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Moderator for a Year: My Experience & What I've learned

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Midnight's Avatar Midnight
Retired Moderator
Level 46 : Master Mlem Mlem Bat
562
Today marks the One Year Anniversary of having a Moderator title on Planet Minecraft, and I know it's not that big of a deal but I did want to write about the experience and what I've learned over the past year. I'm hoping this will be helpful for the rest of you to understand more things about Moderators. It also may teach some about becoming one.

Don't forget to click on the spoilers!

June 7th 2013 - Chat Moderator
Click to reveal Chat Moderator Section.
Why me? It's a good question to ask before you get caught up in reading how to moderate the chat. You might miss the very core reason why you were chosen and forget all about it.

Activity
Back in 2013 I was extremely active; I didn't have other obligations, websites, or games drawing me away. Due to all that I could focus almost entirely on PMC. My activity was one of the key points to me getting modship, I was always on chat, due to that a large amount of members knew me. Not just the members- the Moderators did as well. Over the span of 5 months I had talked to quite a few here and there about different subjects. If mods know you exist it helps.

Reporting
I reported people when I could; my knowledge of the rules was less at the time but when I knew someone was breaking a rule I reported it. If I wasn't sure a quick whisper to a mod was an easy way to fix that.

Helpfulness
"How do I change my Avatar?", "Where are the Rules?", "How do I switch rooms?". Most asked questions on the chat at the time. I did my best to help out, it wasn't any big scheme of mine but simply part of my personality. If someone asked for help I tried to help them. Not hard, not a bother, I just did it.

Maturity and Following the Rules
Members don't have to have a perfect record to be nominated, but it does help. I didn't have a perfect one, but it was close to it. I followed the rules as closely as I understood them myself. When I would post submissions I would re-read that section of the Rules to make sure it was alright. Advertising in chat was scary and I normally waiting 17 minutes to post. Following the rules is the big 'Do this or else' things of the site. When you sign up you agree to the rules, every member is expected to read them, know them, and follow them. Being Mature, how does one do it? I don't know what I did to fit into this category, but somehow I did. Not getting into fights, not posting things that make you 'that guy', asking mods for permission in some things.

Those are the reasons I believe I got chat mod. Activity, good reporting, being helpful, being mature, and following the rules of course. Some of you might be going "Wow I didn't know any of this, very helpful!" It's all listed right here: How to become a Moderator on PMC and has been long before I ever heard of this site.

Being the Mod: How to start?
All of that went through my head in a few moments. Now I knew why I was a Chat mod. I was one, but how do I be one? What do I do, how do I know how much to infract for, what if the rules aren't clear enough?! Yes it happens to everyone, your brain wants to overload and explode. You're excited and nervous all at once.

I had a link sent to me, it's a basic Being a Chat mod for Dummies Topic. It shows you the How To's of chat. Between the excitement in chat, the other mods being promoted/picked, and my skype lighting up like the 4th of July I managed to read the topic. Now I knew how to do it- mostly. One of my first infracts was no doubt a simple 15 minute rule, I can't remember it now but it would make sense. I started out slow, hiding in the server hall picking off the easy ones, slowly I got better and faster at it. I had help in learning the ropes, I had the whole mod team. If I had a question I could ask anyone online, it's awesome how everyone works together. When other mods would infract I would check to see why and for how much. I was able to learn off what others did, and eventually I left the server hall and went to the Lobby. Now I had more to deal with than simple 15 minute rule or Caps spam. It was other things, stuff harder to catch. I had the whole mod team to help me, and even to this day I can still ask anyone for their help and opinion on matters.

What I learned
I've learned so much from my experience on this site. Maybe more through being a Site mod than anything but chat has a few goodies of it's own.

Infracting
Hardest part of this mod business is infracting or banning people you know. It's one of those "I know I need to but don't want to things". It was hard to learn how to do this, I have always been loyal to my friends even if I lose touch with them. I don't ever want to harm them and doing this went against that. I had to learn that even though you want your friendship to be perfect it's better to point out a flaw early on rather than letting it sit and lead to far greater grief. Constructive criticism is good in friendships and makes the bond stronger.

