Psycho-Babble Administration Thread 7094

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Re: deputy administrators

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 10, 2002, at 20:17:04

In reply to Re: moderating on an on-going basis Dr. Bob, posted by Dinah on September 9, 2002, at 10:59:24

> I still think it would be a good thing though to have deputies for emergency situations, although you would have to clarify what an emergency was. And I would be happy to help out with the housekeeping tasks like removing multiple posts wherever I saw them.

> Maybe the participant deputies could have limited powers, like please be carefuls and blocked until Dr. Bob has a chance to look at this, so that things would be flagged for you, but the decision making responsibility would be yours.

OK, let's say a deputy administrator will have the *option* of administrating, but won't be at all *obligated* to do so. And let's start with you and (if he's interested) Mark H., since you're the ones who have experience filling in for me. I don't know about "emergency", but how about if we consider a situation "pressing" if it's getting worse, ie, if the problem isn't just one post?

> Perhaps there could be further bouncing around of ideas to help. For example, maybe you could encourage people to post links to objectionable posts to the admin board or email them to you.

More ideas are of course welcome, and people are always free to email me about posts. It's fine to post something about them, too, but in that case extra care needs to be taken to be civil.

> Babble ... is partly based on having a non-participant moderator. Isn't that what your studies are based on? That this is a site that is different than the other types of boards?

Well, that was the hypothesis. Maybe it needs to be revised? :-)

Bob

 

Re: deputy administrators Dr. Bob

Posted by Dinah on September 10, 2002, at 22:50:03

In reply to Re: deputy administrators, posted by Dr. Bob on September 10, 2002, at 20:17:04


> Well, that was the hypothesis. Maybe it needs to be revised? :-)
>
> Bob

Hmm. perhaps we can consider it a working hypothesis, that can be revised as needed? In other words, I'm willing to try it, but won't be offended or upset if it doesn't work out as you had hoped.

Dinah

 

Re: deputy administrators Dr. Bob

Posted by ~~Alii~~ on September 11, 2002, at 4:46:22

In reply to Re: deputy administrators, posted by Dr. Bob on September 10, 2002, at 20:17:04

>>>>I still think it would be a good thing though to have deputies for emergency situations, although you would have to clarify what an emergency was. And I would be happy to help out with the housekeeping tasks like removing multiple posts wherever I saw them.<<<<---Dinah

>>>>Maybe the participant deputies could have limited powers, like please be carefuls and blocked until Dr. Bob has a chance to look at this, so that things would be flagged for you, but the decision making responsibility would be yours.<<<<---Dinah

>>>>OK, let's say a deputy administrator will have the *option* of administrating, but won't be at all *obligated* to do so. And let's start with you and (if he's interested) Mark H., since you're the ones who have experience filling in for me. I don't know about "emergency", but how about if we consider a situation "pressing" if it's getting worse, ie, if the problem isn't just one post?<<<<---Doc. B.

>>>>Perhaps there could be further bouncing around of ideas to help. For example, maybe you could encourage people to post links to objectionable posts to the admin board or email them to you.<<<<---Dinah

>>>>More ideas are of course welcome, and people are always free to email me about posts. It's fine to post something about them, too, but in that case extra care needs to be taken to be civil.<<<<---Doc. B.

>>>> Babble ... is partly based on having a non-participant moderator. Isn't that what your studies are based on? That this is a site that is different than the other types of boards?<<<<--Dinah

>>>> Well, that was the hypothesis. Maybe it needs to be revised?<<<<---Doc. B.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From this post: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/social/20020908/msgs/30129.html

>>>>...this is not a liberal Democrat rant, sorry Dinah if this sounds uncivil. Maybe everything looks blue from outside the country.<<<<---Medusa

I find this troubling that posters are already apologizing to the deputy about their words. This site is becomming more and more restrictive in what kind of 'support' can be offered. Perhaps I'm just feeling as if we are entering into a police state where soon our thoughts will be please be civiled. No paranoia just sadness at the direction over the past several months that PB and its many offshoots have taken.

