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Old September 11, 2008, 04:55 PM   #73
Ben Swenson
Senior Member
Join Date: May 17, 2000
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,210
It is very disappointing to see that TFL is losing its L&P forum.

Honestly, I was amazed to see that it was kept around as long as it has been. As forums get larger it is not unusual for them to start shedding the more controversial sections, or alternatively appoint extremely ... zealous moderators, which can be as bad or worse.

The techniques that are often applied to keep controversial subjects more or less civil on large boards (i.e. limiting access to members known to be decent, ban-crazy moderators, zero-tolerance policies and so forth) seem to bring problems of their own.

If I had my 'druthers I'd pick more moderators with the time, patience and inclination to discuss infractions with problem members before resorting to going nuts with the ban stick and arbitrarily locking threads that they don't like. The downside to that technique is that finding moderators who are able and willing to do that without abusing their moderator power can be very difficult. I tend to think that the ones we have here are very good in that respect, but finding enough of them to make that kind of one-on-one moderation possible would be an absolutely monumental task.


I think your perspective on how APS is moderated is interesting. No offense to you, but I think the success of APS's various forums is due more to the vastly smaller size and relative manageability than to the moderation techniques in use (except, perhaps, the various invite-only sub-forums - an idea I think has served well).

TFL has over 30 times the number of members, 20 times the threads, and a good bit more than 10 times the number of posts. On the other hand, TFL has about 20 staff which is only a few more than APS does (depending on who you count somewhere around 14 to 17). Of course, some of those stats are thrown off by the length of time TFL has been operating, but just looking at the number of currently active users: TFL has more than 13 times the number APS has.

The more favorable ratio of users to moderators is a big part of what makes things work smoother, I think. And honestly, I enjoy APS in spite of the moderation styles that a few moderators - yourself included - tend to use, not because of them.
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