As many have noticed and already commented to me, URNA has a few new Chat Room Moderators or Mods. Since some have asked, I thought I would share how I went about making the choices.
URNA means a lot to me just like many of you. I have a strategic vision that I apply to every decision including the selection of Mods.
One of the first things I did was to look at the activity of the existing Mods. As anyone who spends anytime in chat already knows, out of 10+ existing mods only about 4 are active. Most of the existing mods were not even active on the site.
The next step was to send a letter to all existing Mods, thanking them for their support over the years and asking if they wanted to remain a Chat Room Mod. I also briefly described my expectations which are as follows:
- A Mod represents URNA and needs to treat everyone with respect even those who are being disruptive. Chat should be an open and welcoming space for everyone. Besides, it takes less energy to be nice.
- If someone is violating Chat Rules you should never threaten in an aggressive manner. If the action continues after a warning, make an announcement to the room that “after being warned “person” is being kicked from the room for violating the Chat Rules”. That said, every situation is a little different and requires judgment.
- A Mod needs to be engaged in the main chat enough to know what is happening in the room and limit IMs, private conversations at least to the point they can follow the room.
- I will not second guess decisions, but a pattern of egregious behavior is cause to ask a Mod to step down. This is expected to be a very unlikely occurrence.
I also sent a similar letter to two groups of potential new Mods: people who asked to be Mods and about an equal number of people I picked for specific reasons. Some were chosen based on a strong belief that they will be excellent Mods and will give me their advice even when I may not like what I hear. Some were chosen to reach out to a specific part of our community so that they feel that they too have a voice.
I will likely add additional Mods. These additions will focus on reaching out to less represented groups within our community. For example, I would like to have more non-US Mods.
I plan to repeat this process yearly. Being a Mod is a thankless task at times. Why anyone would want to be a Mod reminds of Joseph Heller. To paraphrase, anyone who wants to be a Mod is crazy, if they don’t want to be a mod they are sane, only sane people who don’t want to be Mods are qualified, and will be selected.
I expect all Mods to use diplomacy and a respectful approach. I understand that animosities form over time in a chat room. It is inevitable. How, we conduct ourselves with people we do not like is the measure of our maturity.
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