~~A disappointed and saddened Alii


 

Re: deputy administrators - Dr. Bob and all

Posted by Dinah on September 11, 2002, at 7:37:31

In reply to Re: deputy administrators Dr. Bob, posted by ~~Alii~~ on September 11, 2002, at 4:46:22

Funny that Alii should mention that post. I just told Medusa that there was no reason to apologize to me for what she said.

Dr. Bob may clarify, but I don't envision the deputy duties to include making close calls, or influencing the tone of the site, anything like that.

I see it more as a way to help him by doing routine housekeeping tasks, and to intervene where there is an obvious violation of civility policy that has the chance of escalating before Dr. Bob does his check of the boards. It's more of a preventative measure to keep things from getting out of hand, and to reduce the number of PBC's resulting from responses to posts that violate the civility policy. I wouldn't intervene nearly as often as I did as a fill-in for Dr. Bob, for example.

Dr. Bob, perhaps you could clarify this point? Do I have the job description right?

Dinah

 

Re: deputy administrators - PS

Posted by Dinah on September 11, 2002, at 8:10:15

In reply to Re: deputy administrators - Dr. Bob and all, posted by Dinah on September 11, 2002, at 7:37:31

I changed my registration to include my email, so if anyone sees a civility problem, they can email me, as well as Dr. Bob, and that way, the chances of it being dealt with expeditiously are improved.

Dinah

 

I think the FAQ needs updating with this latest... Dr. Bob

Posted by ~Alii~ on September 11, 2002, at 17:29:11

In reply to Re: deputy administrators, posted by Dr. Bob on September 10, 2002, at 20:17:04

...change in how this board is being run.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From the FAQ: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/faq.html#subs

What if you're not online?

If I anticipate not being able to monitor these boards as closely as usual, I may ask another member of the community to stand in for me. His or her main role would be to try to maintain an atmosphere of civility - - keeping an eye on what's going on (checking the boards at least every other day) and (if necessary):

1. posting requests to be civil
2. blocking posters who continue not to be after one warning
3. deleting grossly inappropriate posts.

He or she wouldn't have access to registration information (such as email addressses); blocking is done by posting name. He or she would post under his or her usual name and not pretend to be me. He or she would also post an email address in order to be reachable directly.

He or she might not have the time or be familiar enough with the site to respond to technical questions. Housekeeping tasks like deleting duplicate posts might also need to wait until I'm back.

FYI, I have mixed feelings about this. My philosophy has been to take the responsibility (and the heat) for administrative issues myself. But I think this might be better overall for the community. Let's see how it goes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dr. Bob,

Perhaps this section of the FAQ needs updating now that you are delegating *optional* (your emphasis) administrative powers to deputy posters.

~~Alii

 

Re: deputy administrators

Posted by judy1 on September 11, 2002, at 19:39:01

In reply to Re: deputy administrators, posted by Dr. Bob on September 10, 2002, at 20:17:04

I had the impression that several people were trying to be vigilent about 'uncivil' posters while Dr. Bob was away- and in all probability attempting to make Dinah's job easier. That's something we can continue to do here on admin, I believe Phil just did it yesterday. I agree with Mair that we also responded to Dinah's 'gentle' warnings, and I see that as a true positive, versus the 'acting out' that some do to Dr. Bob. Anyway, I'm not one to argue :-)- just making some observations. take care, judy

 

P.S. for Dinah

Posted by judy1 on September 11, 2002, at 19:43:14

In reply to Re: deputy administrators, posted by judy1 on September 11, 2002, at 19:39:01

I also don't think it's fair that you have to be responsible for too much- I know you have issues that need to be heard and certainly deserve the support that the rest of us get. take care, judy

 

Re: deputy administrators

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 11, 2002, at 20:37:07

In reply to I think the FAQ needs updating with this latest... Dr. Bob, posted by ~Alii~ on September 11, 2002, at 17:29:11

> I don't envision the deputy duties to include making close calls, or influencing the tone of the site, anything like that.
>
> I see it more as a way to help him by doing routine housekeeping tasks, and to intervene where there is an obvious violation of civility policy that has the chance of escalating before Dr. Bob does his check of the boards. It's more of a preventative measure to keep things from getting out of hand, and to reduce the number of PBC's resulting from responses to posts that violate the civility policy. I wouldn't intervene nearly as often as I did as a fill-in for Dr. Bob, for example.
>
> Dr. Bob, perhaps you could clarify this point? Do I have the job description right?
>
> Dinah

That's right. Except that if it's a "pressing" situation, there's more than just a "chance of escalating", there's already been a second problematic post...

