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:
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.
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.
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.
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?