Hee...hee. Some folks will get a chuckle out of the ironic twist of that title. Who says we have no sense of humor about ourselves?
The last few days have seen ongoing discussions in two or three sidebar threads about moderating at Blazersedge, how and why it's done, etc. This is NOT an invitation to restart or rehash those conversations. Plenty enough has been said already on all sides. But it did strike me that some of the topics, questions, and clarifications covered would be useful for a main page post. The Blazersedge community grows over time and an occasional post about such things helps.
The very first place to start in any discussion of conversation and conduct here is the Site Conversation Rules. If you haven't read them and you're one who likes to tread the edge of things conversationally, you may wish to do so.
Moderation in General:
As far as moderation goes, the long and short of it is:
1. You have the general guidelines clearly printed.
2. When you post on Blazersedge you realize that your comments or fanposts may be edited or deleted to preserve those guidelines.
3. No guidelines could possibly cover every possible permutation of conversation. Where there is gray area Dave and Ben have the final say and reserve the right to moderate any post that we feel is detrimental to the site, the conversation, the readers, or the spirit of the guidelines. Obviously this gives us some latitude but if you are inclined to chafe under that or if you don't trust us to do that honorably and well then this is probably not a site you'd be happy at anyway.
If this all sounds intimidating or restrictive, consider this: I'm headed towards my third year here at Blazersedge. Compared to the 5,274 fanposts extant in the archives I have probably deleted no more than a dozen for reasons other than duplication of topics already being covered. That's about .002%. The rate for comments as a whole is similar.
Flags and E-mails
The best way to deal with a post you think needs to be moderated is to flag it as such. Ben and I do check the flags once a day at least. Flagging a post doesn't mean it will automatically get deleted. In fact I delete very few posts with just one flag, as I usually try to take the best construct on people's words and intentions. But the flagging system helps us keep an eye on things.
If you see a fanpost, thread, or comment that you think needs immediate attention because it's in such bad taste or it's threatening to explode into ugliness, I do accept e-mails also. Please reserve these for the worst cases.
Politics, Religion, and Other OT Stuff
Ben and I have both noticed an increase in political and/or religious examples, analogies, and conversations lately. Generally I don't mind off-topic stuff as long as it's labeled as such and as long as you're not hijacking someone else's thread with it. Sometimes politics and religion aren't even that OT, as those worlds do intersect sports. Unless there's a specific sports-related reason, though, you should keep those opinions off of the site. This is particularly true if you're simply pulling them in as an example/analogy to support another point that has nothing to do with politics or religion inherently. Those statements are all but guaranteed to sidetrack the conversation. Find different examples and analogies that aren't so personal and controversial. If you do find yourself legitimately and cordially discussing these hot topics do not escalate the tension or get into flame wars when someone responds to you if you want your thread to stand. If just one guy goes off the deep end I usually delete just that one comment and let the rest be. If a bunch of people start doing it (or two back and forth) that whole section of thread usually gets nuked.
Discussion About Moderating
This is another gray area that's come up. I welcome legitimate questions about the hows and whys of moderating decisions. I almost always take time to respond. However you need to make those inquiries via e-mail rather than in the fanposts. As someone pointed out a few weeks ago many an online site has devolved into completely tedious and nonsensical arguments about moderating. That's not good for the site and it makes most people roll their eyes or ring around to witness a fight...both of which detract from the purpose for being here.
Consider Blazersedge like a massive open mic night. We give all of you microphones, turn up the amps, and let you go. That's what makes the site cool. But if you take the microphone and then use it to repeatedly complain about how open mic night is run that's both highly ironic and completely not cool. Eventually it's going to get your amp shut off.
The Most Important Thing to Remember
We work hard to make this site what it is...without renumeration other than the joy of watching it grow and flourish and the joy of being able to participate in conversation with you about a topic we all love. The conversation you guys carry on--the places you take us and the vistas you open--is hands down the best part of being here. We need you guys to take as much care of the site and its conversation as we do.
This is doubly important because neither Ben nor I can be at the site 24 hours a day. (In fact one of the comments that prompted this post was questioning why a certain topic was still standing this afternoon. The commenter said he was confused by the moderation standards. The simple truth was I hadn't had a chance to check the site in the last few hours.) We can't get to every comment or post as it's published to screen it. Every time somebody comes to the site they leave with an impression. Every time the conversation sways into something ugly that's the impression they leave with, and that hurts something we're trying to build up. We have to be able to trust you guys to uphold the standards of conversation and to rep the site well 24/7. If we can't trust you to do that we have to ban you from commenting. It's just that simple.
This is not the city street, this is a place of business. Any proprietor has the right to set guidelines for conversation and conducty within their own place of business. Not everyone will do it the same, and that's fine. This is how we do ours. We hope it makes it a more pleasant place for you to come and converse.
P.S. This is meant to be an informational post rather than a debate/discussion. I don't think we really need yet another thread about moderating (in fact that was part of the reason to post this...to avoid the need for such in the future) so the comments are closed on this one.