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Answering a question that a few have asked...

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posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 04:13 AM
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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 silent.

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.

~Heff
edit on 10/5/12 by Hefficide because: It's been typogeddon on thins one




posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 04:29 AM
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Originally posted by Hefficide
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.


There is nothing unprofessional about your post at all.

I always wondered if mods were paid. Thanks for clarifying that they aren't.

Thanks for an informative post.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 04:41 AM
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i smell a conspiricy they make people mods to shut them up (joking)



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 04:43 AM
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reply to post by haven123
 


When I was asked if I wanted to be a mod that was actually and honestly my first suspicion!


It's the truth.

~Heff



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 05:01 AM
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I've noticed too many instances where a moderator will join in a thread and get bashed for speaking his or her mind. At the same time, it's usually the more experienced, more thought provoking moderators who come up with thebest insight and have the eloquence to get their point across.

Has it ever been discussed to have two avatars? Stripping your title of moderator when not moderating would symbolically "neutralize" ( I almost wrote castrate :lol
you in the eyes of the other posters. Something should be done to "kick up" the place.
edit on 10/5/2012 by itsallmaya because: fix sentence



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 05:35 AM
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reply to post by itsallmaya
 


they use them box's around the posts that say they are a mod but speaking as themselfs not as a mod



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 05:39 AM
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Originally posted by itsallmaya

Has it ever been discussed to have two avatars? Stripping your title of moderator when not moderating would symbolically "neutralize" ( I almost wrote castrate :lol
you in the eyes of the other posters.


He's married to his job......don't ask him to have an affair. ( The words "stripping" and "castrate" led me there)


Something should be done to "kick up" the place.
edit on 10/5/2012 by itsallmaya because: fix sentence


I'm not EVEN going to touch that one.


On a serious note, they probably have discussed that, but with the intelligence and technical savvy of some of these posters it wouldn't take long for the truth to come out. And if it did, THEN you would see sparks fly my friend. Some of these users question the motives of this board enough as it is, the higher ups certainly don't need that kind of controversy.

Keep up the good fight Heff.....you're the man.




posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 06:06 AM
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Personally, I think there might be an additional dynamic at work here and it's one I notice is near taboo to talk about. At least, I rarely if ever see it come up...It's how a mod simply appearing to say Hi can kill a thread as quick as a cop literally just going between exits and minding his own business can screw up a whole freeway by doing the speed limit himself.

It's almost unheard of to be on a site with a true staff of authority figures (that covers everything from mods to owners) where there simply isn't some petty sideline B.S. action happening against someone that shouldn't be. One of the things that struck me the most about ATS and it still does as I've seen this proven true over time. Mods never, ever operate alone and without some consensus. I know you and others have confirmed that. None of you could act in pettiness even if you wanted to...and that is special in however it is the precise structure has been put together to make that happen.

So... When a mod drops into a thread, bounding box or not, people just don't really believe that saying the wrong thing won't get them nailed or just pissing off the mod won't come back to bite them a day or week or month down the road in a petty snipe of opportunity. At MOST sites, that would be a perfectly reasonable fear and frankly, reasonable expectation of what would happen. In fact, most places I've been....it wouldn't take a day or a week. One's future could be measured in minutes at times.

I'm not sure what the best solution is for making those general things more widely known. Too much effort would have the opposite effect and people prone to paranoia (no one like that around here! .lol) would be quick to think it wasn't sincere. However, I was here a few months actively posting and really busy before learning that side of how things work and I can say it makes a huge difference. It sure removes all qualms about treating staff like normal folks and just chatting like everyone else.


It's also important..as a part of the above, to note that you guys DO see every post.. at least one of you does.. So a mod dropping in visibly doesn't mean a thread just got discovered or highlighted........as if no one was watching message traffic there anyway. Mods and staff are by the nature of the system that assigns them, the best on here.... It's a shame more don't join in more often.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 06:40 AM
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So, your saying that even if your naughty, there is still a shot that you can be a mod, right? Good to know!!



I do miss some of the great posts from people that are now mods. But that's what it takes to get the offer anyway right? And I think some of the new mods are Great choices!!!!
I think it is still fine that they post as "members" still to give their opinion. It's not like it isn't very clear they are doing so, with that statement in their post.

Just my two cents.

And thanks for volunteering for this job. Seems like it must take up alot of your time. And a healthy bit of patience.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 06:57 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


Hi, Heff.


As I read your post, I started thinking that maybe the posts that "attack" or insult people - simply for being mods - should be edited, just as a post insulting black people, gays, fat people or women would be. I mean, I have a lot of compassion for your situation and I know I get furious when I see the members resort to insulting a person for being a mod. Many times, I even say something. Having been a mod here and being a mod on another board, I know mods are vulnerable to that.

But as I was writing, it became clear that gay people here (just to pick one "group") must endure the ignorant insults and negative opinions of others here against their "group" and unless it's PERSONAL insult, it's pretty much ignored, because people are allowed to be prejudiced, as long as they don't insult personally. For the most part, women, Muslims, Jews, and all "groups" get verbally marginalized ALL THE TIME here.

So, I would suggest you look at each "mod attack" and substitute the word "Jew" or "woman" for "mod" and see if it's a personal or hateful attack. If you would edit it for being a personal insult, edit it. If not, another layer of skin is called for.


I don't quit posting just because someone insults women.
I don't quit posting just because someone insults Obama supporters.
I don't quit posting just because someone insults atheists.

I either discount them or fight back. Within the T&Cs, of course.


