Question 6: Moderators vs. TalkBoard Influence

Old Nov 6, 06, 7:11 pm
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Question 6: Moderators vs. TalkBoard Influence

This question submitted by christiansen:
Do moderators' actions or TalkBoards' motions influence FlyerTalk more
significantly? Reason

- If you feel that moderators' actions are more significant: In your opinion
what is the rational that moderators' are appointed and not elected?
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Old Nov 6, 06, 9:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen
This question submitted by christiansen:
Do moderators' actions or TalkBoards' motions influence FlyerTalk more
significantly? Reason

- If you feel that moderators' actions are more significant: In your opinion
what is the rational that moderators' are appointed and not elected?
I believe that they are appointed, and should be appointed, simply because there are too many to elect them.

That having been said, I do, indeed, feel that too much authority has been given to moderators and that it should be TalkBoard which establishes all policies -- and the moderators who enforce them.
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Old Nov 6, 06, 9:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Randy Petersen
This question submitted by christiansen:
Do moderators' actions or TalkBoards' motions influence FlyerTalk more
significantly? Reason

- If you feel that moderators' actions are more significant: In your opinion
what is the rational that moderators' are appointed and not elected?
I am of the opinion that moderators influence FlyerTalk more significantly. They are on the front lines and do a great job, for the most part, keeping FlyerTalk one of the most civil IBB I've been involved with (and our posters deserve a lot of credit for this, as well).

Moderators should not be elected. It shouldn't be a popularity contest - rather, moderators should be in place to reflect and represent the direction and wishes of the HOM and of Randy.

I won't get into TB and the role I think it should (or should not play) in moderation here as Dovster did. It's a question not specifically asked here. If it's asked, I'll be happy to provide an answer (OK, OK: It would look almost identical to Dovster's).

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Old Nov 7, 06, 8:36 am
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Did you know that the moderators get together and have Moderator Do's hosted by Randy?

I didnt know that, but I think it is a great idea. I got to sort of crash their party last Friday night and it was really interesting and eye-opening. Unfortunately, by the time I got some of the mods there drunk enough to talk about what they actually DO at the ModDo's I was too drunk to remember their answer.

As I imply in the other thread, I do hope that Randy pulls them together to remind them to not let their nitpickiness get the better of them and instead moderate best by moderating least. Maybe a TB candidate who is also a moderator can shed some more light on what goes on at the Moderator Do's.

Specific to the question, though, here's the difference, I guess: While the TB can deny the creation of a new community or close an existing one based, one hopes, on he will of the posters, a nitpicky moderator can easily ruin the enjoyment of a forum community, alienate posters and basically make it no fun to come here anymore.

Thus, we are all best served if Randy and the HOM can pick moderators they think will do a good job and, frankly, be able to fire them if they dont do a good job.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 9:40 am
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Well I can see that the moderator issues has its 2nd question already, like I said before its something that will always be debated/discussed due to the various views of FlyerTalk community.

Anyway, yes any moderation of any forum has a significant influence on FlyerTalk, the reason being that if someone has had to be moderated for some reason then they must just leave the community and post somewhere else if they have thought themselves to be hard done by.

On another note, if folk know that the forums are moderated then they will act more IAW with the TOS and behave themselves rather than start massive flame threads or very OT posts.

Moderators should be appointed but before hand it should be discussed and a look at their past postings habits and also how helpful they have been in that particular forum they want to be moderators in. Also a good knowledge of the forum subject is a must.

If we had elections then we would spend more time debating or discussing things rather than getting on with the task at hand and moderation is a necessary evil we must live with.

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Old Nov 7, 06, 9:50 am
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I think the relative amount of influence both groups have is summed up by what would happen if they disappeared overnight. If TB vanished, then FlyerTalk would continue to function. If the mods vanished, then yes, it would continue to function, but the larger, higher volume boards would get more and more acrimonious, and there would be a lot more spam threads to deal with - in short, the user experience would be a lot worse, relatively quickly.