----

> I think the FAQ needs updating with this latest
> change in how this board is being run...
>
> ~~Alii

I agree, it would, but let's see how this goes for a while first to decide if we even want to keep doing it.

Bob

 

Re: Thanks Judy

Posted by Dinah on September 11, 2002, at 20:43:21

In reply to P.S. for Dinah, posted by judy1 on September 11, 2002, at 19:43:14

I don't see this as being anywhere near the same level of responsibility as it was filling in for Dr. Bob. He's still around and he'll still be the person in charge.

Don't worry. I like being a poster here too much to let anything interfere with that. I like getting and giving support.

I guess, for one thing, I can see where Dr. Bob would like to be able to have a life. :) And I don't mind helping if I can.

For another thing, I find it quite upsetting when there is a problem on the board that gets out of hand and escalates, especially when it's one of those things where early intervention would prevent a lot. I've noticed that happens when Dr. Bob is away a day or two. I guess my thought is that having a few deputies around, who would be on and off the boards more frequently, would stop a situation from escalating. I guess we'll have to see how well that works in practice, as opposed to theory.

By the way, if you'd ever like to contact me off board, my email address is bullyforyou77 at yahoo.

Dinah

 

Decidedly Against Deputy Monitor Posting Police

Posted by shar on September 12, 2002, at 0:44:48

In reply to Re: Thanks Judy, posted by Dinah on September 11, 2002, at 20:43:21

...or whatever we will call them. Psycho Babble, as a site, has become more restrictive and we already have people making long intros before they state their opinions so as to (one hopes) avoid a PBC or block. Communication has become cumbersome, more veiled, less direct (even when direct NE uncivil but *MIGHT* be perceived that way), so that a thought becomes a tangle of a little bit of the idea, an apology, pointing out it is not directed at anyone in particular, plus toss in some paranoia because the guidelines aren't that clear anymore...and, voila, an incomprehensible mess(age)!

I agree a few posters get way out on the edge, and need to be dealt with, and I don't have a big investment in who deals with them. However, I am not interested in having a lot of "be careful" and "watch the tone" posts, either, in the name of preventing a problem--no matter who makes them. Except that if Dr. Bob makes them, it's his board and he can do what he wants. It is too reminiscent of the kid who got to "take names" when the teacher left the room, even if just to step out into the hall. Or, always being under the watchful eye of "Mom" or "Dad" who wants to steer everyone away from even the hint of impropriety well before it is even a glimmer in a teenager's eye, so eventually everyone quits talking.

It is as if the goal of the boards is now 'flat affect.' Which, of course, doesn't make sense to me on a board that deals with emotions, a full range of emotions, and emotions that are in response to what others say. The guidelines are so broad now, to be civil is akin to being either supportive or neutral. Anything beyond that, and one risks a block, even if one is only expressing a personal opinion about an IDEA. And I do want to add that blocking for humor added a whole new dimension to the notion of what now constitutes "civility."

Now for my standard disclaimers, that none of this is directed at anyone in particular, and Dinah did a very good job when she filled in for Dr. Bob, and I hope nobody takes any of this personally because it is not meant that way, I am just hoping to express ideas that are against a proposed action and thus not "happy" ideas, but without harmful intent, not trying to make anyone feel put down or ill at ease, not criticizing anyone while at the same time trying to express my opinion about deputy monitor posting police force.

Shar

P.S. Yes, this would decidedly affect one's research outcomes, and if adopted permanently would require a change in hypotheses and lots of explaining etc., OR you could just end Study A the day before the change is effective, and start Study B the day after the change with new hypotheses. I've seen a fair amount of that in my professional life.

