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Moderation Policy Update - Sept. 2015

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  • Ref Moderation Policy Update - Sept. 2015

    The moderators and administration at SomaSimple, would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the moderator account, Occam's Razor. This account has been used (facetiously) on one occasion in the last couple of years, but is going to be used with increasing regularity (relatively speaking) moving forward.

    In the past, each moderator had been tagged or labeled (adjacent to their avatar) as an 'arbiter' whenever they contributed a post to the forums. This labeling had been beneficial in identifying which members were (or were not) moderators, but it had become increasingly evident that this overt distinction was not necessarily helpful, or necessary. As a result, you will notice that (since this past weekend) moderators are no longer labeled/tagged as 'arbiters' when they post.

    It is our hope that this will clear up some potential areas of confusion:

    (1) Moderators are members too. Sometimes - especially in contentious threads - it was challenging to determine if a moderator was acting as just another thread participant sharing an opinion or a moderating authority. Now, there will be no confusion - there is no possibility of other members mistaking the post of an individual moderator as a consensus position of moderators, the board, or it's administrator (Bernard). If we put our names next to it, it is a member speaking, only. If the posting is from Occam's Razor, that is a moderator engaging in a moderator's capacity.

    Please remember, moderating members have opinions just like everybody else along with varying experiences, attitudes, tone, flaws, and insights. If any member is hoping for all of us to behave and speak uniformly, you will be disappointed. There is often strong disagreement behind the scenes, so to expect each moderator (posting as themselves) to carry the same tone and views is unrealistic.

    This can be a wonderful thing, because SomaSimple should not be an echo chamber. Instead, it should focus on being a scientifically-informed and heterogeneous group of critical thinkers with the shared aims of improving patient care for our patients/clients. That being said, moderators are obligated to follow the same rules (as set forth by the site's administrator) as anyone else. There should and will be no exceptions.

    (2) Moderators are NOT leaders. Yes, most moderating members have been here longer and post more often than most, but they are best perceived as senior members, not authorities, when participating in the forums.

    Moderating member (posting on their own behalf) are not representatives of SomaSimple or its membership; they speak for themselves only. Moderating members are not elected by members - they have merely been asked/nominated by existing moderators to help manage the site while still respecting each member's freedom of expression (while following a few simple, easy to follow rules). Unfortunately, in the past, the postings of 'arbiters' were misconstrued as "postings/position statements of SomaSimple" with the inferred blessing of other arbiters and admin. This was never intended to be the case and was/has been an erroneous conclusion of readers, lurkers, and members.

    We freely admit: sometimes moderators do a great job, other times we fall short of your (and Bernard's) expectations. Our biggest (most frequent) job is to keep the boards clean and prune spam from the site. Sure, occasionally, things get heated or members start to approach (or jump over) the "line in the sand" as set for in the forum rules - and that is when moderators need to step in and progress a discussion forward (or perhaps squash/close it) if/when needed.

    Please keep in mind, we visit SomaSimple to participate, not moderate. Moderators desire to be participants first and foremost, and do not revel in having to "put on their mod hat" to clean up a mess; we especially don't want to be a part of a mess for another moderator to clean up. Nonetheless, we need help from all membership to moderate the board. Which is why...

    (3) We need increased participation (when appropriate) to help moderate. Contrary to how it may seem (due to our abundant postings) we do NOT read every thread, and we often fail to visit for days at a time. We cannot see everything - and need the assistance of all members to inform us of when forum rules are not adhered to.

    If you see an infraction of the forum rules, we ask that you PLEASE notify us and report via the "Report Post" feature - most mods receive notifications via email when such a report is filed by a member. The more reports that we receive on a given matter, the more serious we know the members are about the infraction. Certainly, you can contribute within the thread to express your opposition (should you be so inclined), but please remember that for all moderators to be aware of an issue, it is best to report it as well. If the issue is related to a moderating member, a different/uninvolved moderator will be assigned the task of stepping in to moderate - this increases the importance of posts being formally reported by members if/when appropriate.

    We are taking seriously the need to be a forum that is simultaneously critical and welcoming to current and future members while trying to afford everyone (moderators included) an opportunity to participate in a manner that is consistent with their own respective perspectives, motives, and values. We hope that some of these changes will help us to reduce confusion and create an environment of increased transparency.

    We want this to be an online environment that all members are proud to be associated with.

    Reference
    SomaSimple Rules and Guidelines
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