Working as a Team
I'm a Lone Wolf; it's plain and simple. I don't like asking for help or working with people in general. I had to change that, I knew nothing of being a Mod; and soon learned that asking is better than not knowing. The Mod team is a mix of so many different types of people: different backgrounds; views; opinions; different parts of the world, yet we all get along perfectly (minus one or two MLP arguments) Honestly, when we come to a point where we have radically different views on things we simply stop talking about it. We all know that we hold different stances, so instead of fighting about it we accept it and move on.

We aren't always right
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Contrary to popular belief, mods are human. We make mistakes, misread things, misunderstand things and hit the wrong button without noticing. Chat moves quickly some days, so much so to the point we hit the infract button on the wrong member, and we might not notice! Not immediately anyway, it becomes clear very soon that we made a mistake. Members normally get a good laugh out of it when this happens to them and the infract/ban is undone quickly so no worries.

Sometimes though we make mistakes. Misreading things is a big part of it. We try to get the infract out as quickly as possible so the message is deleted, sometimes in our haste to keep things clean we make errors. When mistakes happen and we don't know it it's up to the member to point it out to us. Normally we get a nice PM asking what they did wrong or pointing out they did nothing wrong. As a mod, we can't ignore it, we go back and check the logs to see if something was done wrong. A lot of the times the infract was valid and we link proof of it. Sometimes though- we make mistakes. It's hard to admit it, especially if you argue your point for a little bit and then realize you had made an error. Sending an apology might hurt your ego a bit, but it has to be done. Knowing you made a mistake and admitting it doesn't make you weak. It's when you make a mistake and don't admit it that does.

What it was like
Being a chat mod is the most fun out of the 3. Though you still have responsibility it's no where near as hard as Forum or Site. With chat you could do your mod duty and still hang out and talk to people. You weren't taken away from chat to do forum or site work. It was simple, fun, and easy once you got the hang of it.

I loved being a Chat Mod; being able to tell all my friends about it was great, it was like getting a brand new car. You just want to tell all your friends! It also made my life as a OP on my server interesting. People joining saying they are from PMC, asking for staff and whatnot. Good times.

Joining the Mod group was scariest part. I thought they were all scary older people but soon I learned they are just like everyone else. Older/younger, super silly/serious, girls/boys/pony it was awesome. It took a while to warm up to them; getting use to the conversations between everyone and finding ways to chime in. It's almost like joining into PMC chat for the first time you don't know anyone. It's hard to get into a conversation, hard to start making friends. Yeah it's easier the second time around but it's relatable.


July 23rd 2013 - Forum Moderator
Click to reveal Forum Moderator Section.
One Month and already a rank up, that wasn't common to my knowledge. What do I know? Ive only been mod a month. I was told Forum Moderating is a whole different ball park from chat. It's harder, takes longer, and can be confusing at times. How hard could it be right? hahaha ha ha eh umm oh my.
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Getting use to Green
Forum Moderation is harder and more complex than chat. Once again I was linked a topic Forum Moderation for Dummies, no it's not actually called that, but comedy is needed in this blog. I didn't do anything the night I got promoted. I was in chat enjoying all the commotion until my bedtime.

Learning the ropes
The next day is when I read through the entire topic twice. I started off with simple moving, something I had to get use to and fast. Topics aren't normally placed in their proper section, it's a pain to move them, not because it's hard but because there are dozens of them every day placed in the wrong spot. "But how do I know where to post it?" Look at the text under the Forum Section name. It tells you right there. If you're not sure, ask a mod. Unlike chat, in the forums when a warning is given, so is a ban. To do a report that requires a ban you need 4 tabs open to do it quickly. Going one step at a time, and slowly, is the only way not to make a mistake. And this isn't chat anymore, forum moderating is different and it's not so easy to undo things.

It's not easy being green
You laugh now, but honestly forum moderating is a lonely duty. Unlike chat, it requires more of your attention. Unless you've been doing it for a while the distractions of chat can cause some serious mistakes when moderating the forums. Sometimes you have other mods doing reports with you and hopefully you know it before you run into each other. It's really hard to figure out a system between 2 or 3 mods who might pick and chose which report they want to do first. The one nice thing about having 2 or 3 others helping you is 20 reports could be knocked out in no time at all. And then there are the other days. It's just you, and someone reported everything that needed it. Easily 20 topics to move, a few topic spammers here and there, people cursing out members in topics, flame wars, people commercial advertising in their signatures. What a headache. It could take an hour to clear it out and by the time you're done it only takes a few minutes for more reports to come in. Forum moderating is tedious. The motions can get simple but the time it takes will always be there.

