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Meet Your Moderators

It's my great pleasure to introduce to you a group of people we've been anticipating for a couple months now: the Blazersedge Moderators.  These folks are tasked with keeping community conversational standards fair and high, welcoming newcomers gracefully, and resolving any difficulties that may come our way creatively but authoritatively.  It's a tall order, especially for a community as dynamic and varied as this one.  I thank each of these people from the bottom of my heart for being willing to take this on.

Your Blazersedge Moderators

Youe Blazersedge Moderators, in no particular order, are:

Prezofdeath, who is likely familiar to you from his podcast work and his numerous comments.

Tdarkstar, a long-tenured member skilled at keeping an even keel.

Jorga, also a long-tenured member whose comments and observations are usually packed with wisdom.

-Ken (formerly known as "Ken" before his name got bagged by somebody else in the SBN switch-over) who has the distinction of being the first person I ever banned.  (Ask him about it sometime.)  He's also experienced in online venues and has been with us since before I came to Blazersedge.

Usmcr3049 who has a great head on his shoulders for both basketball and people.

Geoffm, whom you probably won't recognize off the bat.  He's an uber-experienced computer/online moderation guru and a long-time reader.  He's here to provide the "outside" perspective on our culture and moderation.

I've been talking with these folks for a while now and I can tell you without reservation that we're lucky to have them.  Each of them knows the site.  Most of them know most of you.  They are invested in Blazersedge being the best it can be because they love it like you do.

For anyone wondering why any particular popular name in the community isn't on this list, let me assure you that it's no slight to them.  We have some amazing posters on this site who need to be free to remain exactly that.  Some of the most frequently read community members are far more valuable to us in their authorial and commenting capacity than they would be as Moderators.  Instead of just taking our top six most frequent, quality posters and making them Mods we've run the gamut here.  I think that will prove a strong approach.

A Word on The Process

We all need to understand something.  Just because we've added a half-dozen Moderators doesn't mean the site will never have a questionable comment again.  It also doesn't mean that those comments will be instantly erased so you'll never see them.  None of these people are getting paid in anything but love and gratitude.  This isn't their full-time job.  The fruits of their labor will need to be judged over months, not minutes.  If something is up that seems like it doesn't belong it doesn't necessarily mean that the Mods aren't working.  It may just mean they haven't seen it yet.

Also know that this is an evolving process.  We've already had tons of group discussion before the Mods have even started.  Much of that will continue.  Moderation is seldom a black-and-white issue.  We're negotiating the shades of gray just like you do.

How You Can Help

At the end of the day the quality of discussion on this site doesn't fall on the shoulders of its Moderators.  It falls on your shoulders.  I don't think I can put it any plainer than that.  What this community will be is up to you, the people who comment here every day.

Moderators have certain tasks that they do quite well, but even in those they need your help in order to be effective.

The biggest single hand you can lend is to model great conversation.  One of the issues in the last few months has been that some lower-quality posts have led to lower-quality comments which begat lower-quality responses and so on.  Frustration only breeds frustration.  Responding to badness with more badness makes things worse, not better.  The reverse is also true.  Great conversation usually leads to more great conversation.  That's the side of the ledger we all need to fall on.   That way aberrations will be isolated, infrequent, and easy to deal with from the Mods' perspective instead of a swamp of crud they have to wade through.

The second responsibility this community needs to pick up is the proper employment of the flag system.  We're great with recs but generally poor with flags.  I'll be blunt...with the volume of comments that pass through here daily, especially during the season, even six mods have no hope of keeping up with it all.  You need to help guide them to where they can be most useful.  That means using flags.

A few people had questions when I announced that as of today, people would no longer be welcome to comment negatively on other people's comments or Fanposts/Fanshots.  Part of the cry was, "How will poor comments and posts be dealt with if we don't complain about them?  Badness will run amok unchallenged!"

We all need to realize that those negative comments were wholly ineffective and were bringing the site down.  Generally two types of people make posts that engender frustration.  One is the new person, used to conversation elsewhere and unfamiliar with the different atmosphere of Blazersedge.  They're not sure what a Fanpost is for.  Sometimes their tenor is different than we've come to expect.  This situation is correctable with a little time and patience.  A dozen frustrated comments in a thread first cause those people to react with similar anger in return and then drive them away before they can learn what the site is about.  This reflects poorly on us.  The second type is the troll who loves to stir up crap.  Those frustrated comments please them no end.  In neither case do those comments bring any good.  In both cases other readers not involved in the fray have to dig through the chaff to find the good stuff, which also reflects poorly on the site.  This is exactly why those kind of comments have to stop.

How will poor comments and posts be dealt with if you don't complain about them?  That's part of what the Mods are for.  Instead of a dozen frustrated, ineffective comments you get one or two comments that are targeted and direct.  Newer folks can be guided without being overly insulted.  Trolls can be dealt with by someone with the authority to do more than complain.  The rest of us don't have to read through the drama in order to get to the basketball.

But this only works if the Mods know what to look at.  So from this point forward all the frustrated comments you were going to make end up as flags alerting the Mods that there's an issue.

"This post doesn't belong here" becomes a flag.

"This guy is insulting" becomes a flag.

"This should be in a trade drawer" becomes a flag.

"This should be a Fanshot" becomes a flag.

"This guy called that other guy an idiot" becomes a flag.

"A Mod should look at this thread" becomes a flag (WITHOUT the comment).

"Flagged" becomes a flag (again without the comment, please).

Flags are anonymous.  Only the Mods see who gave them.  The flag button also has a space for explanations.  If you have something to say, you can still say it.  You just say it to the Mods, who can actually do something about it, instead of venting it to everybody.

Basically if a violation is important enough for you to do something about, that "something" becomes a flag, not a comment in the thread.  The options are flag it or let it go.  The Mods have a board that shows the most flagged comments and posts.  They log on, they check it, they are guided right to the areas most in need of attention without having to spend six hours rummaging through every thread on the site.

Meanwhile the comments in problematic threads become fewer, tending towards zero.  New folks know something is up (which the Mods can then explain to them) without getting burnt to a crisp.  Trolls don't get fed.  If trolls don't amend their ways they're on a lonely island of zero-comment threads where they're terribly easy for the Moderators to deal with without anybody else going down in the crossfire because they got involved.

Obviously the flag system needs to be used correctly.  Just disagreeing with you doesn't warrant a flag.  Flagging shouldn't be used as a joke, as that wastes the Mods' time.  Keep "flag pollution" to a minimum.  If you can let something go, let it go.  But if you can't, flag it and know it will be looked at.  It may not be instant if there's not a Mod onboard at that exact time.  The Mods may not agree with your call or may deal with it in a different way than you would.  That's their prerogative.  But it will be looked at.

Last but not least, if you have feedback about the Mods or the system, that needs to happen via e-mail, not in the threads.  The easiest way is simply to e-mail me and I'll make sure your comment gets to the Mods.  Complaining about moderation in the threads is no more effective than the other types of complaining and just as much of a drag to read through.  E-mail us and we'll discuss.

And that's about all we'll say about that.  I'm sure the Mods will say hello in the comment section of the thread.  Feel free to do so as well.

Now onward!

--Dave (