Dealing with moderators that think they 'own' your forum?

TheChiro

Devotee
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
2,533
I agree with many of the people posting here. Seems there is a disconnect between how they see the site should be ran and the way you want to run the site. The staff needs to be on the same page or else there will be a lot of issues that arise. I've dealt with something similar to this. Had 2 admins that were more "tyrants" than anything. People were scared to come to them for help and they didn't know who to turn to (this was while I was in post grad studies and had limited time to work on the site so it took me a while to see it as many members and staff thought I was ok with the way they were handling things). When I finally noticed it and confronted them, they kind of blew up on me, telling me how valuable they were for the site, and a bunch of other stuff. I ended up cutting them from the team and one of them never came back after that. I'm still on good talking terms with the other, since I would say he was quite young at the time and was influenced more by the other so once the other disappeared, he cooled down and he and I are good friends now.

If you want to continue to try to work it out with them, definitely communicate. Let them know that you know they've been a great asset for the site and the members of the site. Let them know you have experience with running sites and have a system on those other sites that you know works, is fair to the member base, and takes out any "interpretation" out of sticky situations. Let them know you would love for them to be on board with these changes as it would be great for the whole community to see.

You did mention that they want the admin role to be separate from the "regular member" role. I wholeheartedly disagree. With the way they want it, they want members to look at you guys as almost "bots" or just inhuman. I believe most people want to see a human behind the admin title. I'm sure we have all been on websites where it's almost an unwritten law to just leave the admin alone. I don't like that and that's kind of how and why I started my site. I wanted members to be able to reach out to me for problems or just to chat. I wanted (and still want) relationships with my members, even though it gets tougher and tougher the bigger the sites grow, I think showing that the admin is human is a great asset for almost any site.
I normally lean towards dialogue and leniency but in this instance I think you need to take control and cut out the cancer.
This is how I've always described behavior like what's going on. You don't want this cancer to spread. Either they have to change and get on board with the changes you want to implement, or they need to retire from their role. Human behavior is funny, especially online. If your members see admins as "a**holes", they will try to mimic that in my experience, thinking that's the way to be influential on the site. I had so many bigger competitors back when I started my site and they ran those sites similar to the way you are describing this acquisition. I think we "stole" members and then eventually traffic from them due to the way they ran those sites and how my site was a polar opposite to that behavior. All of those sites no longer exist.

In short, don't let the cancer spread.
 

Kevin

Oooh, something shiny!
Joined
Jul 13, 2004
Messages
3,432
How the heck is this drama still taking place since Monday?!
 

PeacefulMind

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
14
Analysis paralysis, or lack of strong leadership.
My physical health isn't well enough this week to take the brute of the drama. I have a plan in place that is set for Monday morning. Whilst they shouldn't be what they are doing (and they are stopped with limited access); a website shouldn't affect my physical health so I took a step back to give a couple days of calm.
 

mysiteguy

Fanatic
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
3,027
My physical health isn't well enough this week to take the brute of the drama. I have a plan in place that is set for Monday morning. Whilst they shouldn't be what they are doing (and they are stopped with limited access); a website shouldn't affect my physical health so I took a step back to give a couple days of calm.
Haven't you caused yourself more stress by waiting?
 

southernlady

Devotee
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
2,420
I do have an admin account as well as my own account. I have from the beginning but I post 99.99% of my stuff under my account. Actually the admin account was just there. Came in handy when I had mysiteguy handle my upgrade. I did have to go in and change the password since it’s been so long, I’d forgotten it. But I would have done that for him anyway and giving him that account for the time being made sense.
 

cornnfedd

Captain Futurama
Joined
Aug 12, 2006
Messages
1,034
Yes you should really have an admin account AND a user account, so that at least you can enjoy your forum still from a general user perspective. Use the admin account for admin duties..
 

Tracy Perry

Opinionated asshat
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
4,991
They do not see themselves as a general member but 'admin' and refuse to join in chats, community convos, post on blogs, or join the 'clubs' nor friend / follow anyone.
Way I try to solve any issues similar to this is I have 1 main System Admin account that I have access to and then my normal account.
Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 9.44.22 PM.png

As you can see... it shows me as the site owner. No doubt for anyone about who/what I am. I also do my posting under this account.

Moderation duties would be done under the Site Admin account. If I ever get a site large enough to need additional moderators, that will be ALL that they are, and their tag would show them as moderators and/or staff.
 

John H20

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
16
Now this was kind of riveting I must say. As someone here already suggested, they do sound frankly more than a bit crazy. I had to laugh at how absurdly crazy this situation is, but at the same time it also even stressed me out a little bit, being the empathetic kind of guy that I am, so I can barely imagine how much OP got stressed out.

