Admin Relationship with forum members

EQnoble

Well-known member
#21
In your opinion what sort of relationship should forum admin have with forum members, and how important is that ?

Thanks
To answer your question from where I stand...it is way to complex to sum it up easily. If you site has a basis that is primarily jokes and funny images your relationship is going to be different than if your forum is the communication center for a product or service you offer and whatever millions of other possibilities stand in between those two.

For instance...say you had a forum that was a group support place for people dealing with terminal illness...well that is not the place you want a robotic persona talking to people constantly. People who are somewhere trying to open up and reach out don't want to get an answering machine. Then again I belong to forums that you can beat the members with a club and they will post something they are told to not post ...immediately following the post from staff telling them not to specifically. It is all about what is appropriate for your arena.

This is another one of those things that you just have to assess the situation and make a decision for yourself if it is your site. If it is not, then it must be accepted that things run the way they do at a given place for a reason that was determined by the people who run the place and can see more of the complete picture and you just have to let the admins do their job.

So yeah, my answer is there is no one right answer...because than you would have to define a wrong answer.... and with an infinite possibilities of sites you could create, you could also create an infinite amount of predictable and unforeseeable circumstances that could change the answer.
 

Morgain

Well-known member
#23
Seriously? I've never felt that being female has any bearing whatsoever in the "leadership" of any forum I run.
Yes I wondered when someone was going to say that gender is irrelevant in response to that remark. :(
To unpack the issue I didn't actually say that was about being a female forum admin. I said it was a general condition that female leadership attracts a harsher level of critical response.Please note I said this quietly not as a whinge but as a fact of life that has to be computed in any ambitious woman's strategies. There's no point getting hysterical about it any more than the disadvantages of being a short person. It just generates certain results that have to be covered by strategy.
This issue comes out for example in criticising a woman leader's appearance a great deal more and a level of vicious personal attack on her body and personal/sexual habits, that leader men far more rarely suffer. As women (generally) react more to bodily criticism, or bodily humiliation (as is well known to torture practitioners) this aspect has a powerful effect on women compared to their malke couterparts who are (generally) better able to shrug such attacks off.
She will also be vulnerable to critique that she is a hard ***** who is unnatural, who neglects her family, bullies her male partner etc The stereotypes are obvious arising from historical conditions with plenty of immediate examples in politics.
Because of these historical conditions there is a default forever lurking to suggest that she is going against her proper or natural place in the scheme of things. Those who believe that women really belong in the family sphere will be quick to capitalise on any mistakes she makes outside it as evidence of her unsuitability for authority. While there are enclaves of culture relatively free of this attitude such as sectors of the mega cities of the world, the majority of the world still runs on female subordination. Think of whole countries where women may not drive a car, have no defence against rape or other violence, may not hold money of their own at all, or are barred from owning land, or earning more than a fraction of male pay, or culturally assigned to eat only after men eat and get less or poorer food. Yet the vast majority of the poorest sweated labour is done by females worldwide. These are not exceptional cases worldwide but more a typical condition where the liberal Westernised view is the minority view (for all this check UN statistics).
Living in a world context like this, with centuries of established historical attitudes behind it wherever we are, does not exist without having an effect. One example that does irritate me is the constant media fuss about the first woman to XYZ or talk of women 'catching up with' or other league table talk which implies that the standard human performance is male.

In the more liberal cultural places these attitudes do still operate: their holders just know to not make it obvious, because they are nit fashionable, much as racists also conceal their agenda under apparently different justifications. There is also a level of unaware/ subconscious prejudice ... this has been documented by video research on people who in interviews say they believe in equality but demonstrate otherwise in their filmed or ECG behaviour!
Paradoxically the level of hostility to female authority and expertise can actually produce female excellence, in small numbers of token exceptions. In some spheres where women have to fight far harder to gain access or to achieve, it is a process that culls out all but the best so that those women who do succeed can be (generally) relied upon to be in the higher levels of skill or quality. As exceptions.