Empty Inbox
Being a Moderator has it's perks, besides a shiny colorful name of course. You get hatemail, and not just any hatemail but people who are seriously upset that you banned them for rule breaking. Being a forum moderator gets you zero hatemail. It's a quiet and lonely time.It's not that they don't want to send you hatemail but they can't. The way the forums are setup being Forum banned prevents you from Sending PMs. Yes it's odd, but that's how it works. Being a chat mod you got PMs once in a while, not here though, no you're green no hatemail for you.

What I learned
I may have blacked out my life as a Forum mod as it was so tragic.

Patience
Going as a slower pace to keep from making mistakes. I'm sure you've heard it meany times but here it is again, "Slow and steady wins the race", or in this case a mod position. I wanted to rush through reports to get them done, keeping the forums clean was a goal I had yet doing it fast causes mistakes. Learning to slow done and do it right the first time was key.

Personality in others
The forums have logs from back when PMC was made. Any user can search any other user and see what they posted from years back. There may be no point in going through and reading them but when it comes to forum moderating it happens sometimes. When a user posts a hateful or inappropriate remark a few things happen: the post is either removed or edited; the user is warned and banned; and also the last page of the users posts are read. We make sure nothing else rule breaking has been posted. In doing this we are able to see in one page how uses respond to people. You could know a guy who is really friendly to you, but going through his forum posts could show you he has a puffed up ego and puts others down when they don't know as much as he does. It hurts when those you call friends end up being jerks.

What it was like
There is an ongoing joke between the Mod Team that Forum mod is the lowest of all mod ranks and even below member. Not sure how it started but it was a good laugh whenever someone would bring it up. I did already touch on a few things, like how it's time consuming and lonely. But there are some other things to be said about it.

Jetra and I have been friends for a while now. Some of you may not know this but we were promoted all three times together. To get the forums nice and sparkly clean we did the best thing possible, we started a war. Well, mostly. We were competitive- always trying to get the most reports done the fastest, counting our times, seeking out rule breakers. We were both very active and kept the forums clean for our full month of moderating.


August 21st 2013 - Site Moderator
Click to reveal Site Moderator Section.
Up until this point I was alright, now however, no just no. Jetra and I were out of our minds, no idea what on earth was happening. We were yellow now, super scary site mods of death and doom. We were both left asking why we had been promoted in rapid excession. We weren't anymore special than other mods yet it seemed like we were rushed to Site Mod.

We took this as a little hint
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"Okay that's nice and all but what am I looking at?" You are looking at the view of a site mod, that's 673 Site Reports. Jetra and I (along with other new site mods) were greeted by this lovely sight. In 2 days we managed to drop this down to 0.

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What it's like (I'm going to do this differently and put this before the what I learned section.)
Being a site mod is hard. Not only do you have the Site to take care of but you also have access to the Forums and Chat. One of the first things you notice when you get Site Mod is the amount of people who suddenly take interest in you. You're now considered a 'High Rank' and people flock to you like a celebrity. The first few weeks of my Site Modship were interesting. Once again following the normal order of things I was linked Site Moderating 101, Yes it's actually called that. Site Moderating is less messy than forums yet it has more buttons and you can do a ton more damage if you make a mistake.

Starting out slow
Jetra and I hung back for a while doing easy reports; blogs, servers, simple spam skins, and projects. As we got the hang of it we started going up the ladder to stolen submissions with linked proof like skins and projects. I didn't understand Texture Packs or Mods so the only ones I could do were the spam posts. With the help of the new Site Mods and a lot of older ones we cleaned out the site reports, now we had a clean slate, so to speak, to start out with.

Running into troublemakers
The worst part of moderating the site are those people who 100% believe they are doing nothing wrong. That or they know it and want to get away with it. I can think of one instance in particular where I knew the member was wrong, but he was arguing that it wasn't his fault over and over. He was giving me so many different excuses and reasons why he couldn't fix what was wrong that it made it a rather difficult task to handle. I eventually asked other Site Mods for help and they walked me through what needed to be said.

Dealing with Grandfathered Submissions & Missed Rule Breaking Submissions
All of you can go back to old submissions and find ones not in line with the current rules. However those submissions may have been allowed under the rules at the current time. These are called Grandfathered Submissions and are only mentioned briefly.