I was thinking of not having any moderators in a forum at all, unless it could be people I knew personally with a lot of time and desire for such a thing, exactly because of how I can't imagine ever finding moderators I really could trust, and don't even like the idea of using people I don't know for such a purpose (how often does anyone even know a moderator they appoint at all?). I was thinking of just leaving it up to members to block whomever they want. Isn't that a good idea? Someone bothering you, being nasty, etc.? Just block them, like on Facebook. Problem solved, yes? And on occasion, maybe an admin needs to step in to delete actual content or ban, otherwise just leave it alone. Sound good? I'm assuming both IPS and XF have a feature enabling members to block each other.
 
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R0binHood

Habitué
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,359
We haven't heard from PeacefulMind since before yesterday when they were supposed to meet :eek:

Poor guy might have completely lost control of his site to the rogue mods! :cry:

Are you and your site safe OP?! :(

Put our minds at ease so we can be at peace!
 

cornnfedd

Captain Futurama
Joined
Aug 12, 2006
Messages
1,034
Now this was kind of riveting I must say. As someone here already suggested, they do sound frankly more than a bit crazy. I had to laugh at how absurdly crazy this situation is, but at the same time it also even stressed me out a little bit, being the empathetic kind of guy that I am, so I can barely imagine how much OP got stressed out.

I was thinking of not having any moderators in a forum at all, unless it could be people I knew personally with a lot of time and desire for such a thing, exactly because of how I can't imagine ever finding moderators I really could trust, and don't even like the idea of using people I don't know for such a purpose (how often does anyone even know a moderator they appoint at all?). I was thinking of just leaving it up to members to block whomever they want. Isn't that a good idea? Someone bothering you, being nasty, etc.? Just block them, like on Facebook. Problem solved, yes? And on occasion, maybe an admin needs to step in to delete actual content or ban, otherwise just leave it alone. Sound good? I'm assuming both IPS and XF have a feature enabling members to block each other.
I actually disagree in a way, I prefer to have mods that I am not friends with in real life, then if there are any actual issues its not going to affect your real life friendship. Trust as a mod needs to be earnt over a long period of time, depending on the level of mod that you are on a forum you can really limit it to what they are able to do, again until the trust is built up more. I am a global mod on a forum that has over 30,000 members and a couple of million posts, the site has 3 admin, 6 global mods and 5 standard mods and we have never had an issue with any mods for as long as I can remember and I joined the site in 2004. In fact, I even had a few temp bans myself for being an idiot then eventually stopped it now Ive been a mod for longer then 10 years there.

Also I run another gaming site, we have 6 admins and a whole host of other mods, while we have had a couple of minor issues generally speaking we have never had any issues with trust - again it has been built over a period of time and we all just get along. Probably 7 years and going strong which still amazes me...

So whats my point? Trust needs to be earnt and built as a mod, if they dont want to do the hard yards and prove themselves over a long period of time then dont make them a mod, and dont make people mods just because they post the most - thats a classic big mistake I see all the time.

On a side note of the 2 sites im talking about above we all know and are friends on facebook, even though we generally only interact on the sites and not facebook its nice to know someones real name sometimes too!!

good luck.
 

dvsDave

Aspirant
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
29
They've let the power get to their head. I was informed yesterday, that I couldn't post as a 'general member' (i.e personal posts) and I needed to post as an 'admin' --- woah! And I told them I still planned to engage and speak with the community as an active member that follows the rules that also happens to help run the site... and they basically told me it was 'one or the other' and I should think what the members would think if they saw me making general posts. Uhhh, hopefully they'd see me in-touch with the community and not above them?
That is wrong on so many levels. Of course you need to interact as yourself, not just THE ADMIN booming down pronouncements from on high. I dunno where these mods got their ideas about how a healthy community is supposed to look, but it's wrong.

I have several mechanisms in place for my moderators.
  • We have a two-tiered system.
    • Our Moderators, which have mod privileges in certain forums
    • Our Senior Team, which have global moderation rights.
  • Senior Team nominates new mods on a yearly basis, and then I spend up to a month going back through their posts and seeing how the community reacts to them. Sometimes we add one mod, sometimes we don't add a mod a hold off for a year. Sometimes we add more if our Mods retire or they need to step down for personal reasons (one of our mods did it as a hobby until he got a grant for cancer research, then he stepped down, for example)
  • I have a forum for each mod team, the Senior Team can access the Mod teams forum, but the mod team cannot see the Senior Team's forum. The Senior Team trains and advises the Mod team on issues.
  • Monthly Watch List. Every month on the first day of the month, we create a thread in the Mod Team forum for any notes or issues that crop up on the site during that month. Mods note actions taken, or post a message saying to watch X member, or keep an eye on Y Thread. Works great for keeping all the Mods on the same page. Also, if there's an issue or a question about moderating something, we can discuss it there so we all can be on the same page in public.
This is how I structure things. I do not envy you your task, BUT if they don't see why they are a Mod and are a Mod just for the power, then you don't want them as Mods. They need to have an attachment to the community and be an active participant. Everyone on my Mods Team is responsible for conversations in their area, and to help drive discussions. But, they have to show their acceptance by the community and their committment to the community BEFORE they become mods. Also, you cannot self-nominate. I do NOT accept those who ask to moderate. My mods are chosen, not selected from applicants. It generally means I don't have these sorts of power struggles, because I weed out the power-hungry ones to begin with.

