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Should we have moderators?

  1. Jun 5, 2007 #1
    What are the philosophical ramifications for having moderators?
    If you believe we should have them, then what personal characteristics should moderators have?
    Should they be more "moral" than the rest of us?
    Certainly, anyone given the "power" (for lack of a better word) to edit the words of others should display a high level discretion and integrity.
    After seeing a few moderators engage in arguments based on emotion rather than reason, I wonder if moderators should not be allowed to participate in discussions.
    Perhaps, they should remain impartial bystanders.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2007 #2

    DaveC426913

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    Nothing's perfect. If we require it to be so we will never get anything done. Look at the larger picture - the end that justifies the means. If we didn't have moderators, imperfect or no, the board would be much less useful to many more people than it is now.


    I like to use a similar logic in political discussions. eg.: Democracy is a terrible way to run a country. But of all the ways to run a country, it's the least terrible. Remember, you still have to run the country...
     
  4. Jun 5, 2007 #3
    I'd run and hide if I was you now...
     
  5. Jun 5, 2007 #4

    chroot

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    1) There's no such thing as impartiality. Even if we didn't particpate in discussions, that doesn't mean we'd be impartial.

    2) We generally do display a high level of discretion for editing other peoples' words. Deleting posts which do not meet our posting guidelines is a different story -- we've tried to be as objective as possible when developing those guidelines, so we feel rather justified in enforcing them.

    3) We do indeed get into discussions, sometimes heated discussions, with other members. I don't believe any of us have ever tampered with an opponent's posts in effort to "win" any arguments, however. If you see a mentor breaking the guidelines -- incuding me -- feel free to make it known here on the feedback forum.

    - Warren
     
  6. Jun 5, 2007 #5

    berkeman

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    Boy, that wouldn't be any fun. Only being a nuts-and-bolts Moderator, and not getting to give Homework Help and not being able to participate in discussions (like this one). I think most or all of the Mods are people who got a lot out of the PF (and gave a lot back) before becoming Moderators, so primarily they are users just like everybody else. But in addition, we do feel good about enforcing the PF Guidelines, because it helps keep the PF working so well.

    We discuss issues of impartiality and integrity regularly in the Moderator forums -- we really do try to do our best to be fair and keep things running well around here. BTW, in addition to posting here on the Feedback forum, keep in mind that if you see a post (even/especially by a Moderator) that appears to violate one of the PF Guidelines, please use the Report Post button to report the violation, where it will be read by the Mentors and discussed.
     
  7. Jun 5, 2007 #6

    Moonbear

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    I'll just echo what berkeman wrote, and emphasize that those of us who are moderators were here as regular members for a long time before that. It's because we enjoyed the site with all its guidelines (it's much more conducive to intellectual discussion than "free-for-all" type forums) that we are happy to take on the extra responsibility of helping moderate the forums when invited to do so.
     
  8. Jun 5, 2007 #7

    Astronuc

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    None really.
    Saintliness.
    They are, especially the Nuns with Guns. :biggrin:
    They do.
    Afterall moderators are human.
    They are fairly impartial, or reasonably so.

    I agree with chroot, berkeman, and Moonbear.
     
  9. Jun 5, 2007 #8
    I think what makes this forum different (and better) from most other science forums is the strict rules.

    yep. if we didn't have the moderators, physics newbs like me wouldn't know who to trust :biggrin:; any dude with a crazy theory could reply to a question and it wouldn't be a very educational. And non-newbs would probably get frustrated and leave.

    Yea that happens sometimes. It's only happened to me once, and I'd rather the odd good post to be deleted than all the flat out wrong answers to be allowed or the crazy irrational theories.

    edit: if you want to see why we need moderators, here's a simple experiment:

    1 - start a thread that includes the words words "God" or "religion"
    2 - sit back and watch it get out of control
    :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2007
  10. Jun 5, 2007 #9

    radou

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    Wouldn't that classify as hyper-moral? :biggrin:
     
  11. Jun 5, 2007 #10

    chroot

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    If you want first-hand evidence of how such forums turn out, look at www.sciforums.com or the newsgroup sci.physics. I gaurantee you'll be cross-eyed in fifteen minutes or less.