As most of you know Site Mods rely heavily on the reports of members, we almost never go out and search for submissions breaking the rules. As a result of these two things we have a lot of submissions that appear to be breaking rules or are breaking rules. This causes one of the most common arguments for Site Rule breaker "But so and so did it!". They think by pointing out someone else broke the rule it allows them to do the same. No, bad excuse. If you see someone robbing a bank and not get caught does it mean you can rob a bank without any type of punishment? How stupid can you possibly be?!

We are Volunteers not robots
Question: What are Moderators?
Answer: Moderators are volunteers who willing take time out of their daily life to moderate the site. We do not get paid, we do not moderate 24/7, we cannot possibly catch every single rule breaking post.
Members don't normally understand this. If you PM any moderator, then 5 minutes later PM them again saying "Why haven't you responded?!", it's only going to make matters worse for you. We are not on all day, and even then when we do get on we may not feel like reading the messages we have that very moment. Be Patient.

Calling out Dibs on new Moderators
Yes, we call dibs on new mods. What this means is we are volunteering to teach them anything that isn't laid out smoothly in the topics you're linked for your rank. Back in February TheChipsandip was promoted to Chat mod, I was the one who called Dibs on him which made me, more or less, his teacher. The Topic did teach him almost everything, but I was there for any other questions he may have had. And it doesn't stop after a day, week, month, any mod is always there to help answer any question you my have.

Moderator Rules
Moderators have our own set of unwritten rules. Surprising no? Not only do we follow the rest of the Site/Forum/Chat rules but we also have a small guideline we have to follow along with all that.

              1. What happens in mod chat, stays in mod chat.
Moderators have our own set of groups. A lot of what goes on in there relates to getting reports done. If a mod ever leaks to you what is going on in one of these groups, it's against mod rules.

               2. Private messages on the Site and Chat are private.
Once again we cannot share or show what is happening in messages. If the user/s allow us to then it's alright. That's why many times when some chat photos are shown by moderators there are some fuzzed out lines.

               3. We are expected to act like Moderators when moderating.
Mods are people too and we can get to goofing off; posting silly photos. acting like kids on sugar, roleplaying about MLP at some points. Though when it comes to Moderating we are expected to deal with it calmly and rationally. We don't scream at rule breakers and ban evaders, we infract/ban and if need be show proof of the rule breaking post.

                4. We are not above the rules.
Straight and to the point. We have to follow every rule you do.

Hatemail
One of the nice things about Site Moderating is the hatemail we get. No, we can't share it with you but I can assure you it's wonderful. Most of it is causes by members who refuse to admit they broke of rule. Others argue that it's not their fault they didn't read the rules. Not all hatemail is the same, but it's hatemail either way.

What I've Learned  This is where I hide Jack's name.
Site Moderating has taught me a lot. I'm grateful for all the Members and Moderators who have helped me along this long journey.

Standing Firm Through Ordeals
When it comes to members who argue their point on and on sometimes it gets exhausting. Spending time to deal with one person when there are dozen of other things to do can get old really fast. I had to learn more patience in this, you can't just go slow and expect it to get done right like in Forum Moderating. No, you had to be patient with the member, it's always possibly they don't understand. Linking the rules, quoting them, pointing out what's wrong with their posts. You could do this 3 times and they still might not get it. But it has to be dealt with, we can't jut throw our arms up in the air and give up. Stand firm on the rules, explain it one more time, maybe they will get it. Maybe...

Be Nice
I have a low tolerance level for people who are jerks. If you're a jerk, then I dislike you, simple and to the point. On chat there are rules that members have to follow, sometimes though members walk the line and don't do enough to get an infraction. I had to learn to deal with it. Be nice, give them a little verbal warning or just ignore till I'm needed. I dislike anyone starting a fight but sometimes it's not enough to infract.

It's not always worth it to post
When you see a topic that you could write a while long post in reply to, it's not always worth it. People online don't have the same views as you, and most of the time they will skim over and ignore your post. I've applied this to a lot of The Forums on PMC. Many times I want to comment and add in my 2 cents, but there is no point, if any question was answered I'm just putting in a pointless post. Yes, everyone likes sharing their opinion, but not everyone likes reading other people's opinions.

