Joined: Oct. 2005
I'm sorry that moderation does not always involve bright lines and black letters. Sometimes things which are acceptable in some contexts would really damage a thread with a different context. Sometimes it's hard to see the difference between the permissible and the impermissible. There have not been many examples of my moderation, maybe 10-20, so I understand that people have uncertainty sometimes. To that extent, I've been PMing people to help them get a better feel, and here are some things I would like to mention.
Saying something bad once, and saying it 500 times, are two different things. Saying "I bet you put firecrackers up your cat's butt." is bad, and probably will get moved to the Bathroom Wall. Saying, every day for two months, "So, how many firecrackers you put up your cat's butt today, huh? 50? 100? Killed it yet?" will get more than the Bathroom Wall.
If you say something you shouldn't, it has a much better chance of going unnoticed if you sprinkle in a little humor. "You're a total shithead" is a lot worse than "You're a big poopy-pants", though neither is very good.
An unpleasant statement made by a person whose last 50 comments have been good, is much more acceptable and safe than an unpleasant statement made by a person whose last 50 comments have been unpleasant statements.
Those are just a few things kicking around in my head lately.
But there's something else to talk about. I try to moderate by leaning on people a bit rather than banning them. I don't remember how long I've been moderating here, a few months, and I haven't seen fit to ban anyone, though one or two people might say they've been threatened. Anyway, there's still a little too much acid on some of the threads, and so we've thought of nonlethal punishments, and here's one I'm going to implement in the rare times when it's necessary: the Time Out. If a person says some terrible thing which he's been warned not to say, he may find his posting privileges suspended for a day or two so he can cool down and distract himself with other pursuits. BTW, if you're reading this and thinking, 'I only visit here when I'm at work, so this means I can now say some really foul stuff every Friday', yeah, don't think that way. I think just the threat of the Time Out will discourage bad behavior. I mean, this is the greatest site in the world, how could you possibly stand to be away for two whole days?
We'll see how it works. In any event, feel free to PM me and tell me I'm an awesome and sexy moderator, or that I'm a semi-literate, drunk-on-power imbecile with heretofore-unknown chromosomal disorders. You know, the usual.