What do you think of my moderating?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Fraggle Rocker, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    It's been brought to my attention that some of the other moderators don't approve of my style. Mentioned were:

    1. Sometimes I proofread posts and correct typos. I don't see anything wrong with this, especially on a linguistics board where we're all language-oriented and probably set higher standards than they do in Free Thoughts. The only feedback I can remember getting from a member about this was positive. I'm an editor in real life (for now anyway) and it just comes naturally. This is a "Do unto others" thing with me. I certainly appreciate other people fixing my typos. I'd like to hear from other members on this.

    2. If a member's native language is not English and he's having a bit of trouble with it, sometimes I go further with my editing. This also falls under "Do unto others." If I were struggling to post on a linguistics board in Spanish, I would surely appreciate anyone helping me not look like the foolish gabacho that I am. I wonder if our non-anglophone members feel differently.

    3. If the post is in the "Word of the Day" thread or otherwise gives the definition and etymology of a word, sometimes I will correct errors or incomplete explanations. For example, correcting the spelling or grammatical ending of a word in a foreign language, or inserting an intermediate step that shows that we got a Greek word from the Romans who borrowed it first, and that's why we spell it with a Latin ending instead of a Greek ending. My feeling about this is that people come to this subforum from Google hits (or just by seeing it on the homepage) looking for a definition or an origin, and they might not feel like reading ten more posts in the thread to discover that the one they got is wrong. This really raised the ire of the other moderators, since it's not just typography but actually changing what someone wrote intentionally. A good suggestion is to just add a moderator's note to the post, if it's really that important, telling the readers to scroll down looking for the correction.

    4. Some felt that I have edited posts to conform to my own point of view or subjective standards. That's a temptation all editors are familiar with and have to develop the integrity and discipline to avoid. I think to some extent by "point of view or subjective standards" they simply mean that I want this place to look nice and attract prospective new members by not being full of typos. But if any of you don't like that, or think I'm overdoing it, please say so. As for actually being nefarious and changing someone's words to conform to my own opinion, well I hope I haven't been doing that. If anyone has seen it, please tell me because this is the most serious criticism of all.

    I think most of what we talk about here is pretty dry stuff; moderating Linguistics does not provide either the challenge or the headache of the Politics or World Events boards. And I think most of the people who post here take pride in their language and don't object to professional editing. Like all the other scientists on SciForums, sometimes we take off our lab coats and joke around and shoot rubber bands at each other. I generally don't moderate those posts except for the basic rules like no racism or personal insults.

    (Someone mentioned the recent tiff with Gustav over "The Linguistics of Gustav," his request for an explanation of what a haiku is, and my short temper with his iconoclastic reaction to my explanation. The only editing I did was to add the word "Haiku" to his thread title so people would know what it was about; he objected to that and I changed it back. Other people agreed with him that the thread wasn't really supposed to be about haiku and ultimately we agreed that in that case the thread was on the wrong board and I moved it, but not before he violated a couple of rules, apparently impatient with my slow responses on a national holiday. I actually have no idea what his thread was about but if anyone can translate Gustavian into standard American English perhaps you can tell me.)

    I have stated what I would like to do:
    • Continue proofreading--although I don't promise to do it on every post so don't get lazy now

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    • Respond to an error of fact in a separate post; insert a moderator's note if absolutely necessary but don't rewrite the post
    • Keep the place looking nice
    • Don't put words in people's mouths
    • Duck if somebody shoots a rubber band at me.
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  3. Facial Valued Senior Member

    This is good.
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  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    I think you are fine Fraggle. You have a good attitude, and are willing to do the right thing and work things out. And I think you are very respectful of others...just my two cents.
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  7. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    I think you're doing fine and the Linguistics forum looks good. You have a nice set of relevant stickies and folks are genuinely interested in the material that gets discussed here. I'm sure if your edits were problematic, you'd have heard from someone that was edited.

    The Linguistics forum is different than other sub-forums here at SF and demands a different style of moderator. I'm glad you're the guy for the job and it shows that you've put some effort into making it what it is.
  8. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    As for editing people's posts: Perhaps, if the members of SciForums agree — and that's a strong "perhaps" — you could make a set of Linguistics-specific rules where you declare that you reserve the right to edit posts for factual accuracy, grammar, and so on. At least people would explicitly accept your actions in that case, and it would be perfectly ethical.

