Who would be a moderator and why?
Hi. Just picking up from recent discussions on other threads, I was moved to muse on this...
I stepped forward as a potential volunteer and was persuaded to do it as part of a team. My motive was entirely community-minded. What I and others ought to hope from a moderator is not some one who panders to the forum owner (which I clearly don't) but acts independently and impartially wherever possible - and perhaps more importantly in my view, can see things in perspective and in context.
When someone cracks a joke for example, as a moderator I would hope to see whether the joke is mainly meant to make people laugh (whether I see it as funny or not) or whether it is clearly at someone else's expense. That is a grey area and a matter for judgement and sometimes, referral to the other moderators who, I should say, demonstrate a great team spirit with determined impartiality and great wisdom in my view, whenever we see fit to confer.
We can see things differently and as individuals will show this in some of our postings as such.
But the task of a moderator is surely to be a guardian of the forum; to try to let it flow and facilitate discussion, but to always be vigilant in case anyone breaks rules which could lead to serious action being taken against them. In other words, we are on occasions protecting some posters from their own stupidity - deleting or moderating some posts before the libel lawyer comes knocking...
I do not see myself as some kind of power-crazed control freak who wields the axe whenever someone steps out of line - we have all seen plenty of those in corporate and sporting roles, haven't we? No; far from it. I believe people should be grown up enough to have a discussion and not to take part in anything that they might be over-sensitive to and to use the privilege of free speech as far as possible without using it as a weapon to insult others. Play on; let the game flow...
I despair sometimes at some people's lack of sensitivity and other times at people's over sensitivity. I wonder whether, in many cases, people are so socially conditioned that they are programmed to take offence - sometimes even on behalf of others - rather than actually feel offended on an intrinsic level. I do admit sometimes to quietly scoffing at people jumping over each other to show sanctimonious outrage at whatever (deemed) politically incorrect post might find its way onto this, or even some other forum.
I also wonder whether some people have any sense of perspective at all. Are we really so "educated" into believing what we are told by anyone who we believe (or have voted for) to represent us? Are we so incapable of thinking for ourselves that we have to go googling to find text to cut and paste into here to evidence the points we wish to assert?
Are we really so naïve as to think that you cannot argue with verified statistics when, all too often, the stats are shown in such a mutated context as to render them dangerously misleading? Is the word "dangerous" overstating this? A couple of instances spring to mind with respect to the (illegal) war on Iraq - namely the "45 minutes" claim on deployment of (non-existent) WMDs and the tragic demise of Dr David Kelly, who was naïve enough to think that presenting the facts in the right context was his firm brief...
Is it a part of natural human evolution that we have a built-in tendency to oppose people with views different to our own - regardless of how intrinsic or conditioned those views might be? Why do we feel so threatened by people with different points of view? Is it not the same instinct - that of fear - that leads us to respond so robustly to different views as does the fear of different races or persuasions of people that which makes some of us deemed as racist?
Is it not the case that the goalposts of political correctness are constantly on the move...?
And who moves these goalposts...???
Should there be a two-tier discussion forum: one for those who can discuss things objectively and constructively and another for those who wish to have an online punch-up?
I'd like some views on this (and I'd appreciate it if the origin of these thoughts is from somewhere outside of the cerebral cortex) as it genuinely keeps me awake some nights.
[Maybe I'm not cut out to be a moderator. Perhaps I am just not moderate enough... ]
Always trying to see things from several points of view in order to get the healthiest perspective from which to see the way forward isn't easy and it doesn't always get appreciated. Being a mediator can sometimes be an impossible task if all opposing factions are determined not to budge. A conciliatory stance can at some times be unwelcome and at other times seen as downright obstructive and time wasting. I have experienced this several times first hand in some interesting relationships and encounters.
Does the media circus that is our party political system condition us to be so staunchly partisan in our everyday discussions?
Or is there hope that some day, we will have some charismatic community leaders that can demonstrate that it is possible and desirable - essential even - to seek a solution with the idea that all parties with a challenge can achieve a better outcome with creative, collaborative spirit with the application of some emotional and social intelligence?
Or should I just get out more...?
[Bets are already placed on who responds - and how - to the last question].