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zensky's avatar

Is the Moderator job the place where jelly veterans go to die?

Asked by zensky (13357points) December 21st, 2012

I count eight mods plus auggie right now. Those who have been here a while know that the modding position, which is voluntary (bless their little hearts) is quite temporary. It is rare for a mod to last very long – mostly due to our being assholes and not treating them with the respect they deserve.

However, my question is this: how many mods have successfully “come back”, or rather, stayed on after their modding stint?

It seems the transition to mod usually, not always, but oftentimes is a smooth one; coming back from modding can be a rough landing.

I think we are losing too many good jellies because of this. Mods are jellies too, and they would like to post and mingle like the rest of us – but find it hard to do so.

What can we, the jellies, do about this?

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20 Answers

SavoirFaire's avatar

Interesting observation. It occurs to me that @syz and I may be the only former moderators who are currently active. I’m not sure if there’s a single solution to the problem, though, as I’m not sure there’s a single reason why people tend to step down at the same time they leave. In fact, some people step down (or are simply removed from the position) quite a while after they’ve stopped showing up frequently.

Moderating is a lot of work. There’s roughly a hundred emails a day, and it’s hard to visit the site without thinking about the number of messages that might be awaiting you. This perhaps explains why many of us get burned out while moderating. If the brain starts associating Fluther with work rather than enjoyment, it’s only going to be so long before it remembers that the whole thing is voluntary.

zensky's avatar

Exactly my point, @SavoirFaire there must be a way to protect the mods from this. The way I see it – there’s a catch 22 situation here; the “best” jellies become mods – in that they love this place enough to sacrifice being a regular jelly to maintain it by modding – but then they burn out and leave. I think there might be a way of improving the system. Maybe more anonimity for the mods – after all – they are just jellies who volunteer to clean up and assist. Perhaps only Auggie should wear the “badge” and the others be anonymous? This might take some of the pressure off. I can just imagine the PM’s the mods get – besides the usual crap within the threads… just thinking aloud…

Shippy's avatar

I hope not, I feel the Mods are just as good a contributor to main posting as all of us. I think we all need to post them Xmas prezzies to cheer them up :P. Or open a thread to share our thanks during the festive season. Plus posting some of our favorite/funny quotes that they posted in the past?

PhiNotPi's avatar

A lot of people don’t realize how much work the moderators do behind the scenes. Like @SavoirFaire said, moderators have to sort through a lot of emails. As of right now, I have received 8,720 emails about moderation-related stuff, and I have been a mod for only a little over three months.

A lot of the reason that mods leave is because a lot of the work that they do is behind the scenes, and they aren’t appreciated because nobody notices the behind-the-scenes work. The general populace doesn’t typically say anything about the mods except for pointing out the few cases when they messed up.

If a mod begins to feel like he is working at an under-payed, unappreciated job, then he might do what any other person might do in the same situation: quit.

syz's avatar

I found that after a while, Fluther just stopped being fun. And why go through all of that if it’s not fun?

Sunny2's avatar

Well, here’s to the mods. They keep this place civilized and worth reading. Doing a cop’s job, whatever the job, is always going to be somewhat thankless. So heartfelt thanks to you all, dear mods.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The general populace doesn’t typically say anything about the mods except for pointing out the few cases when they messed up.

Or where they are perceived to have messed up, even if they did exactly what they were supposed to have done. A lot of people take moderating personally—even when they don’t know who actually did the moderating—and don’t understand how it is possible to separate one’s role as a fellow jelly and one’s role as a moderator. This says a lot more about those particular people than it does about the moderators, of course.

linguaphile's avatar

I agree with @zensky about giving the mods anonymity.

I noticed the same thing—some of my favorite-est jellies who were mods aren’t here anymore… I’d hate for that to keep happening!!

Big, big, BIG thank you to the mods, all of them!!

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not a mod. Huh. I wonder why that is?~

augustlan's avatar

Becoming a mod can definitely change how one feels about Fluther as a whole. For that reason alone, several great jellies have turned down the opportunity to join the mod team. It’s a tricky balance to maintain perspective as both a member and a mod, but most of us pull it off.

There’s some burn-out, for sure. However, most of the now-gone mods became less active for other reasons, like going to college, getting a full-time job, having another baby, going to med school, etc. If they don’t actively ask to step down, we eventually end up removing them from the mod team after a long period of inactivity.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Just for the record, I love you guys! I have never and will never question or complain about a mod’s decision. You are what makes this site this site. Thank you!

Feel free to mod me any ti—-

downtide's avatar

I hope I will be able to stay on Fluther after I’m done with modding. I guess sometimes circumstances change and you don’t have enough time any more for either modding or participating in Fluther. Or maybe your interests change and you just drift away to new things. I haven’t been able to devote as much time to modding as I’ve wanted to over the last couple of months but November/December is always very busy for me and things should settle down after Christmas.