 

Re: D.A.D.M.P.P. well said and thank you for that (nm) shar

Posted by ~Alii~ on September 12, 2002, at 0:55:32

In reply to Decidedly Against Deputy Monitor Posting Police, posted by shar on September 12, 2002, at 0:44:48

 

For Dinah INSTEAD of Dr. Bob

Posted by BeardedLady on September 12, 2002, at 7:14:10

In reply to Re: D.A.D.M.P.P. well said and thank you for that (nm) shar, posted by ~Alii~ on September 12, 2002, at 0:55:32

I think that because Dinah is familiar with each of us and with our posting style, she wouldn't make the same mistakes that Dr. Bob does. I don't buy the idea that it's his board and he can do whatever he wants.

The rules change every moment, and language is so restrictive now that one can't even post a famous line from a movie without being issued a PBC.

I'd rather see a moderator who has a more active role here. Maybe Dr. Bob should defer to Dinah before he issues PBCs or blocks.

beardy

 

Re: Before Deciding

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 12, 2002, at 8:16:40

In reply to Decidedly Against Deputy Monitor Posting Police, posted by shar on September 12, 2002, at 0:44:48

> I am not interested in having a lot of "be careful" and "watch the tone" posts, either, in the name of preventing a problem--no matter who makes them...

How about we give this a try and see how it goes? Let's say for a month?

Bob

 

VERY well said, I totally agree!! (nm) shar

Posted by LLL on September 12, 2002, at 10:01:38

In reply to Decidedly Against Deputy Monitor Posting Police, posted by shar on September 12, 2002, at 0:44:48

 

Re: Before Deciding- Another idea

Posted by mair on September 13, 2002, at 13:18:01

In reply to Re: Before Deciding, posted by Dr. Bob on September 12, 2002, at 8:16:40

I don't think it's wholly a coincidence that things seem to have heated up here considerably since Bob got back. I can understand Dinah's view that she wouldn't want to monitor this site as a steady diet and Shar's that she doesn't want deputy monitors at all, but I continue to believe that having posters serve a monitors has value.

I'd like to throw out the suggestion that the "deputy" monitors change on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and that they, and not Bob, have primary responsibility for monitoring. My idea is that Bob would defer to the decisions of the monitor on duty unless they asked him to step in or unless perhaps other posters asked him to step in.

I think there are several potential benefits to this plan. First, using a number of people will address Dinah's concerns that the poster/monitor bears the burden of too much responsibility and doesn't really get to ask for support in the same manner as the rest of us. I don't believe the job will look as onerous if you know it's for a more limited period of time. If someone doesn't feel up to monitoring when it's his or her time, they could be passed over for that week and come back into a rotation later.

Also I think my system gives Bob the help he needs without turning one person (Dinah) into his perceived alter ego. I think the idea of a single deputy is a really bad one and will create confusion, potentially, between Bob and his deputy over who should step in when. (this is why I also think the deputy should have the first right to intervene) By spreading the work around to many people, no one person has to be so closely identified with the "job," and many more people, perhaps, will come to feel more of a positive investment in how the site is run.

I think there are many people who are more than capable of serving the same kind of function that Dinah did in Bob's absence. The only requirement should be that the deputies be people who've been posters for awhile. Any number of people fit that bill. Bob has gravitated to Mark and Dinah because they've performed this service before. However they both did a great job even though neither had any prior experience.

Many of the complaints that I've heard about Bob's monitoring involve situations where people felt that he looked at statements made out of context or that he misunderstood the intent of the poster or the likely response of others, or that he simply acted too autocratically. I think these kinds of misunderstandings and complaints would be avoided to a much greater degree with poster/monitors. I also think that people can live with the decisions made by their peers much more easily than they can with those made by a supposedly more impartial person who really isn't at all impartial. I also believe that people will be far more tolerant of monitoring mistakes made by their peers than those made by Bob.

Mair

 

Re: Another idea

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 13, 2002, at 19:45:53

In reply to Re: Before Deciding- Another idea, posted by mair on September 13, 2002, at 13:18:01

> I'd like to throw out the suggestion that the "deputy" monitors change on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and that they, and not Bob, have primary responsibility for monitoring. My idea is that Bob would defer to the decisions of the monitor on duty unless they asked him to step in or unless perhaps other posters asked him to step in.
>
> I think there are several potential benefits to this plan. First, using a number of people will address Dinah's concerns that the poster/monitor bears the burden of too much responsibility and doesn't really get to ask for support in the same manner as the rest of us.
>
> Also I think my system gives Bob the help he needs without turning one person (Dinah) into his perceived alter ego.
>
> I think there are many people who are more than capable of serving the same kind of function that Dinah did in Bob's absence. The only requirement should be that the deputies be people who've been posters for awhile. Any number of people fit that bill. Bob has gravitated to Mark and Dinah because they've performed this service before. However they both did a great job even though neither had any prior experience.

