Question 15: OK to be member of TalkBoard and moderator, or not?
This question was submitted by chexfan:
"Do you feel that having FT members who act as a Forum Moderator and a TalkBoard Member is a conflict of interest or too much power vested in one place? Or is this dual role a good thing for the FT Community?"
I personally believe that having moderators on the TalkBoard is a good thing. That said, I would not want the TalkBoard dominated entirely by moderators. The key in my mind is for the board to represent the entire spectrum of users of this site. All views must be included in the discussion for it to have any real applicability to the whole membership of the community.
While I also appreciate the many fine members running who have been at this site for several years, I continue to believe that someone relatively new such as myself should also serve. I would not want a board comprised only of recent transplants as I very much value the experience and history that long time contributors bring. Again, it is about building a board that represents the full range of perspectives.
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I agree with John C.
Because the Talkboard doesn't deal with issues of moderation I see no conflict having mods on the board, but as John stated I wouldn't want to see the board dominated by any one group.. be it mods, UA flyers, newbies or oldbies. And it would be especially wrong if it were comprised of all men
My own cache of votes is leaning heavily towards moderators. While its not specifically because they are mods, the candidates i'm favoring have, in their mod positions, shown the temperament and ability communicate that i'd like to see on the TB.
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I too wondered about this before I became a moderator and before I decided to run for TalkBoard.
My knee-jerk reaction a couple years ago was that the moderators were generally better known on FT and had a definite advantage in an election where folks generally vote for those who are known entities.
But I've gained a bit of wisdom over the years and see that being a moderator running for TalkBoard has an equal share of positive and negative qualities.
Positive in that moderators often do have more visibility and recognition.
Negative in that not all members like or respect the moderator role or function.
Back to the original question as to whether there is too much "power" vested in a member who is both a moderator and TalkBoard member.
I honestly don't think that is the case.
The two functions are quite different and I don't see the roles of moderator and TB member as being in conflict.
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In general, if someone wants to devote that much time to a community, sure why not? They do fucntion in different roles and having the moderation experience on TB is likely a good thing. Now if tons of the people on TB are also moderators, then that might become an issue in that non-moderators dont have easy chances on expressing their views, then an intervention might be necessary to keep a good balance and diversity of viewpoints....
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I was the first moderator to be elected to the TalkBoard, and one of the very first things I did was raise the question of whether it would be a potential conflict (and I abstained from voting on the issue). I don't believe any of the members of TalkBoard at the time (none of them moderators) saw a problem with it.
My experience the past two years tells me that in practice no such conflict has arisen, even with additional mods on the TalkBoard.
My role as moderator and now senior moderator gives me additional insight into the issues and challenges that Flyertalk faces and makes me better equipped to serve as an advisor to Randy. It's a benefit, of course, that I am not the only member of the TalkBoard or voice providing advice! But I think for me it has been a benefit rather than a conflict.
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Voting for moderators just because they're moderators however, is a silly idea at best.. just bear that in mind.
By that logic, so is voting for non-moderators just because they are not moderators!
I would agree with the others that have said that it would not be a conflict of interest or "too much power". I think to some degree there is a misconception that either of these positions (TalkBoard or moderation) carries a lot of power over others. Neither group has "jurisdiction" over the other and the two bodies have distinct functions.
To add a little more perspective from a moderator's point of view (I was a moderator of the Travel Technology forum for a year), discussion amongst moderators always circulates around how to be consistent (recognising that there are minor differences in personal styles and the nature of the forums) and fair. No moderator is out to "get" someone they don't like. Moderators do not constantly "look over their shoulder" out of fear of reprisal if they make a bad call or because they want to "abuse their power"; rather, in my experience, the moderators are always asking themselves and each other what is the best way to handle the situation at hand.
In the end, both TalkBoard members and moderators are those who are generously giving their time and effort to help make FlyerTalk a better place. I don't see any problem with an FTer serving both roles in addition to being a member of this community. That you find that several past and present TB members are moderators is because they just happen to be moderators, and that they like contributing to this community.
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Being a moderator demonstrates your past and likely future dedication to improving FT. It also means that people here have seen the full range of your FT persona, from good to not so good. That makes you a known quantity to the voter.
That's why this Q&A forum is important to candidates who are less well known, which I suppose includes me. After all, I spend most of my FT time on a backwater board for the flying bus.
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I don't see a problem for an individual to be both on TalkBoard and a moderator. This is even beneficial (unless the entire TalkBoard is made up of moderators), since being a moderator gives an individual another perspective of pros and cons on many issues.