I MISS THE MODS. I am one of those people who have complained that every time a good, thoughtful, intelligent and open-minded poster comes along, they get made a mod. And they stop posting. And it pisses me off! And unless they quit that position (as I did), they almost disappear from the board. I can't help but think there's something more keeping the mods from posting than a few insults here and there... If I stopped posting every time someone talked about my agenda (as an Obama supporter) or called me a shill or assumed something stupid based on my gender, religious beliefs, sexual preference or age group, I would have been gone years ago.

So, I guess my position is that if it's a personal insult, edit it as such. If it's just hurtful, join the crowd. There are an awful lot of people out there just looking for reasons to insult people for who they are. Whether they're a woman, a man, a Jew, an atheist, a pro-choice advocate - or a mod. If they can't argue your position, they're going to insult you. That's my experience, anyway.


Sorry if this comes across as a random stream of unorganized thoughts. I just waked up.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 08:25 AM
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reply to post by Taupin Desciple
 





On a serious note, they probably have discussed that, but with the intelligence and technical savvy of some of these posters it wouldn't take long for the truth to come out. And if it did, THEN you would see sparks fly my friend. Some of these users question the motives of this board enough as it is, the higher ups certainly don't need that kind of controversy.


Yeah, your right. By changing the status of a moderators avator for posting personal opinion, that could be misconscrued as being "conspiracy worthy fodder". I didn't consider that outcome.

Thanks





posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 08:27 AM
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Heff, as I'm sure you are aware. I did a thread along these lines some time ago. And I still don't care what certain members thought of that thread. I'm not exactly Mr. Popularity around here anyway. And I'm certainly no thread maker. But I do value this community. Including the moderators, who were once contributing members we basically lost, IMO. Although I understand what you're saying as to why, I echo BH's sentiments. "It pisses me off!"

I'm just glad Slayer, Phage, and a handful of others haven't been "promoted". Though the conspicuous absence of recently "promoted" members such as Rising Against, Kandinsky, etc. is well, conspicuous. But then, so is the outright loss of certain longstanding members.

Ahhh well, things are what they are. I don't have a problem seeing a mod as a contributing member. But some folks do, and I don't know that we'll ever change that.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 10:15 AM
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Lucky for us you are the exception to the rule,
and now we are just trying to find a way to shut you up.


Seriously, you have always made ATS look good, before you were a mod, and since.



edit on 5-10-2012 by Iamschist because: was going to, then I didn't



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Hefficide
 


I do not envy you your task - simple.

By the way - I thoroughly enjoy your posts because they are full of "keeping it real" and I like that.

Anyone would think that the ATS PTB gave a directive for the Mod's to become more involved - but hey - I see conspiracies everywhere.


I do have serious questions though.........



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 12:06 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Your post does make a lot of sense, however, if a mod posts off-topic there is nothing wrong with pointing it out. People do it to me, hell, I do it to myself as well.
Being a mod seems to be a double edged sword. You get the power to strike down those that don't follow the T & C's but, you have to stand by them strictly as well, otherwise you look pretty silly. At least if you start to look silly you can post ban a member or close the thread.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by superman2012
 



Originally posted by superman2012
Your post does make a lot of sense, however, if a mod posts off-topic there is nothing wrong with pointing it out.


Nothing wrong at all. But to say, "That's surprising coming from a mod" is just irrelevant. If someone posts off topic and you want to say something about it, leave the fact that he's a mod out of it. PEOPLE post off topic sometimes... And mods are people.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 12:17 PM
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I have a lot of hostility towards mods because I've never had a mod be truly fair to me.

They've always misused the terms of the forum and often have played favorites. That is to say they would let one other poster say a lot of foul things but never let anyone else.Or other something similar.

Other times somebody will be bashing me out of the blue just because I have a different opinion, and completely regardless of how respectful or diplomatic I phrased it, and when I get heated and fight back the mod will tell me to stfu and let the other posters bash and berate me to no end.

So because of experiencing those things for years I have a strong distrust of mods. And I always will.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by Hefficide

First. Once we reach staff we realize that any shenanigans we pulled as members have to stop.



I guess I don't want to be a mod, then. I love me some shenanigans. And some tom-foolery and skylarking. Plus I'm opposed to the working for no pay thing.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 12:22 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


They sure are, and they make mistakes too. I was post banned for arguing. Not swearing, not calling names. Arguing. I believe I was arguing with around 5 mods at the time. At least you have mods like Heff saying that he is only human when you have others that believe they aren't once they get the "promotion".

As for saying "I expected better from a mod". I don't believe this is out of line as long as it is brought up for a T & C violation. They are the "cops" on here. They should be held to a higher standard. That being said, there are people on here that believe that a mod should not post about certain things just because they are a mod. I don't agree with that.



posted on Oct, 5 2012 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by superman2012
 



Originally posted by superman2012
At least you have mods like Heff saying that he is only human when you have others that believe they aren't once they get the "promotion".


I'm quite certain that if a mod was acting "above the law", he or she wouldn't be a mod for long.




As for saying "I expected better from a mod". I don't believe this is out of line as long as it is brought up for a T & C violation. They are the "cops" on here. They should be held to a higher standard.


I disagree. Everyone should be held to the same standard, as measured by the T&C. That doesn't always happen perfectly, because you have different people with different interpretations. Instead of saying, "I expected better from a mod", if someone breaks T&C, I don't care WHO it is, report it. Don't attack them for being a mod and possibly making a mistake. MEMBERS aren't supposed to break the T&C. Mods are members.

And I don't think being off topic is a violation.



That being said, there are people on here that believe that a mod should not post about certain things just because they are a mod. I don't agree with that.


I don't either. Mods are members, first. They volunteer to help out, but they're not here to be a mod, they're here to participate. They simply should not be treated differently than anyone else. To their benefit or their detriment.



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