(alpha) Reinventing Sciforums -1- Choosing New Mods

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Avatar, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member


    I'm writing in the spirit of Inzomnia's Open Letter. My sincere respect to her for her commitment to a better Sciforums.

    I'll be short. We all know that Sciforums ain't all right now. Something just doesn't fit, like oversized underpants or a thong too tight. It's uncomfortable and we look like a bunch of saggy breasts.

    It ain't cool, no it ain't!

    I think that some of the reasons are our current:
    • choice of mods
    • demotion of mods
    • choice of supermods
    • secrecy where there should be transparency
    • banning of members
    • lack of guidelines for moderation
    • restrictions on fun
    • lack of quality in science forums

    So I have in mind to write on these things in the following days or weeks as open suggestions to our administration. One suggestion per thread.
    This means that you, all members, are welcome to read them and discuss them, but according to ALPHA rules. That means, among other things, no off-topic.

    I have made some suggestions in the past, when I was a mod, but they were buried in other suggestions and no suggestions were implemented any way.

    I won't describe our current problems or system in more detail, it won't be pretty and who likes to look at those saggy breasts or to smell those dirty underpants? Phui!
    Instead I will provide fresh suggestions on their own merit.

    So here we go:

    [1] Choosing new moderators

    A few premises:

    [a] New moderators can't be chosen just by the old mods, because that may be a blind man leading a blind man. A faulty moderator taking part choosing another faulty moderator.

    New moderators can't be chosen just by the public, because we all know how ugly and unfair ellections get to be. There will be a lot of popularity seeking, etc.
    There's a saying that nobody, who is desperate to become a president, should ever be permitted to be one.


    1. Someone who wishes to become a mod of a particular subforum has to get 6 recommendations to become one:
    1) three recommendations from science subforum mods
    2) two recommendation from a non-science subforum mod
    3) one recommendation from an admin, after getting recommendations in 1) and 2).

    2. After that he or she has the right to create a thread in open government.
    The thread has to be Alpha rules with a poll with two answers, like this:

    Should [username] be the moderator of [subforum]?
    Yes ()

    3. All members vote and discuss. There should be at least 50 votes total with at least 2/3 voting Yes.

    4. If voted in, the member becomes a moderator of the particular subforum.
    There can be 2 mods per subforum.


    5. If a mod wishes to become a supermod he has to:
    1) Get recommendations from 4/5 of moderators
    2) Get recommendation from 2/3 of admins or other supermods
    3) Has to be voted in with at least 4/5 of voters voting Yes.


    Transitionary rules:

    Of course all our current moderators and admins (except for Plazma, because he owns the place) have to be re-elected. And Plazma is a nice enough guy, so I think it won't be a problem. He's fairly decent behind the scenes too, I assure you.

    So, the first 3 science and first 3 non-science mods have to get recommendations from two of our admins and then they continue at step 2.

    After first 12 mods are chosen, current admins and supermods (except Plazma and 2 disingaged owners zox/pseudo) step down.

    All current mods are free to stand for re-election after getting proper recommendations.

    All current mods (except admins and supermods) step down after Plazma announces the inforcement of this plan. And I repeat - the mods can immediately step up for re-ellection after getting recommendations.

    These transitionary rules should not be a problem to any mod, who puts our community before his own interests and ego.

    Please discuss.
    Next threads will be about correct procedure of demoting mods and mechanisms of transparency.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
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  3. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

    Did you know you write like a lawyer or something? This is too complex. You are suggesting that you want determined, goal-oriented moderation and structure. I don't want that. If I am in Free Thoughts I want to be able to have some pointless fun. If I am in Religion, I want to discuss Religion. I feel like you are in support of the pixies taking over fairy world. Damned pixies and your cell phones!
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  5. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Hi! There is nothing here that talks about not having fun or having free thoughts!

    Also - this is only about choosing new mods. It is not about, how the mods should moderate!

    Mods are chosen for a particular subforum, and their qualities are taken in mind regarding the specific subforum.
    A great Free thoughts admin might be a horrifying science mod, and vice versa.
    And that is taken in mind giving a recommendation and voting.

    p.s. I'm afraid I really am a lawyer. :shy:
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  7. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    There are many moderator selection methods, obviously what the Sciforums administration originally wanted I believe was to pick the best well rounded contributors that had knowledge in the various subcategories. The main problem was they were hardly spoilt for choice, some approached really didn't want to become the target of Egging's so declined to maintain their own peace of mind.

    Sciforums did of course use to have a Vote every now and then for moderators when the disbursement of workload occurred, that's how I initially got into the Pseudoscience forum (Which might seem a little neglected now, considering a lot of venom is spit between people there) the other person in that vote was of course Skinwalker who was only marginally beaten. (This is why Skinwalker was later asked to become a Moderator because he was very nearly handling the subforum I was entrusted.)

    Obviously the crowd has changed over the years, I doubt the votes would be the same, mainly because members reasoning while voting would have changed.

    I do suggest though that Moderators should submit a Resume. This allows the site owners to know who their moderators are, it would lessen potential moderator abuse especially in regards to those that decide they want to pursue the route of aiding the site. Perhaps a phonecall, conference call or induction meeting [obviously difficult when in different continents] (In essence back in the day when I attempted to get involved with www.Fortunecity.com, entrusted positions required to remove anonymity between the volunteers and the company. I actually went to meet one of the Managers in London over a beer for an "Informal Interview", unfortunately at the time they wanted people that could speak more than one language as apart of their expansion, this was back when their only competitor was really www.Geocities.com They had a nice HQ back then, a pub had been converted and their servers were situated at the bottom of a spiral staircase)
  8. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    I agree with the resume, but no address or other strictly private information, in order to avoid stalking.
    No phone call, a chat should be enough. They are pricey and not everyone can afford a call to another continent, not all have or use skype.