I also like the idea of multiple deputy monitors, and we'd have two right now if Mark H. were interested. It was also just to take one step at a time that I thought we could see how it went with those two before opening it up to others.

Do you think it would be better for deputy monitors to rotate taking "shifts" rather than all being "on duty" at the same time? I guess both are ways of limiting how much of a burden it is... But shifts mean schedules and logistics...

As far as primary responsibility, I think there are two related issues, power and accountability. I understand that some of you are unhappy with how much power I have, but I'm the one who's accountable for what happens here. It would be interesting to discuss how that accountability might be shared, but it I bet it would involve lawyers, contracts, etc...

Bob

 

Re: Another idea Dr. Bob

Posted by mair on September 14, 2002, at 11:19:37

In reply to Re: Another idea, posted by Dr. Bob on September 13, 2002, at 19:45:53

"
> Do you think it would be better for deputy monitors to rotate taking "shifts" rather than all being "on duty" at the same time? I guess both are ways of limiting how much of a burden it is... But shifts mean schedules and logistics..."


Personally I prefer the idea of shifts so there's no confusion about who's taking care of the Board and no chance of monitors acting inconsistently. (I think this has a little to do with accountability here) If you had enough monitors, you could set up a rotation with changes occurring once a week, for instance. I realize that this does involve logistics but I think it could work with a little thought to the structuring. I guess the other thing you could do is assign different people to different Boards so again they're not tripping over each other.


>" As far as primary responsibility, I think there are two related issues, power and accountability. I understand that some of you are unhappy with how much power I have, but I'm the one who's accountable for what happens here. It would be interesting to discuss how that accountability might be shared, but it I bet it would involve lawyers, contracts, etc..."

I don't think the system I have in mind undermines your need to be accountable. Accountability would be no larger a problem than it is whenever you go away. And it's not the fact of your power perhaps so much as it is the use of it. I have seen you taken to task for acting too soon and not soon enough. I think because you're trying to cover so much ground over such a long period of time, you simply can't have the same feel for the "temperature" of the Board or of certain threads as do many of the more active posters, and you can't know that the approach or explanation you give to one poster may be just the wrong tact with another. (this is the "one size fits all" style of moderating) I guess what I'm suggesting is not that you give up the right to respond to problems you see on the Boards, but rather that you defer to the deputy monitor until you really feel that you have to get involved. It's a matter of trusting someone else's instincts first as to when to intervene and how best to intervene.

And I think for my system to work, there would have to be a clear delineation of who bears the responsibility to respond first. You can't have a situation where deputies are reluctant to get involved because they they're waiting to see what you do first. I know it's tough for someone who is ultimately accountable to relinquish a measure of control, but you can always keep a close eye on things to see how it's going. The overall benefit of course is that posters may well feel more individual responsibility for how smoothly the Boards run.

Mair
> Bob
>

 

Re: Another idea

Posted by Dinah on September 14, 2002, at 12:28:09

In reply to Re: Another idea Dr. Bob, posted by mair on September 14, 2002, at 11:19:37

I like this board *because* Dr. Bob moderates it. I wouldn't participate so freely in a participant moderated board. I think that although Dr. Bob makes an error now and again, overall he does a great job.

I think a board where participant moderators had primary power, and where they rotated on a regular basis would be make for a board with expectations that would be even harder to predict than people complain they are now. Individual differences in moderators and what each considered to be civil (because it isn't and can't be an exact science) would make it extremely stressful to know what was safe to post and what would be considered a civil response to a post you made at any given time. The unspoken rules would change with each moderator change.

As far as deputies go, Dr. Bob has made it clear that deputies are only to intervene in an escalating situation. I don't anticipate intervening often at all. Rotating would be fine with me, but rotating or not I think it would be a good idea to have several deputies with the ability to intervene so that there would be an increased chance that someone would be on the board when needed. Deputy powers are circumscribed enough that there shouldn't be too much stepping on toes.

