It is entirely possible that I might get myself into hot water for writing this - as some might see it as unprofessional. But there is something I
wish to address, briefly, that has been kind of gnawing at my inner-core a little. Enough that the bit of trouble I might get into makes getting this
off my chest seem to be, well, worth the risk.
The last time we announced additions to the ATS staff, as usual, a Board and Business questions thread was started upon the subject. This is customary
and has been a time honored tradition as far back as my ATS memory goes. A chance to publicly acknowledge the members who were deemed to be considered
the best of the best - based upon a variety of criteria. And in these new mod announcement threads there are usually several posts, each and every
time, lamenting that one of the "chosen" will be sorely missed in the community because, as we all know, many mods tend to go mostly silent after
becoming mods. People asking these questions also tend to ask why this seems to happen. Why does a highly contributing member join staff and end up
I wish to address some aspect of this.
First. Once we reach staff we realize that any shenanigans we pulled as members have to stop. In my case, I was a very active poster in the political
forums and I had no qualms at all about being way too direct and even, sometimes, biting enough in my comments as to skirt or break the rules. Once
on staff I was instantly aware that I was now an example and to adjust my posting style, as best I could, to honor that. Every single member of the
ATS staff began life here as a member. Every single one. So we have all had to make these adjustments - and they can be difficult things to
accomplish. Just as with any group. We try our best and succeed as often as possible - and fall short as infrequently as possible.
But this does make posting a bit less organic and, therefore, a bit less fun.
We also tend to start feeling a sense of responsibility about what
we post in general. An example of that. I discuss my mental health diagnosis
and treatment here and I am sure that there are those who feel it to be in poor taste or even a conflict of interest. I know that more than one member
of the community has asked me directly "How can you judge me when you're not right in the head"?I reply that I have no cognitive impairments. But this
type of thing happens in other ways. As a member, you can post a picture you found on some other website and start a "Ghost or not? You decide" thread
and, maybe get flamed a bit... but flamed based upon the thread or picture itself. If a staff member does it? Well then it all goes a different
direction and, invariably the post comes:
I'd expect more than this from a member of staff...
Then, of course, as many of us have seen, there is just the flat out, pointless, unprovoked ad hominem aspect where a mod posts and someone comes
along and just makes a snarky remark and throws out some totally off topic at hom that only attacks the posting members status as staff - and not what
they said at all.
In all honestly, those of us on staff have thick skin. We don't take it to heart. We look at any posts of these natures and substitute ourselves ( or
peers ) out of them. In other words, call me a "jerk" and if a complaint comes in, we simply treat it as if any member were called a "jerk" and deal
with it that way. We go to such great lengths towards being fair that your
one line post migtht cause a twenty page moderator conversation on
whether or not it is a good or bad post. We really do try to do the right thing, 100% of the time. The membership here is ALWAYS are primary concern,
because we are members as well.
Let's address some myths:
*Moderators are employees. -
TRUTH: We are not. We are volunteer members.
* Mods are all "lefties"/"righties" etc. -
TRUTH: We come from all cultures religions, nations, and belief systems.
*Mods have agendas. -
Sure, everyone on the planet does, in one way or another. And we are human. But we do things by consensus just to ensure that no agendas gain a
foothold. This is where our diversity as a staff comes in.
*Mods censor. -
Truth: Mods enforce the rules - the ATS Terms & Conditions
. If you see a thread or post
disappear, believe me, the person who posted it is aware of why. The fact that we don't make this public is to protect the privacy of members. A
handful of people dislike this notion and tend to get vocal. So be it. Their voices have been heard and considered. In the end YOUR privacy as a
member matters more to us than THEIR curiosity.
And I could go on but I've made enough of my point. Many members of staff, in my opinion, stop posting, or do so far less often, because mod bashing
will get you a few quick flags or stars and make a few other members giggle. But does it serve the community? Not at all. What it does is demotivate
some of the best members of ATS to stop contributing. And that hurts the entire community - each and every one of us. I'm not asking for any hind
quarters kissing here. Just treat a staffer as you would any other member. I can tell you that there are many folks, back here behind the curtain, who
still have an untapped number of stellar threads locked inside of them and raring to get out. It's high time that we welcomed their input again.
I may well be the most prolific posting mod at this point and time and I'm not here lobbying for myself. I am truly here lobbying on behalf of you,
the members, and for the other members of staff, also contributing ATS members. It's time for the cheap shots and easy stars to matter less than the
potential contributions that we are missing out on.
That's my say on that.
Flame, hate, respect, disregard, agree... I don't care. I just ask you to consider what you've just read. If you wish to see threads coming from your
favorite staff member but notice it happens less and less... then help to create the type of atmosphere that fosters their participation.
edit on 10/5/12 by Hefficide because: It's been typogeddon on thins one