Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Toronto, Canada
Moderation is only good in moderation
Most forums are often flavoured one way. If you like the taste of vanilla, that's fine, but if you want the chance to be offended (by anybody but the moderators themselves), you will be out of luck ... unless perhaps you're willing to attack the way things are done.
If you don't get a bad taste in your mouth from reading forums, you're not reading the "right" forums.
Moderators are just regular people who happen to make many mistakes. Rules are made to be broken (I still can't believe you can't type the "s" word in this forum -- even with a well-placed asterisk, or as part of another word).
I find most moderators to be more annoying than any troll I come across. Trolls tend to be passionate posters (even when they don't contribute anything important), and can occasionally add things to the conversation that nobody else would dare say. A troll or flamer doesn't really care if he/she gets banned from the forums and that's why I treasure them. Many of them get the flaming out of their system and then occasionally become good posters. The only downside is that they tend to drive some other great posters away. Hopefully, most of those great posters will eventually return, but if not, others will eventually take their place.
The best thing that moderators do is simply moving posts to the appropriate threads (or mentioning related threads). Anything else is often just overkill and an abuse of power. Off-topic comments are often dissed, but even they often add extra flavours to a thread that help to widen the scope of it and help to make it more enjoyable to read as well as keeping the thread alive and flourishing. A "dead" thread often becomes a closed thread, but often only because the moderators work too hard to keep threads on topic.
The masses seem to love order and common decency, but too much of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That's why I like these forums -- almost pure vanilla in taste, but every once in a while somebody breaks the forum rules and I get to read the posts that contain other flavours (as long as I currently subscribe to a thread that contains the edited or dumped comments).
Freedom of speech seems to be tolerated if you're one of the "chosen" ones, but if you're not, you better sprinkle your posts with plenty of vanilla, or else your posts might be spit out and then be vilified as being in bad taste. A simple post can be interpreted in many different ways, but it's a moderator's interpretation that seems to matter most -- that is clearly unfair, but since life itself is unfair, I just grin and bear it.
If moderators continue to burn bridges, there will be fewer trolls like me willing to participate. I don't think that's a good thing. Trolls are people too. Vanilla is a tasty flavour, but I like mixing in some cinnamon to keep things more interesting (at least for me). Bending the forum rules is always a risky thing, but once you've done it a few times, you'll be able to see how silly some of the rules actually are (that goes for all website forums).
I used to LOVE reading the Hacking Netflix forum, not necessarily for the Netflix news (much of it could be found through simple Google searches), but for the crazy and often well-written comments by many of its readers (hello, B.P.). However, as soon as that site started to heavily moderate the comments made by some of its more interesting posters, it became too vanilla, and thus I now only visit it once or twice a month.
This website is filled with interesting news, comments and educated writers, but I miss the crazies. Perhaps they all left to become moderators of other websites or have joined Occupy Forums.