Research, double check, triple check
It only takes one mistake in removal to make you paranoid. When handling submissions I learned to double and triple check EVERYTHING, I still make mistake, but it's less of them. You can't assume the reporting is right you have to read through the submission and understand what's going on. Sometimes member say "This skin is stolen" and leave it at that. Yes very helpful thank you, I'll just spend the next 10 minutes searching for where they stole it from. Little hint: we don't like that. But nonetheless, we get that a lot and have to search for the original content. It's hard sometimes but it must be done.

Friends & those other people....
Being a Mod means a lot of attention from members. Sometimes it's just in a general chat where users are genuinely curious about you. Other times is a blatant attempt to be 'friends' with the mods for other reasons. For all you people out there who think you are being all sneaky and sly getting in with the mods, we know what you're doing. We aren't blind. Even with these type of people all the Moderators still have their group of friends. They still enjoy talking to them just like anyone else. I have a large list of friends: ThePixelPony, CocoaBunny, Knightsabers, and Gerenzoo just to name a few.

Living with enemies
People don't like it when you infract them, ban them, or remove their stuff. They hate it and get upset and ruffled. A lot of the times these people put you on their 'enemy list' and will downright despise you for months after. I don't like conflict. I like everyone being happy and not being upset. Now I have to learn to live with it. It's hard but it must be done.


In Conclusion
I've been a mod on this site for a long time and it doesn't make me better than anyone else. It only means I have more responsibly than the members here; if you're talking to me on chat and I disappear or don't respond it's not because I don't want to talk to you or am ignoring you, it's because I have other things that take priority over chatting. Moderators have duties, and we can either do them or possibly step down.

Don't exclude us
Don't exclude us because we look scary. We like to talk too! I know most of the time I'm cloaked in chat but the times I appear I would like to talk to all of you. Don't be shy; drag me into whatever you're talking about. Like ponies. We aren't strict offsite. We're normal everyday people we have: lives; pets; interests; cars; videos games and so on.

Thanks!
I want to thank everyone who has been my friend over the year and a half ive been active on this site. Giggimish was the very first friend I made. ^_^ Jetra and I are good friends and pretty much consider ourselves 'Internet brother and sister'. ThePixelPony is someone who I didn't even notice till he joined me on a sever one day. Now he is here fixing my grammar issues. And to everyone else, who I could list, but that would take a few hours.

Thank you everyone!




~Midnight
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Callout to Zatharel who guessed closest to this blog's word count. He guessed 4500 and the total word count is 4643.
CreditJetra for the Photo, ThePixelPony for helping with the grammar, Mod Team, PMC
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1
04/27/2016 6:39 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Vampire
Ink
Ink's Avatar
this was very fun to read!
though now i feel like i missed out a lot not being in the chat when i first joined pmc.
1
03/20/2016 3:47 pm
Level 48 : Master Gent
_Deadpool_
_Deadpool_'s Avatar
Very nice, well done slytherin well done.
1
03/20/2016 3:46 pm
Level 14 : Journeyman Explorer
GenesisFox
GenesisFox's Avatar
Thats awesome! I'm glad you got to have a great learning experience :3
1
02/21/2016 12:27 pm
Level 18 : Journeyman Skinner
tigesake
tigesake's Avatar
pls give me my blog back
1
04/11/2016 5:55 pm
Level 38 : Artisan Narwhal
Hockeybuilder07
Hockeybuilder07's Avatar
wat
1
02/07/2016 9:18 pm
Level 27 : Expert Blacksmith
Nebulabeee
Nebulabeee's Avatar
Though I'm kinda late, I just wanted to leave a comment on how much of a great blog this was. It was very interesting how you became from member to Site mod! :O
Too many Pony jokes?
1
02/07/2016 9:34 pm
Level 46 : Master Mlem Mlem Bat
Midnight
Midnight's Avatar
There was a pony joke theme going on around the time I wrote this, that's why I went with it. Also Thank you
1
02/08/2016 8:34 pm
Level 27 : Expert Blacksmith
Nebulabeee
Nebulabeee's Avatar
Lol okay then XD
Dang, this blog made me so darn curious on how it feels to be a mod and what it's like to handle reports ;c;
1
08/17/2015 2:09 pm
Level 21 : Expert Architect
Chowders
Chowders's Avatar
Wow maturity next to ponies what a wonderful moderator!
1
08/17/2015 2:14 pm
Level 46 : Master Mlem Mlem Bat
Midnight
Midnight's Avatar
At the time this was being written there was some massive pony joke going around. I don't even remember what it was but that's how it managed to find its way here.
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