Why Do You Moderate

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by Mac'nCheese, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #1
    It was brought up in another thread that moderators here don't get paid. I was wondering if some of you can tell us why you choose to do this....after all, this site makes a lot of money (according to another thread), why do you work for free?
     
  2. I7guy macrumors P6

    I7guy

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    #2
    Although I'm not a moderator here (obviously) I was a moderator/admin on another site years ago. I did because it was a community, an online community, but there had to be some amount of decorum to keep the place thriving. Moderators help keep the decorum, which keeps the place alive. Many people volunteer for communities they like to be a part of.
     
  3. SnacksGU macrumors 6502

    SnacksGU

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    #3
    Link for this thread about revenue that MacRumor produces?
     
  4. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

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    #4
    Though not as active as I once was, I enjoy giving back to the community. I volunteer here and in ‘real life’ with projects that I enjoy.
     
  5. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #5
    I don't really class it as work. As it's voluntary I only have to do it when I want to and I enjoy helping to look after an online community which has given me a lot pleasure over the last thirteen years.
     
  6. SandboxGeneral, Nov 13, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018

    SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #6
    I did it because I was invited to be a part of the team and when that opportunity came along I thought it would be an interesting thing to do. Part of it was the organizational aspect of my personality in that I could move threads around and contribute to keeping the forum organized appropriately.

    It didn't take long after joining the team to find that everyone on staff was really cool and we have had a lot of good conversations in the back room from policy to personal stuff. It's a lot more personal back there than in the open forum or even the paid private forum. Those were good times.

    The job is voluntary and as Olly said above, moderators can choose to do as much or as little "work" as they like. Some do a lot more and others a little less and that's okay because that is one of the first things you're told when you join the team.

    I retired, twice as it were, because I'm always trying to get things done in my life and when I would see open reports I felt compelled to work on them, though that was of my making. I was getting burned out on handling reports, especially the petty ones - and there are a lot of those. Coming onto the forums became a chore that I no longer enjoyed when I saw there were open reports waiting to be taken care of.

    There are a few members who report every little perceived violation of a rule and its those members reports that probably led me to be burned out due to the pettiness of their nature. I no longer enjoyed coming to the forum and thus retired for the last time. None of that has anything to do with the team, but everything to do with my personality.

    Now that I'm retired and have been for at least a year now, I think, I'm much happier to visit the forum and participate without a red bar at the top of the page with a number of reports glaring at me, beckoning me, to work on them.

    As a side note, considering some of the other S&FF threads, PRSI isn't as big of a problem as some make it out to be. The real problem forums are the iPhone and iOS forums. iPhone is consistently at the top of the pile for reports and when hexmonkey posts the stats every year here, people can see it.

    If people on the forum would be less petty, more objective, forgiving and polite, there would be a lot less problems to deal with.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #7
    Who wouldn't want to wield this:
    Snag_1aa05184.png

    :p

    Seriously it can be a thankless job, the amount of abuse that comes through private messages, and contact us can make your head spin at time, but as long as you have a thick skin (in my case, I have a thick skin and skull :p) its not so bad.

    For me, its helping the community, its not about sending out reminders as much as trying to help members with their discussions. That can be as simple as moving a thread about headphones to the iPhone accessories, or cleaning up a thread because a couple of folks got into a heated argument. To put it another way, I'm not looking to punish people but ensure members can enjoy the discussions
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #8
    I was invited to be a moderator after enjoying the community for a long time, and saw it as a way to give back and help the forum run smoothly. I see it as sort of a hobby now.

    As others mentioned, it is not like having a job where you have any deadlines. You just do as much or as little as you feel like and you can even do the job in your pajamas. :D
     
  9. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #9
    I searched for the title which was something like "this site makes a million dollars a day" but only found this:

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/this-site-is-worth-3-27-million-usd.1082202/


    As for the other comments, thanks but.....I get wanting to be part of a community but this is a business. You are giving your time to make someone else a lot of money not helping a "real" community by donating time to a charity. Don't you feel used? If they make money, they should pay the people who help them make the money, right?
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    Business or not, there is still the community aspect to it that keeps people interested. I don't think anybody was trying to equate moderating here to charity work like serving meals at the food kitchen, but I suppose I understand your point.

    I post at a BMW auto forum called Bimmerfest. That forum was started years ago by a BMW salesperson from Santa Barbara CA and he was active in the forums. In the last couple years he retired and participated less and less in the forum, then recently sold the forum to a Canadian company called VerticalScope. They brought in their own people then moved the forums to Google Cloud with really poor results. They also recently closed their politics forum and handled that poorly IMO. From what I can see, forum traffic is way down and a lot of regulars have stopped posting since the feeling of belonging to a community of like minded hobbyists is diminished. To your point, if MacRumors took a similar "corporate" path like Bimmerfest did, I think I would see things like you do, and I would likely stop being a moderator. For now, I see the MR forums as a hobbyist community where the owner is making some money, not as some corporation raking in money that should be paying moderators.
     