But there is a logical alternative to deputies. If we all realized that Dr. Bob isn't on the board at all times, emailed him the links to potentially objectionable posts, and didn't respond to provocation in the meantime, things wouldn't get out of hand. But with the turnover on the boards, especially the meds board, that may be a lot to ask.

Even then, we did without them for a long time, and can continue to do so. There will be the inevitable flare-ups, and my personal opinion is that some of the flare-ups caused some damage, but the board continued, as it will for as long as Dr. Bob decides to host it.

Just my 3 or 4 cents.

 

Re: Another idea

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 14, 2002, at 16:21:16

In reply to Re: Another idea Dr. Bob, posted by mair on September 14, 2002, at 11:19:37

> I don't think the system I have in mind undermines your need to be accountable. Accountability would be no larger a problem than it is whenever you go away.

Except that I only go away for limited periods of time...

> I guess what I'm suggesting is not that you give up the right to respond to problems you see on the Boards

Good, I do think that's important...

> but rather that you defer to the deputy monitor until you really feel that you have to get involved. It's a matter of trusting someone else's instincts first as to when to intervene and how best to intervene.

But that's more responsibility for the deputy monitor...

> You can't have a situation where deputies are reluctant to get involved because they they're waiting to see what you do first.

Certainly not, part of the whole idea is for them to be able to act when I'm not online...

> I know it's tough for someone who is ultimately accountable to relinquish a measure of control

:-)

Bob

 

Re: Dr. Bob---weekend relief?

Posted by medlib on September 14, 2002, at 17:26:10

In reply to moderating on an on-going basis Mark H., posted by Dr. Bob on August 8, 2002, at 8:31:32

Dr. Bob--

This is a remarkedly civil and supportive thread--rare for this admin board; many posters have made thoughtful points in a helpful manner. Since I tend to express myself in metaphors, these will be medical:

--RELIEF: MDs in my community employ 3 types of support which may be relevant to PB:
....On (and off) call days. Someone else deals with emergencies and the obvious on weekends (and/or designated weekdays) on a rotating basis; final authority still resides with the primary physician or administrator.
....Housekeeping/clerical help. Someone else regularly deals with aspects which don't require professional judgement. On PB this might be limited to redirects and duplicate posts, which could be assigned on a rotating basis.
....Functional support. Someone else supplies ancillary services (lab work, x-rays, or hospitalized patient coverage, etc.). A number of PBers are skilled in technical areas; they might be delegated to provide posters with technical problems fixer-type suggestions, refer them to relevant FAQs, and/or e-mail you about the ones which require administrative services.

INFORMED CONSENT: Since this is critical to trust (in both patients and posters), I believe that anyone who provides any type of support services should be announced in appropriate PB board descriptions (along with their e-mail address). If on a rotating basis, only a name change should be needed.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Even Type A types burn out when they try to do it all forever; my pdoc retired recently at 40+. If I understand correctly, PB represents a 2nd job for you. Even though there may be some functional overlap with your academic duties, those countless extra hours are bound to add up. Most 2-jobbers have little time for a family, social or private life; yet, while a nurse, the most frequent regret of dying patients I heard was about missed opportunities in relationships. Et tu?

PB has been critical to my survival, as well. I'd be happy to help with any services you may decide to delegate (except tech support, where I'm competent, but not sufficiently skilled). I always read PB, though I may post less often now; so, please add my name to your undoubtedly long list of volunteers. Whether it applies to me or not, I agree with an earlier poster that delegating to a greater number of volunteers on a regular basis might help make the process seem less exceptional and may ease fears/complaints of posters. Perhaps even your instructions for delegating could be standardized (since assigning a job to others should not take more time than doing it yourself).

I see PB as a kind of electronic PRN group therapy. It's an interesting concept; I'm likely to follow its development indefinitely (even in the unlikely event I finally achieve remission).