Given a general bias or trend to attack and critique a female power holder more as an inappropriate element, it is indeede a valid point to examine whether this does apply to female forum admins. There is no research on this speciofically that I know of so speculation and logic are the fallback.
At a guess I'd say that it is less of a problem because online communication is so much less bound up with the body and its signals of gender. A forum admin if lacking high heels, boobs, or lipstick in her avatar! and using a relatively genderless username, can operate as a neutral agent. In certain types of theme/ topic it can be true that it is only skill that matters.
But wherever there is more of a personal element - small forums, forums around personal support, or where there is more personal content, I'd expect to see a greater degree of this hostility to female authority creep in around the edges. The more it is apparent that the admin is a woman, that is.
Interestingly the most vicious example of this I've ever found was an all-female online community! Not a forum, an email list but it serves as a fascinating ending to my analysis. As an online community it was small, personal in content, focused on female issues. WOW! the level of attack on female authority there was breathtaking. Give me good oldfashioned sexism in a mixed context any day :) and in fact I prefer the male variant. It's more straightforward and far easier to manage if only because less of a surprise; but also because men (generally) play less secretive manoeuvres. Out there obviously shooting towards me is far easier to ignore, deflect or minimise.
 

Lisa

Well-known member
#24
I understand the issues in areas offline.. but since the statement was written in a post related to forum administration I had to assume a link. It's one I've never experienced within that area. Being female myself, I actually felt that while, yes you may have stated it "quietly", the fact that you needed to state it at all was odd.
 

Morgain

Well-known member
#26
Hmm, I don't see any difference between being Male or Female running a forum. I better shut-up! :barefoot:

MrGTB there is a useful social theory that helps with this. Marked and UnMarked Groups.
Sorry if this is longwinded but it's not easy to explain. Once you "get it" it is simple to understand though.

In terms of equality, resources, stigma and other perceptions of power, society is made up of status pairs
- rich/ poor - white/ black - male/ female - adult/ child - citizen/ immigrant - etc

Some of these are not rigidly clearcut. For example rich/ poor is quite relative depending on the two people or two groups being studied. So in one discussion Ms. Smith is rich in relation to Mr. Brown. But in another she is poor in relation to Ms. Gold. But the meanings are quite clear in each discussion.
Some pairs are much more rigid than others. Male/ female has only a small number or borderline cases but adult/ child has a lot of instances where status is borderline, like teenagers. Again it will depend on the specific discussion and its needs how the groups are defined in order to be clear.

The more powerful group will be that way through various avenues - history, law, custom, personal effort, good or bad luck. That is less important here than the neutral definition of where a person or group stands right now. (In some research the aetiology - the causes - is important and interesting but not here.)
Lastly there is of course the issue of exceptions which are almost always there around group statements. Important, sometimes fascinating, can be due to tokenism, or patronage or sheer grit or luck. But exceptions do not break a rule unless there are thousands, millions of them. So one person's experience while important always, has little to do with this. This is looking at larger group trends and structures.

Now the point of all this careful definition work is that the PERCEPTION of each person on the different side of a status is different. That is, we do not see what happens in the same way because our status, its advantages and disadvantages shapes how we see things.
So for example if you have never been poor you will see small amounts of money like a single dollar/ pound/ euro/ yen very differently to how a poor person does. To you it's an almost irritating clutter in your wallet. It could be lightly donated to a collecting tin just to get rid of the clutter. To a poor person it's the difference between coping for the week and not coping.

Each person on their own side of the status spectrum will be less aware of the problems the other has. A poor person will be pretty unaware of the weight of responsibility for investments, and safeguarding inheritance for heirs of the family estate. A rich person is going to be extremely unaware of what is involved in struggling to get welfare with intrusive questioning by officials and the stress of the small but crucial payments being stopped. Both sides can be kept awake at night by their anxieties but very differently.

The next step and final one is that for some kinds of inequality there just aren't matching situations like the investments/ welfare one I constructed.
A white person has no family history of slavery to underlie their sense of freedom and power in the world.
Rich people have no idea what being cold in winter is like, being unable to do anything about it, facing weeks or months of it, and the risk of illness involved.
Anyone who has been though a life/ death crisis of health knows that others who have not have little idea how it changes you fundamentally, how the anxiety is always there underneath every action.

There is an ease, a lack of limits, a kind of free gift of energy, calmness, and comfort which goes with being on the privileged side of the pair. Conversely the unprivileged partner has a sharp awareness of the relevant limit, or discomfort, or barrier - because they have had to deal with it.
It doesn't FEEL like a "kind of free gift of energy, calmness, and comfort" to the privileged person. It doesn't feel like anything. There is nothing to be aware of. They don't HAVE this condition, state or "mark." The other person has it.