    - Warren
     
  12. Jun 5, 2007 #11

    Integral

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    Moral? What the heck has moral got to do with it? Note that officially we are not called moderators, we are MENTORS. This means that the primary reason for our existence is to guide members to a physically sound answer to question. This is not matter of morality, it is a matter of knowledge.
    How in the world could we provide our primary function if we were not involved in the discussions? I believe that this involvement is one of the strong points of these forums. The mentors are actively involved in the direction discussions take, we do not just watch. We guide.

    Now a question for the OP, what other names have you used here? How many have been banned? How long do you expect to last this time? Our experience tells us that knowledgeable members like the tightly maintained guidelines, it is the crackpots and flakes that object. You are not putting yourself in very good company.
     
  13. Jun 5, 2007 #12

    Chris Hillman

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    A word of thanks to all the PF moderators who make PF usable

    I actually was looking for something mundane (instructions for uploading jpeg or whatever images, to illustrate a tutorial I have been writing with some plots, each of my pictures being worth a thousand of my words), but found this instead. Based on a quick scan of his PF contribs, I'd say that Surrealist likes to argue about controversial topics, but dislikes it when a moderator expresses diagreement with his views :rolleyes: In any case, as a PF user with no rootly powers, I'd like to say that I wouldn't be here except for the invaluable service performed by the PF moderators in suppressing the kooks. No social system for keeping forums on track is perfect, but I really think that on balance PF works as well or better than anything else I've seen, mostly because PF is blessed with enough hard working moderators--- who also happen to be decent individuals--- to make the system work. Thanks, you guys!
     
  14. Jun 5, 2007 #13
    I would also like to thank the moderators of this forum for their time and effort to make the forum a better place for all!
     
  15. Jun 5, 2007 #14

    Evo

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    He was on his way to a ban anyway, but yes, he's a previously banned member.
     
  16. Jun 5, 2007 #15

    G01

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    I enjoy these forums more than any others I've been to. It's rare to find a place on the internet where intelligent discussions can be held easily and openly without nut jobs coming in an ruining them. I think most people agree that these forums are great the way they are.
     
  17. Jun 6, 2007 #16

    ZapperZ

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    This may already be a moot point since the OP is no longer with us, but I think all the members on PF here should also be aware that we do seriously consider our "biases" and roles in a thread that we participate in, especially if the discussion becomes heated. I know of many times of which I have personally recuse myself from taking actions on a thread or against a certain member because I have been involved with the heated discussion, and I know of many other moderators and mentors who did the same also.

    So contrary to popular belief, we do also watch over each other's actions, and there have been many times in which we ourselves have our own discussion on certain actions that was taken, or need to be taken, either against a thread, post, or a member. We may represent a "united" front, but we certainly do not have blind loyalty to each other where we endorse every single thing that the other is doing. It is why we do have to have a rather good excuse to dismiss a member or take actions on a thread or post, because one may be asked to defend such actions.

    Zz.
     
  18. Jun 6, 2007 #17
    I find it strange anyone would've asked that kind of question to begin with. It's usually the Moderators and a few certain regulars I look for in posted replies to keep things in order and on track. Without their interactions here, this place wouldn't be any fun at all. :approve:

    *tips beer mug* Cheers!
     
  19. Jun 6, 2007 #18

    chroot

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    It's true, I've even had other mentors come to me and tell me they think I should undo some action I've taken, or rewrite some objectionable part of a post. It's amazing that they'll critique me, when they know I can vaporize them with one little flick of my magic wand. :tongue: It just goes to show you how effectively our system works.

    Thanks for the compliments, you guys. We all appreciate them. :smile:

    - Warren
     
  20. Jun 6, 2007 #19

    Lisa!

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    Well I don't have time to read all posts so I usually just read some special members' post like science advisers and mentors! I'm glad that this forum have moderators, since I wouldnt be mislead by others posts!
    However I have to admit that whenever I see the name of a mentor as the last poster in a thread, I think that thread's locked!:tongue:
     
  21. Jun 6, 2007 #20

    matthyaouw

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    The mentors on PF are a godsend. Unmoderated/ leniently moderated forums are often near impossible to have a serious meaningful discussion in without all the nutjobs and crackpots posting their own poorly researched attempts at science and derailing the discussion completely. Forums like that can be fun and I'll admit that I frequent one or two, but there are plenty of those around already, so I'm glad PF is as it is.
    Thanks mentors.
     
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