Blondesjon's avatar


It’s where they go to kick ass.

chyna's avatar

I would become a mod just to be able to read the CIA thread in its entirety.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that people who become mods really underestimate the pressures of the job. It will change you. You get a lot of complaints, and start to get into this bunker mentality in feeling you have to defend your decisions. This changes you. You get fluther head. Which is a different personality from your true personality.

I say this just from observing how people change. I know they change because often they are people I like before they become mods, and then, not long after they are mods, they become people I argue with a lot. They become antagonistic. They pick fights they don’t need to pick. Then, when they go back to being civilians, they seem to change back. I am, of course, not speaking of anyone in particular. Just the anonymous mods as a group.

I figure I was never asked to be a mod because they know I have trouble with the rules, so they couldn’t trust me to enforce the rules properly. Or maybe they don’t ask people to moderate. You have to volunteer. It is not a job I would ever volunteer for because I couldn’t enforce rules I believe hurt the website. I agree with modding spammers, but that’s about it.

Anyway, I think the moderation experience must burn people out. You’re looking for things that are controversial and even if you try to be honest about it, you can’t do it. Everyone has their own prejudices that they probably can’t see. I really wish they would take the attitude that if they think a decision is at all questionable, then it’s not worth modding it. If it isn’t completely black, then it shouldn’t be modded.

But I don’t think that’s how they think about is, and so they make it tough for themselves, and get shit for what they do, and they are volunteers and trying to help, yet they feel like people think they made it worse.

SO when they are done, they’re tired of fluther. I don’t blame them. Of course, I’m sure they could speak for themselves if they wanted to.

zensky's avatar

@wundayatta I’ll keep this brief, as it’s been discussed ad nauseum and no-one is going to convince anyone anyway.You said, and you’ve said many, many times: It is not a job I would ever volunteer for because I couldn’t enforce rules I believe hurt the website. I agree with modding spammers, but that’s about it.

This is, in my humble opinion, the exact opposite of the facts. I am saying this as a “civillian” who has been here a long time, and as a survivor of the now defunct place we called home, – which was also a Q and A website with a strong community – many of whom are now here. It died exactly because of lack of moderation.

It would be like a policeless society. A candy store with no cashier. I could come up with more but you get the point.

I think, Wundy buddy, had you been on and then moved here once it closed down, you might rethink your position on Mods.

The place is sane, alive and pretty great because of the system and the Mods..

Bellatrix's avatar

To my knowledge, and with the exception of the recent call for people to volunteer, people are invited to be on the moderation team. Not sure if the manager has called for volunteers before this most recent time.

Also, @wundayatta have you ever thought that perhaps people become antagonistic with you because you so very often complain about moderation? The first private message I think I ever got from you was when I became a mod to ask me why I had agreed to accept the invite. I thought your message was you being nice. I have since realised you weren’t being positive at all. You were questioning my judgement. I don’t think we were friends before but I certainly didn’t then and don’t now bear you any animosity. I can’t speak for other mods. This has been my own personal experience.

I again can’t speak for other mods but I think most people who knew me pretty well before and since I started modding would not say I have changed. If my attitude has changed towards you, it is as a direct result of your many posts about moderation. You are entitled to put your position forward and I would absolutely argue for your right to do so, but it wears a bit thin. It does start to feel as though you are attacking those who do choose to follow the site’s guidelines. Other than that I like your contributions to the site. I think you are a great member.

People don’t so much burn out from the moderation role, I think it’s more their lives take over or they just want to be an ordinary member and not have to deal with spam or proofread questions. The ‘looking for things controversial’ is such a tiny part of what we do and we mostly would and do err on the side of ‘leave it alone’. You don’t agree with the General and Social guidelines but it’s fairly clear cut whether something is on or off topic and definitely not controversial. If we do feel a thread it totally off track we usually give the member the final call on whether to mod it or move it to Social. So, unless you are privy to the decision making process @wundayatta, I don’t know that you can say what does or doesn’t happen. I would say your understanding is based on assumption rather than fact.

I can’t think of a mod that isn’t fair minded and grounded at least most of the time and if one is having a bad day, there are others to point out that perhaps their decision is/was too harsh. I do know we can’t please everyone. That’s just reality.

zensky's avatar

I also want to add to what @Bellatrix said that the site is managed by the very capable @augustlan – and she both sets the tone and manages the mods and does a great job at it. I really think it’s time to settle in and chill – we have General for Ryan and those who like the facts – Social for Wunday and those who want to chitchat and be all creative and/or silly – and Meta – where we can really say whatever the fuck we want about anything related to Fluther. Still too moderated? There’s chat.

syz's avatar

@wundayatta not long after they are mods, they become people I argue with a lot. They become antagonistic. They pick fights they don’t need to pick

Um, no, you get moderated, and then you become antagonistic, pick fights, and argue.

Paradox25's avatar

@zensky “The place is sane, alive and pretty great because of the system and the Mods.” Yes, I wouldn’t want fluther to turn into Yahoo Answers, Sodahead or worst (yes there is much worse). Gee if someone is going to be allowed to flame and troll I would leave the site allowing this.

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