Though it may seem so at times, pioneers are not *always* thankless. Thanks!---medlib


 

Re: Decidedly Against Deputy Monitor Posting Police shar

Posted by ShelliR on September 14, 2002, at 21:09:11

In reply to Decidedly Against Deputy Monitor Posting Police, posted by shar on September 12, 2002, at 0:44:48

> ...or whatever we will call them. Psycho Babble, as a site, has become more restrictive and we already have people making long intros before they state their opinions so as to (one hopes) avoid a PBC or block. Communication has become cumbersome, more veiled, less direct (even when direct NE uncivil but *MIGHT* be perceived that way), so that a thought becomes a tangle of a little bit of the idea, an apology, pointing out it is not directed at anyone in particular, plus toss in some paranoia because the guidelines aren't that clear anymore...and, voila, an incomprehensible mess(age)!
>
> I agree a few posters get way out on the edge, and need to be dealt with, and I don't have a big investment in who deals with them. However, I am not interested in having a lot of "be careful" and "watch the tone" posts, either, in the name of preventing a problem--no matter who makes them. Except that if Dr. Bob makes them, it's his board and he can do what he wants. It is too reminiscent of the kid who got to "take names" when the teacher left the room, even if just to step out into the hall. Or, always being under the watchful eye of "Mom" or "Dad" who wants to steer everyone away from even the hint of impropriety well before it is even a glimmer in a teenager's eye, so eventually everyone quits talking.
>
> It is as if the goal of the boards is now 'flat affect.' Which, of course, doesn't make sense to me on a board that deals with emotions, a full range of emotions, and emotions that are in response to what others say. The guidelines are so broad now, to be civil is akin to being either supportive or neutral. Anything beyond that, and one risks a block, even if one is only expressing a personal opinion about an IDEA. And I do want to add that blocking for humor added a whole new dimension to the notion of what now constitutes "civility."
>
> Now for my standard disclaimers, that none of this is directed at anyone in particular, and Dinah did a very good job when she filled in for Dr. Bob, and I hope nobody takes any of this personally because it is not meant that way.........
---------------------------------------------------

BEAUTIFULLY said, Shar, and your post goes as it should, way past the idea of being "disappointed" in Dr. Bob. First the problem seemed to be too many blatant misjudgments by Bob, followed by his serious unwillingness to ever admit a mistake in censoring, even a completely obvious error.

But now I'm beginning to realize that the problem with both Dr. Bob's monitoring, or a replacement monitor, goes well beyond incorrect judgments. (again, as Shar has clearly pointed out). When the blocking was implimented, it addressed only blatantly insulting posts and posters. For some reason along the way, blocking and warning has shifted to an over scrutiny of each post (by Bob or other) to check whether he or they are almost 100% certain that NO READER, no matter how unlikely, would find offense. It has become a game of obsession, which distracts greatly from the content of the board.

When Dinah filled in for Dr. Bob, I was frustrated when she started using the exact same words as Bob:, "please do not say anything that may be interpreted........" and she even put asides to him in her posts in case she had offended him: (sorry Dr. Bob...). And I didn't like the pre-warnings she posted, for example, "guys watch out...", even though I'm sure they *were* offered to help avoid the escalation of conflict. (and I am fairly certain that at least some of the time, she was successful).

I also felt the constant praise of Dinah (by other posters) for her excellence in monitoring the board, annoying. Not because the praise was not warrented but, rather, along with her choice to use Bob's exact language, the "pre-warnings", and internal conversation with Bob, I resented never being able to get too far into a thought or idea, without being reminded about the continuous possiblity that someone, (and probably for no clear reason), could be censored at any time. The censoring that was ambigious to all but Dr. Bob and a very few members who feel safer with strict censorship, and don't seem particularly concerned about fairness. (Well, also to the few supporters who love "dad" a little beyond my comfort level).

So finally I realize (way after many other posters), that this nitpicking of posts will continue with or without Bob as the full-time monitor, especially as he seemingly chooses monitors who have *mostly* expressed very little problem with his censures in the past.

BTW, in spite of my annoyance at Dinah's use of Dr. Bob's exact words, and her warnings and asides to him in some of her posts, her monitoring probably *was* less controversial than Bob's, and I have no doubt that she tried very hard to do a good job. So while I have been pretty explicit about my feelings, it would be wrong to interpret them specifically as bad feelings toward Dinah, rather than the situation.

