Or maybe not so long-- I don't know yet. Knowing myself as I do though, I expect it'll be long.
First-- insulting though at least one member of admin has claimed the assertion to be, mods ARE authority figures. That's the specific thing that
separates mods from regular members-- they have some measure of authority here. Yes, they may want to continue to participate in the forums and treat
others and be treated by others as regular contributing members, but in the end, they do have authority.
With authority comes at least the possibility of abusing that authority. While I have yet to see any truly egregious abuses of that authority, it
must not be forgotten that the possibility exists. For mods and admin to state, categorically, that mods do NOT abuse their authority is an open
invitation for those who are so inclined to do so, and for those who see abuse everywhere to see it here.
Of course it's possible that the fact that they can abuse their authority is something of which they are aware and even something that they discuss
and even, potentially, something about which they occasionally take action, and the intent of the statements defending mods here on the public boards
is but an attempt to avoid discrediting all of them over the actions of a few. From a strategic viewpoint, I can see some advantage to this, but I
can't help but think that ONLY discussing potential mod abuse ("spite-modding," as I've seen it referred to elsewhere) in private has the same
effect as not discussing it at all-- it leads the members to believe that the actions of mods are never questioned, and that there are no cases in
which their actions are perceived, by the admin and the other mods, to be anything other than entirely acceptable. I personally think that the
occasional public flogging of a mod who has abused his/her authority would do wonders to limit the suspicions levelled against them by the
anti-authoritarians amongst us.
Additionally-- with authority comes responsibility. The mods have an ongoing responsibility to conduct themselves in the manner that is expected of
the members here. Of course they're human, and of course they'll fail to do so, at least from time to time. However, mods MUST, specifically
because of the authority that they have been granted, make a deliberate effort to abide by at least the basic rules of this forum and to ensure that
the other mods are doing the same. While mods might resent being held to a higher standard, their authority means that they must be. At the very
least, in order to maintain their credibility, they must freely admit their errors.
Yes, they're certainly human, just as all of us are, and yes, they'll certainly sometimes fail to live up to their responsibilities, just as all of
us do. But the rest of us aren't entrusted with authority-- the rest of us have no practical reason to maintain the respect of the community. Many
among us hold the respect of others in high regard, and do whatever we can to maintain it, but that's our choice-- we don't HAVE to do that in order
to continue being members. However, mods, in order to continue functioning as mods, HAVE to keep the respect of others. That means, like it or not,
that they're held to a standard that only some of the members maintain, and that none of the members have
And honestly, I would have to think that among the fundamental prerequisites for anyone even being considered for a mod position would be the fact
that they already hold themselves to such a standard, and already earn the respect of the other members.
Personally, I find the sheer number of moderators here, and the powers that they have been granted, to be sort of odd and unsettling. This is, after
all, a conspiracy
oriented website. Conspiracies are carried out by people who have entirely too much power, so it seems odd that a site
devoted to the study of the subject would have so many people with so much power. And honestly, the mods are going to be criticized here, even more
than they might be elsewhere, simply because the kind of people who frequent this site are already, for the most part, deeply suspicious of those who
wield power. It actually could be said that the mods here have an even greater responsibility to explicitly follow the rules, to not abuse their
power and to not tolerate others among the mods who fail to follow the rules and/or who abuse their power simply because the particular people who
frequent this site are already inclined to suspect such abuses. And that's another reason why actions taken against mods should be public rather
than private. While that might lead to some animosity and drama on the boards, it's not as if there isn't already animosity and drama, and there
are already rules in place to deal with excesses of either one, and, at the very least, such public floggings would forestall the suspicion, evident
among many of the members here, that such floggings don't happen at all, and that the mods are above the rules.
But yes, mods are only human, and it's really not fair to demand that they be held to a higher standard than everyone else.
But they do have authority that others don't have, and with that authority comes responsibility.
But they really do seem to be, almost without exception, fine human beings.
But if there's even the possibility that any among them might abuse their positions of authority, that is something of which all of the admin and
mods must be aware, and regarding which they must be ready and willing to take action if necessary.
But I'm certain it's frustrating to be held to a higher standard when one simply wants to express an opinion.
But... well... them's the breaks.
I'll tell ya one thing-- they definitely don't get paid enough.
Edited postscript-- this is not, nor was it ever intended to be, anything other than a general response to this thread. It has nothing to do with any
particular mods, but was rather meant solely to be a general statement regarding the overall management of this site, the authority and
responsibilities of moderators, and the relationship between the moderators and the members. Honestly.
[edit on 25-12-2005 by Bob LaoTse]