Yog on Online Moderation

James D. Macdonald, SF author and exceedingly experienced online moderator (remember Yog Sysop? That’s him) offers some rules for moderation under the heading:

Here’s what moderators need to know:

  • a) Sure, there’s freedom of speech. Anyone who wants it can go start their own blog. On Yog’s board, Yog’s whim is law.
  • b) Yog is an ancient ghod of chaos and evil. And he doesn’t like people very much.
  • c) Moderation is a subjective art, and the moderator is always right.
  • d) The moderator may have minions. They need to have a private area where they keep the buckets of Thorazine and the cold-frosty bottles of cow snot.
  • e) The minions speak with the voice of Yog. Yog backs his minions up.
  • f) There is always someone awake, and in charge, when Yog isn’t around in person. The minions know who the Duty Yog is.
  • g) If someone starts off as a spammer, troll, or flamer, he is a spammer, troll, or flamer forever and is liable to instant deletion/banning with no recourse and no appeal.
  • h) If the moderator ever needs inspiration, he can re-read Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and recall that the posters are sinners and he is Ghod.
  • i) Rules? In a knife fight? Yog and his minions have standards, but they don’t need to tell the posters, lest some of them attempt to game the system. Attempting to game the system is, all on its own, a deletable offense.
  • j) ALL CAPS posts are deleted on sight, unread. Mostly ALL CAPS POSTS are ALL CAPS.
  • k) Anyone who doesn’t space after punctuation marks is insane, and can be deleted/banned on sight.
  • l) Personal attacks against Yog and his minions are ignored. Personal attacks against anyone else are deletable on sight.

See the original post at Making Light and be sure to read the comments, too.

Blogging as Conversation

Tor, my favorite fantasy/sf publisher, has just gone public with their new Web site, one that has been re-designed with community engagement with content as a core principle. Patrick Nielsen Hayden, an editor at Tor, and one of the founding bloggers at Making Light, has a fabulous essay on blogging.

In the blog post Nielsen Hayden opens with this simple but elegant explanation of the core concept behind blogging and community content:

Effective blogging is a combination of good personal writing and smart party hosting. A good blog post can be a sentence long, or three pages long; what matters is that it encourages further conversation.

Go read the rest of his post; it’s one of the best meditations on blogging and digital communication I’ve ever read.