Ah, online message boards...
These days they are found in mass quantities, with a wide variety of generalized or more focused topics, on the vast expanse of the internet. Like many of you, I've visited many, and of these all of them have had moderators. As a forum grows, they become necessary to maintain order, ensure that the rules are being complied with, and to generally assist in making the place more enjoyable for everyone involved. On a forum which has become as large as DF has, we really couldn't expect Alfa to handle everything all alone, now could we?
There are many different types of moderators. If you've been a member of any online community for any amount of time, I'm sure you've noticed it too. Some moderators are just power tripping teenagers or bored computer nerds with nothing better to do with their spare time, some are more social, or more patient, and some are just unreasonable tyrants. Sound familiar to anyone? Maybe you're thinking to yourself, 'That's what you'll come across even in the real world, dumbass'... Well, great job there - Here's a trophy. But what is it about the often lusted after moderator title? Why would anyone even want to hold such a position in the first place? Dedication and ambition? The power or the 'prestige'? I suppose in reality, any of these could apply to anyone as long as the reason is ultimately justifiable to them.
So that being said, here is a list of reasons to debunk some of the misconceptions about such a position on any forum. I'm sure every forum moderator out there could probably relate to this in some way or another, as although this is mostly meant to be humorous and sarcastic, deep down there is a hint of truth involved that non-staff members may never realize...
[IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=140&stc=1&d=1401469725[/IMGL] 1. You all of a sudden are responsible for things that you perhaps didn't care about before.
Let's all be honest with ourselves for just a minute. When you first joined this, or any other forum for that matter, how much attention did you really pay to the rules? Well, just for the hell of it, stand up if you even bothered to carefully read over every rule when you first joined. Or did you just walk off into the kitchen and make yourself a snack while the 3 minute timer ticked away (if you joined after that function was added)? I'll be honest - I didn't read them that close myself, and I'll bet that a lot of you didn't either. And that's just it - One major reason why forum moderators are necessary in the first place is that as a whole, most people just don't give a fuck about the rules (well, at least at first). Not saying that this applies to every user, but it does apply to enough of you to justify having an entirely separate group of forum users.
As a moderator, part of the job entails making sure that every forum rule and guideline is permanently embedded in your brain, in order to ensure that you are aware of what you need to do something about and what you can leave alone. It's almost like learning the legal code of some foreign country you're about to visit. Only you don't get to bring home shirts or other cheesy gifts. For the most part, members on a forum can just use their heads to stay out of any major trouble. Moderators need to be extra careful about the forum rules because they have to work with them.
And since we mentioned work...
[IMGR="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=145&stc=1&d=1401469851[/IMGR] 2. It seems an awful lot like a job... Oh shit, that's right - it is a job.
Large forums require active members to be successful... And likewise, forum moderators need to remain active and involved in order to properly do their job. It kind of sounds like what I do 10+ hours a day, 4 or 5 days a week.
Only with this job, there's no pay involved.
Day after day, it never ends... Logging in and doing the typical moderator crap. But what if you have some days where you just don't feel like logging in to do that shit? Barring any extenuating or personal circumstances, anyone with a sense of responsibility will make themselves log in at least every few days, at the very least to check on their post reports or make sure any flame war haven't been raging in their areas. And slowly, unfortunately, sometimes a place which was once fun and you looked forward to visiting simply becomes a force of habit, a boring routine.
Do you hate going to work or school, or whatever the hell occupies most of your time during the day? I wouldn't necessarily say I hate my real world job, but it definitely does suck sometimes. Well, then imagine coming home after all that and then having to log in to do even more work...
But wait, it gets worse...
[IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=142&stc=1&d=1401469725[/IMGL] 3. Can't handle getting flamed every now and then? Don't even think about it.
No matter who you are, if you're the one who has to lay down the law, it's inevitable you're going to receive backlash at some point or another. Even though you may be completely in the right, sometimes people just can't handle it and will start mouthing off to you, no matter how nicely you word the reprimand. You never know what you're going to see when you open up a direct message that's in response to a warning/infraction or whatever.
If I had a dollar for every time I've been flamed over the past 8 years, I'd be one rich little son of a bitch. Really, you just gotta laugh it off, or you'll drive yourself insane if you start letting yourself take it to personally.
And although I really could do without the insults as a whole, sometimes it really is pretty funny. I once almost considered changing my custom user title to "Worthless, ignorant, asshole American" just to get under the skin of one guy, heh.
But no matter how irritated you may get at shit like this...
[IMGR="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=143&stc=1&d=1401469725[/IMGR] 4. You have to play nice, because now you've got the title.
Sometimes forum discussions can start to get really passionate. Sometimes people say things they don't mean, you have situations as described above in #3, and sometimes people just get you really pissed off or frustrated for some reason or another. Wouldn't it feel just great to shoot a bunch of really insulting words their way, and then shut off the computer and walk away?
Well, tough shit! Although there are varying levels of repercussions when members talk shit to each other, this is something you just cannot do as a moderator no matter what the circumstance. I'll be honest - I'm a real human being sitting behind this computer, with real emotions, and I do sometimes get more pissed off than I'd like to admit at some written words on a screen. It's just so fucking tempting sometimes... But that's just too damn bad - You have to set the example now! So keep playing the good guy and don't sink to that level, even though it would feel better than a heroin rush to just let it all out and flame their ass raw.
It does suck. But what really isn't awesome about being a moderator would be...
[IMGL="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=144&stc=1&d=1401469725[/IMGL] 1. Its a thankless job.
When a person gives you voluntary, selfless service with a smile, it's only natural to throw one back in return. There is a lot of work done here that is necessary to keep the forum running effectively and efficiently that goes largely unnoticed because a lot of it happens behind the scenes. But sometimes, being a moderator makes you wonder if you're lucky that you're not getting bitch-slapped for not doing your job well enough.
There are millions of people in the world, and a large number of them converge on forums. It's a completely unrealistic to think that we can satisfy every person who comes around these parts, but for everyone out there - at least try to show some appreciation every now and them.
Disclaimer: Please do not take this blog entry too seriously - I really do enjoy moderating here... As mentioned above, this is mostly meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek. Plus, even the best of us deserve a little smart-ass venting time every now and then [noparse][/noparse]