Of all of the Mods here, I am probably the one with the lightest touch. Part of that is, I concede, because of my schedule. However, a part of that is also just my personality – I have adulted up enough to the point that I am sick of drama and so I try to avoid it as much as I can. I have been a Mod on more than a few forums in my days and I have seen just about every iteration of goings on and, as such, I have developed a bit of an eye for when I feel I something will just burn out and die naturally and when something actually needs attention.
What happened here recently was completely unacceptable.
Now… I am speaking as myself here however, the other Mods/Admin and I have been in deep discussion on this matter and we are on the same page. So consider me as a mouthpiece and that this is a unified message from all of us.
The issue there, is that there are actually two issues there. The first issue is with how a specific Mod chose to moderate a thread. The second, and more egregious, issue - other people in that thread decided to take advantage of the situation to put forward their own agendas which they then used to incited a riot mentality attack.
I will say it again: This was not acceptable
Both issues need to be dealt with and everyone in the Mod/Admin crew have been in near continual discussion on the matter. Below is our quorum on both of these issues:
Regarding a situation where there may be a disagreement with how a Mod has chosen to moderate a topic… You may, at times, feel that the Mods are applying the rules inconsistently or partially. While, in many cases, those moderation actions are fully justified, individuals being moderated can, in the moment, feel like victims. At the same time, moderators are human and are not perfect either. These are things you should share with us. A DM to multiple moderators is not just recommended but is actively encouraged.
Contrary to the opinion of some, this is absolutely the best option. First and foremost, it keeps all off-topic chatter out of the thread which is one of the guidelines of these forums. Second, we as Mods/Admin are not a hive-mind. Just like every one of you, we are individuals and we have individual thoughts, feelings, opinions, and attitudes. Sometimes individuals conflict, we get that. If you feel you have an issue where you cannot speak directly with the Mod that performed the action, there are other Mods and the board Admin that are able to intervene and, if necessary, supersede. As a fellow gene-jock, I can see the point Chester was trying to make with their post. As a Mod, I can see the reason Deb commented on keeping the thread on topic. As an outsider on both parts, I could have acted as a bridge to resolve the situation if someone had asked me to get involved. Reach out to one of us. We are happy to help, that is part of our job. Again, do NOT make the conflict public in the thread, that just leads to further moderation and, as should be painfully obvious, escalation.
As for the other issue. There is no excuse or justification for the witch-burning that was, very intentionally, executed here. The decision to remove Crawd’s post from the original thread was 100% the correct action and anyone that cannot see that has a problem, plain and simple. That post was a direct attack against a member of this community and that is unequivocally against the guidelines of this board. It was also completely and totally off topic.
The escalation of the removal of that post leading to the creation of a second, antagonistic, thread is also completely unacceptable. As I said above, I have been a member of, and Mod on, countless forums over my decades of life. One thing that always, always happens is that a conflict arises, the Mods step in and act in an entirely appropriate manner, and then the accusation of censorship begins to get thrown around. If you resort to the “censorship” argument, I hate to be the bearer of bad news to you, but this is a privately owned and operated forum, not a democracy. This is not some third-world government that you can topple with an internet coup. Yes, we as Mods and Admin absolutely have the right (and, for the health of the community, the obligation) to censor. If you want to have the freedom to open your mouth and say whatever you want without care for the consequence, there is a place for you. That place is Facebook. Take your drama there. This is not Facebook. This is the MorphMarket Reptile Community. It is owned and operated by John. John made the guidelines for how he expects people here to participate. We Mods have been tasked with helping John enforce those guidelines. You read and accepted those guidelines when you chose to join the community. If you do not like those guidelines, no one is forcing you to stay here. But if you do choose to participate here, then you do not have the right to complain when we do our best to enforce the guidelines that you agreed to abide by.
To reiterate, the correct process is to share your concern(s) with the Mods/Admin – even repeatedly. This may result in changes in how we run things or it may not. It is possible that you feel that your repeated feedback is not being heard and changes are not being made. If that is the case, then this is probably not the right community for you. It does not give you the right to let your personal dissatisfaction fester and toxify the community. Individuals that intentionally incite these riot-type attacks are unwelcome and have no place here. I can say without hesitation that if anyone pulls a stunt like this in the future we will ban them from the boards and not feel a single moment of guilt over the action.
By now, the astute among you have probably noticed that there have been some changes in the ranks. Some here may feel vindicated and that they have accomplished exactly what they wanted with this stunt. We very strongly advise anyone that feels that way to not go patting yourself on the back. You were not “standing up for the community” or “putting authority in their place”. I will once again reiterate that the very public tantrum and the associated public flogging of members of our community crossed a line and is completely unacceptable.
End of discussion.
Now, I have had my say and I am in need of a small respite from this. So I shall go and brew some tea and, it is my sincere hope, return to my status as being the Mod with the lightest touch.