Now willing to step back and see what happens,

Shelli

 

Safety and Civility

Posted by mair on September 15, 2002, at 10:24:02

In reply to Re: Another idea, posted by Dinah on September 14, 2002, at 12:28:09

Theoretically, a moderated Board should feel "safe" to people. I understand that there are those who are concerned that a poster-moderated Board would essentially be an unmoderated board, but I don't think that's the case where, as here, you have so many posters who have been here long enough to develop relationships with other posters, and a sense of responsibility to the site. I don't think the fact that several of the more disgruntled PB members have left or mostly left this site specifically because they couldn't abide Bob's moderating decisions is at all an indication that there would be anarchy if he stepped back and left the day to day monitoring more to the membership. In my opinion, as long as Bob is the sole arbiter, he will be a lightening rod for controversy and criticism and the Board will continue to become polarized. Controversies on the board become less about who said what, and more about Bob. The deputy or deputies who are poised to intervene when Bob's not on-line (how will they know), are eventually (regrettably) going to become as much convenient targets as is Bob. Dinah's tenure as substitute moderator was successful, I believe, because people had no expectation that Bob was really lurking in the shadows. Decisions about whom to admonish and how they should be approach were hers, not his, even if she made her determinations with Bob in mind. I also think her efforts were appreciated because people understood that she had undertaken a job that was particularly tough for her and would not have been as tough for Bob.

I don't believe it's necessarily a bad thing that multiple moderators, serving on a rotating basis, might apply somewhat different moderating standards. If it's understood that this could happen, people could adjust. My guess is that in practice, civility rules would not be applied all that inconsistently and that people would take a little more care and personal responsibility for their own posts if the moderator is a friend or if he or she has served as a moderator too.

The alternative, a board where people are almost paranoid about how a post is going to be construed, or who don't want to end up in the middle of a swirling controversy over what they "meant" to say, hardly seems safe or supportive or affirming to me.

There is no question in my mind that PBCs and blocks are being handed out to a far greater degree than ever before. I think all of the "old timers" would agree. It's too easy and convenient to say that this is a mere outgrowth of the expansion of the site. I think it can equally be argued that this has happened because Bob is so much more of a visible and active presence on the site. People don't have to or aren't given the opportunity to work out misunderstandings themselves. The resulting tone is different.

Mair

 

Re: relief

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 15, 2002, at 13:39:43

In reply to Re: Dr. Bob---weekend relief?, posted by medlib on September 14, 2002, at 17:26:10

> ....Functional support. Someone else supplies ancillary services (lab work, x-rays, or hospitalized patient coverage, etc.). A number of PBers are skilled in technical areas; they might be delegated to provide posters with technical problems fixer-type suggestions, refer them to relevant FAQs, and/or e-mail you about the ones which require administrative services.

Those were good categories. The above one, though, doesn't require any special privileges, anyone who's able to can always help out that way...

> INFORMED CONSENT: Since this is critical to trust (in both patients and posters), I believe that anyone who provides any type of support services should be announced in appropriate PB board descriptions (along with their e-mail address).

I'm not sure about the email address part, since I'm available myself, but yes, this is related to the FAQ issue...

> RESPONSIBILITIES: Even Type A types burn out when they try to do it all forever...

Didn't I already agree with Mark H. that "some sort of delegation will be necessary"? :-)

> PB has been critical to my survival, as well. I'd be happy to help with any services you may decide to delegate (except tech support, where I'm competent, but not sufficiently skilled). I always read PB, though I may post less often now; so, please add my name to your undoubtedly long list of volunteers.

I will, thanks. But this is still a sort of trail period...

> Though it may seem so at times, pioneers are not *always* thankless. Thanks!

Same to you! :-)

Bob

 

Re: Another deputy administrator

Posted by Dr. Bob on September 15, 2002, at 13:42:51

In reply to Re: Another idea, posted by Dr. Bob on September 13, 2002, at 19:45:53

> I also like the idea of multiple deputy monitors, and we'd have two right now if Mark H. were interested...

FYI, he is, so I've "reactivated" him. So you may see him around doing administrative things. Thanks, Mark!

Bob


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