:"When I see this board, words like totalitary dictature, police state, etc come to my mind". He definitely wasn't happy. And unhappy users like to flame...
Tune in on Monday to read about how the owner of the middle-sized page reacts to complaints. Also, read about troll management, an analysis and-last but not least, the value of the user.
What is your favourite forum? Do you have any experiences?

7 Comments:

Blogger Brad Green said...

Very good post, I agree some forums are definitely moderated better than others, and I agree that 1src is the best. On some foums, like 1src, the members take as much of a role as the moderators in keeping the forums clean.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, why don't you simply get lost and ignore the sites you don't like???

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To mention the "totalitary" community:

"nexave" is my number one palm usercommunty for very good reasons.

The strict management keeps quality high and spam and troll postings low...
Everyone who has been stuck in the heise-forum (big german IT-Forum) will understand the need of this sanctions.

A forum system is no chat and no advertising platform!

If you´ve got a problem with a forum, don´t read it, don´t post there, simple prob - simple solution!

I think you´ve got no problems with "nexave" itself, but with a few members/moderators there...
You are not of good standing there because of very comprehensible reasons.
You feel quite missunderstood there, don´t you? Think about your own behavior there...

1:06 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi,
many users are not satisfied with the page that I mentioned. I just wonder why other sites like 1src need no struct management, etc-but well, this will be cleared out by monday... .
Something else-thank you for giving me good hints on how to improve my performance on the nexave platform. All comments are gladly accepted! Leaving behind a name would have added credibility to your post though.
Best regards
Tam Hanna

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am wondering why you did not mention the name "nexave" in your blog text, are you frightened?
I agree to Anonymous nr. 2: It's rather a problem of acceptance of your person than a problem of the site. Did admins remove your posts or your topics? I think they did not. The posters are complaining about you and your state of mind.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Tam Hanna said...

Hi Anonymous,
II am not frightened at all! But I do not wantr to start a game of fingerpointing, etc like you are trying to. I just want to demonstrate generic user behaviour!
Best regards
Tam Hanna

8:51 PM  
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