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    Fascinating thread and a most interesting topic.

    I can well see the community part and wanting to see that element maintained, and can also see - given that the degree of participation is self-regulated and motivated by interest in the forum and the community - need not be paid.
     
  12. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

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    Feb 9, 2010
    #12
    I see and agree that there is a big difference between paying the moderators here even a small salary and selling to a big Corp that messes everything up. And yes it’s a community but the owner seems to be making a lot of money not just covering his fees.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    I think if you paid moderators it would change the whole dynamic of moderation in general. As it is now it is fellow forum members who are active in the community itself, so they have a vested interest in wanting to do a good job. Versus someone doing it to earn a paycheck. I'm not sure how that would play out.
     
  14. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

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    #14
    Not if you offered the job to people who have been members for a long time. Also, getting paid is more than a vested interested than doing it for no money, you actually have something to lose if you do a bad job.
     
  15. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #15
    I think the sense of community - and investment of your time & effort and energy in an activity and for a community is something in itself that you can deem fulfilling & rewarding.

    As an example, I was a schools, faculty and university debater and loved it; when I started teaching, my students asked me to adjudicate some of the university society debates - they always wanted at least one member of staff present in that capacity. I did so, and indeed, for a year, I was the permanent 'internal' adjudicator for the university debating society - others on the staff were also asked to adjudicate on a rotating basis.

    It meant giving up Thursday nights for the best part of an academic year, but, to me, it was an honour and a privilege to be asked; surveys tell us that public speaking is one of the things that most unnerves people, and if I could do anything to encourage people to overcome their fear of this - especially women - I was more than happy to do so.

    Years later, teaching in a different, ancient university, (where I adjudicated and chaired student debates whenever I was asked to do so, cancelling only once, with regret, because I had come down with a bad bout of shingles) again, one of my students asked me to adjudicate for an organisation his mother (a teacher) was involved with - a sort of Chamber of Commerce for women - they ran a schools' debating competition for schoolgirls; I was involved with that - which had nothing to so with the university but everything to do with encouraging girls to develop the confidence to be able to speak with ease in public - for four years. Yes, most of the organisers were professional businesswomen, and I most certainly was not paid (a glass of wine on occasion, once or twice a book token) but felt privileged to be able to give something back in support of something I thought admirable and worthwhile.

    In other words, one can give freely and enthusiastically of one's time to something that need not be a registered charity if the activity (and community that gives rise to it) merits support in your eyes.
     
  16. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #16
    I'm not sure where you get your information from about Arn's income, but as a former staff member, I haven't the slightest clue as to what kind of bread he brings home. Frankly, it's not my business anyhow.

    But like Weaselboy mentioned, the staff here are community members and share the same common interests as everyone else. The only paid staff here are the editorial staff as far as I know.
     
  17. Mac'nCheese thread starter macrumors 68040

    Mac'nCheese

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    Feb 9, 2010
    #17
    I totally get what you are saying but those examples are of something that is an honor for you and taking place where you work. Lots of people do that at their jobs. I just can't wrap my head around someone giving up their time to help someone else make so much money for nothing. I feel like that's someone who is being taken advantage of.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 13, 2018 ---
    I just based it on the two threads I read. Its none of my business either, just curious why someone would want to work for free. He's obliviously making enough money to give up being a doctor, IIRC.
     
  18. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #18
    That part is true.

    To you, being a MacRumors moderator may be work. That's fine. To the people who are and were MacRumors moderators, we don't exactly view it as work in the traditional sense I suppose. It is just something that we enjoyed doing. That's fine too.

    Hell, even in my real job, I put in and give of my own time for the betterment of agency and I don't always put in for overtime either. That's just me and by no means do I feel taken advantage of when I do donate my time to the office.
     
  19. HDFan macrumors 65816

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    Jun 30, 2007
    #19
    Maybe not the right place but it would be interesting to hear how MacRumors was founded and how it is structured. Didn't know that it was owned.
     
  20. SandboxGeneral, Nov 13, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018

    SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #20
    The quick history, as I recall, is that @arn was going to medical school, but also had a big interest in Apple - long, long, before the iDevices came about and started MacRumors to follow all the news related to the company. He created the forum and it took off. He created a couple of other sites too, after the iDevice revolution like toucharcade.com and appshopper.com. But with MacRumors alone, he apparently found it viable enough to support his family and decided to dispense with medical school.