    But my short response is this: I think you shouldn't edit a post at all unless the post breaks the rules of SciForums.

    As for the other topics, I'll have to reserve judgement since I've been totally absent lately.
  9. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    You people are insane.
  10. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    You do a great job Fraggle Rocker.
    I think you get the balance right between keeping it relevant and dodging rubber bands ( lacka banz).
    Linguistics is far from dry and you will be aware that my interest in linguistics is mostly on the fringe where linguistics become colourful/ridiculous/playful.
    Your knowledge( in all areas) and research skills are inspiring.
    Keep up the good work.
  11. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    No problems with any of you really.
    I think that the current setup puts you all in an adversarial position
    which could be avoided, but that is up to the site owner.

    As regards changing posts, I will always correct a simple typo or spelling mistake if I see it in a message that I'm quoting in a reply. My keyboard constantly leaves letters out, so if I don't spot them I don't mind you filling them back in.
    If someone's post was a whole string of mistakes, I would leave it as it stood.

    Changing the content of a post is probably not a good idea.
    Just add a note at the end, or a follow up post.

    re Gustav language.
    I can understand what he is saying most of the time.
    Need a translator?

    Example. Gustav's response to stubbing his toe on the bed-leg would be

    /must break bedleg
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2008
  12. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    Any constructive criticism of the way we mods are working things is always welcome. I, for one, am interested in knowing more about how we could avoid the drama. But I don't wanna derail this thread. Send a PM to James R or Plazma Inferno!.
  13. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    As a linguistics moderator Fraggle, you have your prose and cons.
  14. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    What are those pros and cons?
  15. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    A brilliant idea! An excellent service for the peeps.

    You'll probably get mixed emotions on that one from both authors and peeps.

    I haven't noticed that but it's probably something to avoid nonetheless.

    Somebody slap his peepee.

    Do you serve Cappuccino too?
  16. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    You are a bad bad boy!

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  17. Spud Emperor solanaceous common tater Registered Senior Member

    He gets it right every noun then.

    But whats with the discrimination thing?
    One minute he's proverb then he's anti-semantic!

    He has a bad attitude to platitudes then he's all abjectly objecting to adjectives.

    Sometimes he's like the bloody I.R.S but instead of making collects in tax, he corrects syntax! Yer a bastard Fraggle!

    Once I told him he was a mean cruciverbalist and I got nothing from him but cross words ( for weeks).

    He's not always the right person for the job but when grammar needs a hand to cross the road, he's the man u script.
  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    FR one thing you may want to watch out for is embarising and alianating members. I hate my spelling, i know i cant spell (make writing asignments rather difficalt) but it would be more frustrating for someone to come along behind me and draw atention to all the spelling mestakes like a teacher in primary school
  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I find peeps that point out my mistakes as only being helpful to make me see what I need to do to make my writing skills better. I do get sloppy at times and forget to use the "spell checker" here but that is no excuse and I'm learning that. Just want to say thank you to anyone who wants to help me learn what I am doing wrong so that I will improve my ways, not repeat the bad ones.

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    (I'm still patiently reading all of these. I'll give more people time to log in on the subject before I respond.)
  21. darini Registered Senior Member

    Sorry for "ressurrecting" this old topic, but as I've been browsing the forum, maybe it's interesting to give my 2 cents:

    As a videogame fan (even being almost 30 y.o. now), I've grown up playing my Master System / Mega Drive in my spare time. Everytime, when a cart was inserted into the slot, I read the text "produced by or under license of Sega enterprises". Years and years reading that.

    I'm teaching some people in a reading course where I work and today, writing a phrase (in Portuguese, of course), I wrote "LicenSa" instead of "Licença".

    So, if I make mistakes in my own native language, no problem in correcting me in English.

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  22. shorty_37 Go! Canada Go! Registered Senior Member

    I don't get why you would waste time correcting other members typos. I don't think you should correct them. I think you should leave the posts how they typed them.

    I proof read my sons assignments sometimes and correct his spelling errors. He is 11 though, these are adults. If they can't spell or that is the way they talk, I don't think you should be editing their posts.
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    We went on about this on the Secret Moderators' Board several months ago and it was settled.

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