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Anonymous Moderating

Last posted Jul 23, 2011 at 05:15PM EDT. Added Jul 14, 2011 at 01:38AM EDT
12 posts from 9 users

Building on the idea of having all emails redirected to a collective entry mod account or the dashboard, I was wondering how people would feel about a collective forum moderator account or simply anonymous moderating.

If you are too lazy to read how the system could work (information probably more interesting and relevant to the admins and moderators), just skip down to the tl;dr at the bottom, yo.

The system could work in two ways:
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The first, and more complicated way, would be to set up a new, anonymous moderator account for the sole purpose of forum moderatorship (whose username, avatar, and password would not be able to be changed for obvious reasons). Let’s just call the account, Bob. Moderators would be able to see which moderator posted what within the Bob account, for the purpose of checks.

It might be possibly set up so that mods could switch easily between the accounts without logging out and logging back in (like up on the screen, “Yo Ogreenworld! Yo Bob!”; simultaneously logged into both). That would also allow for the system to easily identify which moderator is using the collective account.

If it’s too complicated to set it up so that mods could easily switch between the two, the system could prompt the mod to input their password before posting, so that the system can identify the mod using the collective account.

The benefit to this approach is Bob’s account acts as a common wall for users to post/complain/report on.
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The second, and much much simpler way, would be to have a checkbox next to the “Post a Reply” area for the mods, similar to the Anonymous ## Mod on 4chan. After posting, the avatar and username would be replaced by the generic moderator avatar and username.

The problem with this is that there is no common wall for people to post/report on, although it could be set up so that when a mod clicks the checkbox, the post will be attributed to the collective moderator account (Bob) under “forum posts”, so that there could still be a common wall.

Again, although it would be anonymous to users, other mods would be able to see who posted what.

Or there could be a third, simpler way I don’t know of yet.
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Serious Cat cannot be used by the forum moderators. And it shouldn’t be because that could be messy if a mod decided to use it and go ballistic and James Wu (sysop) would have to get involved. So basically, if we wanted anonymous moderating, Serious Cat can’t be simply extended to the use of forum mods, a slightly different system would need to be developed, or the current system revised.
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tl;dr Regardless of how it’s done, the rationale behind the anonymous mod account is that there is always this potential tricky situation that could (and does) sometimes exist:

The moderator looks at the thread and thinks its pretty bad/derailed/whatever and that it should be locked, or that post deletions should happen. The moderator doesn’t want to lock the thread/delete posts without saying why the thread turned bad, but also doesn’t want to be publicly attributed for doing so because of potential complaints on their wall and/or future resentment.

I don’t know how messy this would be on a programming level. One problem of anonymous moderatorship is that there is definitely room for potential moderator abuse (which is why i stress that mod’s should be able to see what other mods are doing on the collective account, hopefully reducing/eliminating the issue). Another problem is that you wouldn’t be able to distinguish between forum moderators under the anon account, which is something many people will inevitably feel slightly uncomfortable about. And of course, there are also probably other potential issues that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Anonymous moderatorship also allows for more active, less hesitant moderating- which may be or may not be a good thing, depending on your opinion.

So I’m curious- admins, moderators, and users- how would you feel about anonymous moderatorship in the forums? Good? Bad? In between?

Last edited Jul 14, 2011 at 03:33AM EDT
Jul 14, 2011 at 01:38AM EDT
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There are a few cases that I have been in with locking and moderating that this would have come in handy. I think if there is some set rules for the use of the account and other mods, or at least admins, are able to tell who it is, it could work and give us a way around a few sticky situations.

Also, what powers do you think it should have? Just those of a forum moderator?

Jul 14, 2011 at 01:44AM EDT
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Chris wrote:

There are a few cases that I have been in with locking and moderating that this would have come in handy. I think if there is some set rules for the use of the account and other mods, or at least admins, are able to tell who it is, it could work and give us a way around a few sticky situations.

Also, what powers do you think it should have? Just those of a forum moderator?

Well, since not all moderators have the ability to ban, I guess the collective account could have the ability to suspend forum posting for 5-24 hours+report until another mod decides whether to actually ban a user. Maybe. Bans are technically already anonymous, though, so a mod who has banhammer could explain why a person is banned through the Bob account, ban the user through their real account, and all the mods are notified through e-mail.

I dunno, I think the issue of mod privacy is mainly an issue on the forums, so I’m not sure what other powers could be useful…

Also, yeah, I def agree with the need to have some set rules.

Last edited Jul 14, 2011 at 03:24AM EDT
Jul 14, 2011 at 01:50AM EDT
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I’m a Mod on another Forum, and we have a joint account. But we don’t use it for moderating.

The reason is because if someone’s already using the account, and a second Mod tries to log in with the shared account, the one originally using it is forced to log out. So, if there is a major spam fest on KYM one day, and several mods need to clean up, would that one account be enough? What if several mods try to access it at once?

I don’t know if this issue will affect KYM, but It’s just a thought.

Jul 14, 2011 at 06:14AM EDT
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I’d say that that is different because in the case of a spam fest, there is no reason for moderators to be anonymous in cleaning it up, and all forum mods have the ability to get rid of posts anyway.

This is more in the case of avoiding confrontation with regular users.

Jul 14, 2011 at 12:41PM EDT
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I am personally not a fan of the idea of a joint moderator account. Maybe it’s because I don’t really care about potential complaints or future resentment. Also I think as a moderator you have to man up and face the music whenever you do something that would get someone mad. Hiding behind Bob mod so that you can be on good terms with people you never have to meet seems like a wimpy thing to do. But whatever, if you guys are worried about people’s opinion of you then maybe it would be worth it. I won’t use it.

Last edited Jul 14, 2011 at 09:02PM EDT
Jul 14, 2011 at 03:15PM EDT
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I don’t think I will either.

Jul 14, 2011 at 07:54PM EDT
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Hm. I don’t have a problem attaching my name to unpopular decisions. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even have attached my real name to this account. I also wonder if having the anonymous account might be too impersonal?

Jul 14, 2011 at 07:58PM EDT
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Captain Blubber wrote:




I am personally not a fan of the idea of a joint moderator account. Maybe it’s because I don’t really care about potential complaints or future resentment. Also I think as a moderator you have to man up and face the music whenever you do something that would get someone mad. Hiding behind Bob mod so that you can be on good terms with people you never have to meet seems like a wimpy thing to do. But whatever, if you guys are worried about people’s opinion of you then maybe it would be worth it. I won’t use it.

I am gonna have to agree with this.

You know, an anon could hack the account, and causes massive lulz, for the lulz, you really cant stop it, and you really can’t find out who is doing it, but you can’t really ban the moderator, who is gonna ban you.

Last edited Jul 15, 2011 at 08:31PM EDT
Jul 15, 2011 at 08:28PM EDT

Well, the anonymous account wouldn’t be able to ban (since bans are already anonymous to everyone except the mods).

And the system would make it so that other mods can see which mod is using the account. (so an anon would have to hack a mod’s account first, and then log into the anon account, making it easy to ban the mod.)

But yeah, I see people’s points.

Jul 15, 2011 at 08:39PM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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