Status of Migration of Moderation Systems

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The Lounge What is on Your Mind? Status of Migration of Moderation Systems
# 1  
Old 04-18-2019
Status of Migration of Moderation Systems

First a bit of history ....

A number of years ago one of our admins built a number of plugin systems for moderation, including (1) a voting system, (2) a "user feelings" system and (3) a confidential posting system. During this time, I was busy on other projects, not very active in the forums, and so I did not take any actions to curb these systems, but in general was not pleased with how they were being used.

Last year I disabled both the voting system and the "user feelings" system and began the transition to a more transparent badging and moderation system, partially based on Ravinder Singh's idea to have a very nice badging system and more transparency. However, the main reason I disabled those legacy systems was to insure there was more transparency to all members and that the forums would not contain information about any member which is not transparent to that member. This goal has been mostly achieved, and I am pleased to let everyone know that the forums no longer generate and store subjective information by moderators which is not transparent to forum members. I strongly believe in transparency, as I have posted in the past.

Also, I have created new directions and "policies" to curb the use of the "confidential posting" system because I want to insure that users are fully aware of all subjective moderating actions, even if those actions might not be pleasing to the user. The way I see it is perhaps very simple. No web site should contain subjective information (personal opinions) about a member or user which is not transparent to the user. My idea is that all the new members are just as important as a long standing members, and no member here should encode their opinions about members into the forums unless the member has complete visibility into this information.

This shift in direction has been praised by most members and disliked by a few. Change is always met with these kind of strong opinions. This is human nature; but I am going to continue along this path toward a "new age" at which I think will open up the moderation team to a "new generation of members" who are mobile savvy, on the go, and in the beginning to middle stages of their career. This shift may cause some short term issues for the site, but the site will be better off in the long term as I have been advised by many (in long voice calls, not by text messaging).

Our next generation of moderators will be ...
  • Mobile savvy.
  • Social media savvy (to a certain degree, but not consumed by it).
  • Available to discuss forum topics with the admin team by voice on a regular basis, not only in text messages.
  • Interested in both the "older generation of software tools" and the "new generation computer software tools and libraries".

In addition, I am currently working on a "new live-chat system" suggested by one of our "new generation moderators" Ravinder Singh (who continues to lead by example with great ideas and hard work for even though he works 12 hours a day at his other job), where we will add a layer of discussion on top of, and embedded into, the current forum posting system. I am currently in the early stages of developing this new system and when it is complete, our "next generation users and moderators" will help new users together in this new, more real-time, system.

For example yesterday even while I was only testing the very beginnings of this new "live chat" system, a new member posted in this new (only a prototype) public support area and asked "how do I post a question in the forums?". I sent them a link and they posted without issue. They did not even know it they were helped by "Neo" because I was using a Guest account to reply. This new system of "easy chatting between members, guests, moderators, and each other" is still under development but it is already had some success. I was encouraged by this yesterday.

In the future, users, including moderators, will be able to assist any new user on their mobile phone or desktop in a "live chat" environment and help them out regarding basic site usage or some other issue. The main Q&A will be in the forums, but we will add a layer of "live messaging" on top of the site. We may also use this new "live chat" for moderation in the future, as it new system and features mature, and we may eventually disable the legacy infraction systems. At least that is a side goal.

I don't have all the details yet, as I am currently debugging some publish-and-subscribe frameworks, coding more than anyone probably should (not exercising enough for sure), and trying to find one new framework will be the best underlying foundation for this new "interactive future" we plan for the forums.

All of our current moderation team has done a great job over the years using the legacy toolsets for moderation and most are very supportive of the coming changes. I greatly thank them for their years of service to the community and it is my hope they will also enjoy the new system as it matures and grows.

As far as "the next generation", we will open up opportunities for a new generation of moderators and members who are mobile and social media savvy and who demand more interactive messaging features in addition to traditional Q&A in the forums.

These are exciting times and as always, if anyone has as time and a desire to code in Vue.js and Javascript for the site, testing and debugging in node.js, please contact me directly.

Thanks to everyone, past, present and future members here who enjoy helping others and learning together.

Thank you all so much!
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# 2  
Old 04-23-2019

I wanted to add to the status post above.

A few long time team members (and very strong contributors) are not happy with me and have become inactive recently. The reason for this "unhappiness", in my view, is the fact that trying to manage difficult issues like retooling and remodeling a site like this requires more than just communicating via text messaging. The team members I talk with on the phone (by voice) on a regular basis and I do not have any misunderstandings. Misunderstandings often arise when people only want to communicate by messaging. Ultimately I have to make the changes the site needs. We cannot continue as "rusty, legacy forum". When we complete building out the new Live Chat and other new systems, I plan to disable the legacy infraction system forever.

Recently I bought a condenser mic so I could talk to people while working (taking a much need break from coding) and have been trying to talk to people by Skype, What's App or Line (by voice) more so there are less misunderstandings. Ravinder and I talk on the phone at least once a month and by chat often.

Recently one of our most beloved long time contributors left the site, who was someone I dearly loved, because I typed something like " we need to bring in new moderators and not only have the "old guard" moderators" , which I thought at the time was a kind of endearing term, since I'm also getting as old as dirt myself and like to make fun of the fact we are all getting older and need to be more accommodating and responsive to the needs of the younger generation(s).

If we had of been talking on the phone, everyone would have heard my voice and laughed, but instead, text messaging caused people to misunderstand each other and get emotional. Text messaging does not work. The leadership team must be willing and happy to talk on the phone, and often. Later this year, I may disable the current private messaging system and use a variation of the new chat features I'm building now.

This is the problem when we are making big changes. Text messaging. I am really getting disappointed to see how people are so set on living in a "text only" world. Text is cool; but we also need voice communications.

Moving forward, I want to build a closer community of forum leaders This means we will seek new team members who are willing to talk on the phone one-on-one or in small groups (because the time zone differences are too huge to conference all at once), and who will work with users in Live Chat (or something similar as we evolve) and who fully support our changes as we modernize the forums.

Today, in Live Chat a new member told me we had the best forum on the net and he loved the "dark mode" and our Live Chat support. That same user told me he had never had any site respond to him like we did today using the new Live Chat area.

This is our future.

Responsive, mobile savvy, new member focused.
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