Why are the mods not elected? Because mods shouldn't be appointed by who is most popular, but by who can do the best job - which does sound a very bizarre thing to say since I've put myself up for TB But since I do think I can do the best job....
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Old Nov 7, 06, 1:06 pm
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Moderators have more influence over the direction of FlyerTalk than the TalkBoard. TalkBoard is largely relegated to making suggestions about the layout and running of the FlyerTalk community, which the House of Miles is free to implement or ignore (as I said in response to Question 5, the power of TalkBoard is granted, not inherent). The moderators have responsibility for the day-to-day interactions within the community. The system is similar to a non-profit or state agency with a Commissioner or Board and a Deputy or Executive Director. The Commissioner or Board makes slight “big-picture” nudges in the operation, while the Deputy Commissioner or Executive Director is in the trenches overseeing the grunt work.

Given this analogy, should moderators be elected? In my opinion, no. Moderation works through consistency and the moderators (eventually, perhaps) being in-tune with the community they moderate. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if one year the Thingamajig forum elected moderator whose platform was more laid-back, anything goes, and then next year decided to go with a strict disciplinarian, and the next year goes back to the free-for-all candidate, and so on...

I don't really see the current moderator corps as dysfunctional or otherwise broken, so I believe the current appointment system works.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 2:29 pm
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Moderators' actions simply serve to keep FlyerTalk in line with the purposes for which it exists. The TalkBoard advises the owner of the bulletin board on changes and improvements to the purposes for the board exists.

For these reasons, I think the TalkBoard actually has more influence over the big picture of the board while the moderators' actions prevent that big picture from swimming out of focus.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 2:48 pm
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I believe the talk board has more influence on Flyertalk than moderators.

Talk board can change the look/feel of the forums, while the moderators enforce the rules of the forums, as well as welcome and assist new members.

However, generally speaking it is the members who have the most influence on FT and whether or not people keep coming back for more.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 3:54 pm
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I believe the moderators‘ actions affect users more than TalkBoard, mainly because if a user’s post gets deleted, or they get suspended, it is more on a personal basis. But I also believe that TalkBoard is almost as important. Moderators are making sure everything runs smoothly in the forums, nothing is posted that violates the TOS, while TalkBoard brings the ideas of the users to make the community grow. Without moderators, there would be complete chaos on the forums, but then without TalkBoard users opinions won’t be heard, making it a distant community where they might not find it so inviting and leave or never join in the first place, making FlyerTalk nowhere close as it is today.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 3:56 pm
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They each exert influence in different ways. I think that Randy has done an excellent system with the mods and that something that isn't broken should not be fixed. I do not want to dwell on Moderator issues as I do not believe that it is the TB's business, neither in the past nor in the future.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 5:25 pm
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Moderators have more influence as they actually have the power to change a thread. and their influence is daily. The Board is advisory only and I am happy with the current system.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 9:09 pm
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Neither moderators or TalkBoard members have the greatest influence. The influence is in the members. Members are the ones who vote for TalkBoard - who should be voting for motions that will benefit the general membership. Members are the ones whom the Moderators are here to assist.

TalkBoard members are elected to protect the interests of the members. Moderators are appointed to protect the interests of FlyerTalk.
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Old Nov 8, 06, 2:42 pm
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In overall direction, I think it is obvious that the Talkboard has more influence. The Talkboard determines new forums, deletion of forums and organization of the forums. If used properly, that is tremendous influence.

On the other hands, the moderators handle the day-to-day actions that make the experience enjoyable. Sometimes, it is like herding cats. Can a moderator have influence in a specific forum? Most definitely.

So, I guess I feel that both groups have influence in different ways.

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Old Nov 8, 06, 7:29 pm
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I often think of the "structure" on FT as being much like that of the US Government. We have an Executive Branch (Randy and the House of Miles), a Legislative Branch (TalkBoard), and a Judicial Branch (TalkTeam).

The moderators (TalkTeam) aren't there to create the structure but to make sure that it is enforced according to the Constitution (Terms of Service) and in line with what the TalkBoard intended. Whereas the moderators should act in accordance with previously decided policies and procedures - the TalkBoard and House of Miles both decide when those policies and procedures should change.

I think that all have important roles in the day to day operations of FlyerTalk - but all (if acting within intended capacity) should function differently.
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