    The structure is basically, Arnold Kim is the site owner, he has forum administrators who oversee the policies of the forum and oversee the actions of the moderators. The moderators are the ones in the trenches handling reports and keeping things as clean as they can. Then Arn has the editorial staff who are on a totally different part of the site that the moderators do not have access to. They do their news story thing behind the scenes and then post them.

    The front page of MacRumors is run on WordPress and the forum site is run on Xenforo and they have some custom code that allows them to post news stories on WordPress and Xenforo at the same time and link them together.

    Here is an article Wired did on Arn about 8 years ago: https://www.wired.com/2010/02/mac-rumors-arnold-kim/

    And another from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/21/technology/21blogger.html

    And one from Style Weekly: https://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/peeling-the-apple/Content?oid=1898688
     
  21. ChrisChaval macrumors 6502

    ChrisChaval

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  22. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #22
    I joined MacRumors in 2004 just before I got my first Mac. I remember how incredibly grateful I was to get helpful, patient answers to my eager newbie questions. I contributed fairly soon afterwards, because I was grateful for the fun sense of community. In 2009 I was asked to be a moderator, and in 2011 an admin.

    I agree with what the moderators have written in this thread. I don't consider it work, I consider it contributing to a community. A paid gig is something else entirely, and I'm guessing a lot of the fun would go out of it then.

    Most of what I do has to do with feedback in contacts. I consider whether or not we've been fair in our moderation when users ask for a review, by checking precedent, discussing with the other admins and moderators, checking to see if the wording of the rule is clear enough based on the feedback we get, suggesting and/or discussing suggested changes to the rules or how we moderate when necessary (I'm not the only one who does this, just so that's clear.) It's important that what we do exists only to keep user discussions going as smootly as possible. It's a great feeling to continue to develop rules and moderation policies that make it possible for so many people to discuss so many different things, despite the fact that they have SO many views on absolutely everything!

    Contact messages are a mixed bag. Some are polite complaints, when users genuinely feel they have followed the rules and want to point out that our mistakes have limited them. Some are extremely rude, where the rules violations are crystal clear, the user calls us names, blames other users and accepts no responsibility for his or her posts. And some are simply requests for help. It's interesting and challenging to try to explain why we moderated even in cases where we are being insulted for doing what we're supposed to do. Sometimes we get polite, apologetic responses to our attempts to explain. That's a great feeling. When it turns out that we made a mistake, users are incredibly patient and understanding when we apologize and reverse the moderation. We really appreciate that.

    The worst thing I think is when the loyal moderators who bend over backwards to discuss with each other, be fair to users, and are always willing to consider that they may have made a mistake, get abused and called power hungry in contact messages - simply because they moderated according to the rules. I worry sometimes that they'll burn out, and I wish everyone could know just how much they DON'T like having to moderate a user's post.

    So that was a long explanation of what I do here, as background for WHY I do it:
    • MacRumors is a very interesting community that has given me a lot through the years.
    • The structure here for keeping discussions going is pretty great, and it's fascinating to be allowed to be a caretaker of that system.
    • The moderators and other admins are absolutely wonderful, funny, intelligent people, and the backstage discussion and banter keeps me on my toes.
    • Being able to experience how well cooperation can work over time zones and continents is amazing.

    And on a personal level, the staff was incredibly supportive when I had a stroke back in 2013. It made a big difference to my recovery. The support I got from them was every bit as important as the support I got from my RL people.
     
  23. I7guy macrumors P6

    I7guy

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    #23
    Interesting biography and personal analysis of your experiences.

    That you shared some personal details of a stroke (and glad you recovered), puts some humanity into all of these pixels on a screen. We (as in the royal we) may sometimes forget there are people behind the scenes working diligently for a good user experience on this site.

    (I don't know why, but imagery from the Wizard Of Oz -- L. Frank Baum --- came to mind), the man behind the curtain who turned out to be human after all)
     
  24. ericgtr12 macrumors 65816

    ericgtr12

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    #24
    I was once a mod for the company who created the last bulletin board MR used before moving to this one. I was asked the same way, contributed a lot and got along well with everyone. It was a great volunteer gig but eventually I couldn't make time for it.

    However, I'll say that while we weren't paid they did give a pretty hefty holiday bonus. Feel free to point this out to the owners here. :D
     
  25. bpeeps macrumors 68030

    bpeeps

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    #25
    Whenever I see you comment, you've always got your head on straight. I really enjoy reading your level headed contributions.

    Depends on the person, but probably exactly the same with a couple of the mods here. ;)
     

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