As far as what to do about them, I agree with the wholesale ban. They aren't going to fade into the community, they will be a thorn in your side, being a vocal minority that poisons your community.
 

stijl

Aspirant
Joined
Oct 1, 2006
Messages
34
If you have a team member thats not good for your ecosystem and communication has failed to influence them to change, I would quickly and without notice remove all their power then let them go.

No one wants to be demoted and the last thing you need is an angry ex posting on your community.
 

Xiammes

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
26
The important thing is to talk things out, I have no idea what it is like for your forum but I was getting major deja vu with my current experiences. If I didn't know better I'd say this is the forum I moderate/admin for. Absentee site owners are a huge problem, it makes staff feel more self important then actually are, in a way they are pretty important. A community has been built by these people and abruptly changing it to suit your vision is only going to put you at odds with the memberbase. However you are the site owner and its up to you to make sure everyone on your team is working in the best interest in the site, some need more gentle reminders then others.

I think its important to establish your vision for the site, lay it out on the table and then give the opportunity for the members and staff to debate or make changes. This is a community thing, if you want to assert your authority that is completely within your right, but don't be surprised if there is a sudden exodus of over half of your daily users.

Full Admincp access is stupid, give them the tools they need to fulfill their roles.
 

Martyn

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
42
I'd not just get rid of them, might damage the community more,

I do agree with working with them, if the admin hasn't been around, and they are indeed keeping this site active and going, then they are pretty much doing a good job,

would alter permissions though, and make sure they don't have "super/root" admin access ( if possible on IPB )
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,116
I actually disagree in a way, I prefer to have mods that I am not friends with in real life, then if there are any actual issues its not going to affect your real life friendship.
Although I haven't appointed a real life friend to a position of power for the reason you've stated, I have had long standing staff who have become good friends.

This is how I structure things. I do not envy you your task, BUT if they don't see why they are a Mod and are a Mod just for the power, then you don't want them as Mods. They need to have an attachment to the community and be an active participant. Everyone on my Mods Team is responsible for conversations in their area, and to help drive discussions. But, they have to show their acceptance by the community and their committment to the community BEFORE they become mods. Also, you cannot self-nominate. I do NOT accept those who ask to moderate. My mods are chosen, not selected from applicants. It generally means I don't have these sorts of power struggles, because I weed out the power-hungry ones to begin with.
I've always felt this to be good advice. The people who generally make the best staff members are the members who already care a lot about the community they are a part of and are active in it.
 

BigIG

Aspirant
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
23
They are covering their tracks: Re the reading PM's (I know they frequent chat logs) and would read PM's on 'suspicious members' and when I re-questioned they came up with 'oh well when another member reports them we look through all their PM logs'. They know enough people in the community, both in-real-life and online, that they could easily cause some issues with the site. As well as provide references for the people that 'claimed to report it'. Before they came into the position of power, they were great members (and I don't think it's fair I'm lumping both of them together; both are resisting the change; but one more so privacy invading than the other). I can see legit reasons why one of the moderators was looking at the PM's in most of the cases (and did save the site from legal issues). I can't say the same for the other moderator.
All access to private user information should go through you.

You've got the European GDRP to worry about, and you should be looking at generally applying the principles of the GDRP to your site. All access to private user information is controlled and logged. Users can ask who has had access to their information. Users can delete their information on request, and users can be given a copy of their data on request.

You will kill the site if users know that mods are dipping into their private information at will. Nobody will trust your site, and once lost trust is very hard to regain.

Make sure the mods cannot hard delete anything.

In short, screw down all permissions as part of a review for user privacy and access control reasons. The good mods will accept that as a sensible start. The bad ones will kick up an almighty fuss and they can be let go.

Don't be afraid to let a couple of mods go. You can find others, and teach them your expectations from day one.

It really is a cultural change exercise that you need to be methodical about. Take advice on board, but do not bow to ultimatums and threats.

Set out how it will be, as well as a sensible path that you need to take. Be reasonable, but don't give in to the unreasonable.

They need to do things? Put up a thread in your private mods board for people to make requests, and evaluate and action these in a timely manner. They will start to see that you have the community's interest at heart and your members will respond.
 
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