    Obviously we can't avoid the possibility of lying, I could forge any resume you wish, so it's down to trust.


    Resume kind information is included in the Vote thread.

    Hi, I am a [profession]
    My daily job includes:
    My qualifications are:
    My hobbies are:
    My interests are:

    My idea of moderation is:
  9. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    I actually kind of meant the resume to the Site owners not publically

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    Phonecalls aren't about the potential moderating phoning but the site administration, they need to make the call or speak with the person at the end of the day as to whether to entrust moderation to a "volunteer" or give them a wide birth. (Plazma should love this, it's a great excuse to get taken down the pub)

    Names can be used and have been used in the past, Usually their Firstname and Lastname First letter. This generates a bit of anonymity, obviously they could identify their profession, hobbies, interests. These of course would help when selecting someone that fits the task in hand.
  10. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    Still - phone calls cost money. International ones are pricey.
    I could call USA from my workplace without too much trouble, but others don't have such luxury, and then there's the trouble with time zones.

    We would be restricting members based on their income - that should not be.

    Because of these reasons I'm against phone calls.
    Your thoughts?
  11. Mr. Hamtastic whackawhackado! Registered Senior Member

    Hi, I am an electrician.
    My daily job includes making sure peoples' houses and businesses have safe heat and light, and telling numbskulls what to do.
    My qualifications are that I have a Journeyman Electrician card, member of the local IBEW, I spent time doing communications wiring and electronics in the army.
    My hobbies are astronomy, child-rearing, and pet grooming.
    My interests are christianity, philosophy, and methods of thought.
    My idea of moderation is to post photoshopped images of the member to embarass or humiliate them.

    That'd be mine, if I was working again.
  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    Oh no!

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  13. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Is there any objective problem or is this a response to an emotional meme? A problem is an obstacle impeding the achievment of a goal. What goal(s) are being impeded and are those goals supported by the intent of this site?
  14. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    The problem, I think, is objective. I hold no emotional grudge.
    I feel that this place could use some improvement, and I'm not alone.
    There is a sense among many members that the current system can't carry on. I've discussed this with many privately and in forum.

    The goal: have intelligent and challenging discussions without being afraid to speak.
    Without being afraid to be banned because your ideology is not the same as of an angry mod, who lost the debate.
    Without being afraid that your thread will be deleted because a mod is having a bad PMS day.

    The obstacle is insufficient checks on moderator actions and inability to influence those actions.
    Another obstacle is that sometimes mods act in their own private interest and not in the interests of community.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  15. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I think the moderators here are the most laissez faire of any science forum.
  16. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    1. This is not a science forum, never has been.
    We have Religion, Politics, Art, Free Thoughts, Parapsychology, Sci-fi and other subforums.

    2. The moderators, I think, sometimes abuse their power here all too much.

    Now then, do you have anything to say about the thread topic, i.e., the new proposition based on its merits alone?
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    For example?

    What qualities would you expect from the new moderators that are in your opinion, absent in the present ones?
  18. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    The last few days.

    It's not for me to decide. Who am I to determinate, what a mod should be for this community?

    But those qualities, thanks to this solution, would be important to other mods, who would recommend the new mod, and the 2/3 of forum members who have the final say.
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I think its a very bad idea. Popular members are not necessarily ideal moderators, else we'd still have gedanken. We've been down that road.
  20. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    You haven't read anything I wrote!!!!! It's all been addressed in the first post!
    Reread it, then come back again. Particularly, take notice on the text regarding getting recommendations first.

    Dammit, can't you read?
  21. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Ahem.. Gendanken, popular ? :bugeye:

    Besides, I don't think current mods should have a say in this. Plazma should make it known whether or not he wants to pursue this. The current moderators have too much to lose.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I read it. The way I see it going, those who want to be mods [ie will send in resumes] are usually the ones we don't want as mods. Those who are accpetable to the moderator forum, even if asked, more often than not, refuse the position, because frankly, its a volunteer position, we have too many bad mouthed members who stalk and harass moderators and create cliques and riots. Those who the forum members want to select, may not be amenable to other moderators or admin. Its not like there are so many to choose from. Plus, whats the guarantee that the ones selected will work together well?

    Then you have the second tier, for which you want older members. This is no longer the sciforums that was. It will create additional disruption, more threads about modertaor behaviour and local cliques leading riots against perceived discrimination and what not.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I know Plazma wants to create major changes around here and he may well consider your idea to be a good one.

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    edit: sorry to sound like such a wet blanket. I just read it and realised I sounded like Debbie Downer!

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  23. Avatar smoking revolver Valued Senior Member

    You have some valid points there.

    Additional ideas
    1. Council members (as in Part 2) would have the function of suggesting to probable candidates that they should probably step up to be mods -> -> -> Even more - the Council could aquire the recommendations for the member, and then come up and say: hey, here you got recommendations already, want to be put under vote?

    None. Just like there is no guarantee now. And many mods have personal problems with each other right now too.

    How do you know that before it's implemented?
    There is no reason why there should be more riots.
    There will be greater transparency.

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