This is why when the less privileged person describes the world they live in in terms of that lesser privilege, it can easily seem like neurotic fuss, exaggeration, from the point of view of the privileged partner pair. Conversely the privileged person can appear ignorant, even rude and cruel to the other ('Let them eat cake.')
Neither is true. The less privileged person is no more neurotic or exaggerated than the privileged person is stupid and cruel. They just start from different places.

Some privileged people become sensitised to the other side through close acquaintance - nursing a loved one through life crisis illness; a love affair with someone of a very different ethnic group; a sudden eye opening experience of what lack of money means to a very poor person. Such people are crucial to equality movements as they often bring in power and resources that pioneer political improvements. They also make fascinating sensitive lovers, friends, business colleagues.

I better stop. Inequality is an issue dear to my heart.
<Bows out slightly pink around the ears.>
 

EQnoble

Well-known member
#27
A white person has no family history of slavery to underlie their sense of freedom and power in the world.
I have to note that my Grandmother and her Father were both prisoners of war and slaves in their lives...one never made it to America. Both were Caucasian. The thing I am pointing out is...I find it rather imposing that because someone else (not oneself) that one may have never met but is related to and has been enslaved that they would have a greater understanding of what it means to truly be free.

I will not argue that there is not sexism and racism and whatever other ism you can find...because well they exist...I just have yet see it once here or at any other forum besides the occasional obvious troll. For me I have never thought about sex once while at xenforo or really at any forum until this post...infact the only time I think about differentiating between sexes, well is when I think of the action of sex...because otherwise it just doesn't matter.
 

Morgain

Well-known member
#28
I have to note that my Grandmother and her Father were both prisoners of war and slaves in their lives...one never made it to America. Both were Caucasian.
Gosh that is an interesting case. Ive never heard of white people born into slavery, bred like cattle for their bloodlines, sold as babies or kids away from their parents, or never knowing their "stud" fathers. Knowing that they and everyone else like them had to live in this group kept alive solely to serve the comfort, convenience and profits of another "race." As a superior "race."

I did once read an American novel which explored an Asian invasion of America with all white people living as slaves. It's the totality of it - the systematic control by one group of another in every detail of their lives, which creates the different world view. It was a real eye opener. But I had no idea it has actually occurred anywhere in the world for white people.
Not in the last century or so though the treatment of the Irish was something like it. Of course there were brief experiences for a few years by people under Nazism, and the gulags, but that is not the same. Both those criminalised large numbers in order to exploit them as slave labour, but they were not generally bred for it as a physically different group.

To be born into - to be bred like animals for, a lifetime of slavery is an immersion of experience we can only begin to imagine.
 

EQnoble

Well-known member
#29
Gosh that is an interesting case. Ive never heard of white people born into slavery, bred like cattle for their bloodlines, sold as babies or kids away from their parents, or never knowing their "stud" fathers.
I was not saying that happened...I quoted this from you and nothing else...
A white person has no family history of slavery to underlie their sense of freedom and power in the world.


Knowing that they and everyone else like them had to live in this group kept alive solely to serve the comfort, convenience and profits of another "race." As a superior "race."

I did once read an American novel which explored an Asian invasion of America with all white people living as slaves. It's the totality of it - the systematic control by one group of another in every detail of their lives, which creates the different world view. It was a real eye opener. But I had no idea it has actually occurred anywhere in the world for white people.
Not in the last century or so though the treatment of the Irish was something like it. Of course there were brief experiences for a few years by people under Nazism, and the gulags, but that is not the same. Both those criminalised large numbers in order to exploit them as slave labour, but they were not generally bred for it as a physically different group.

To be born into - to be bred like animals for, a lifetime of slavery is an immersion of experience we can only begin to imagine.

I wasn't being cynical...I was being real...but since you took the tone you did I will entertain you. I wouldn't call it interesting...but there was a little case where a group of (obviously color is important here to you so ) white people who thought they were the superior race...maybe you have heard of it..the Holocaust. They oppressed white people too...actually mostly and first. Here per Wikipedia....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust said:
From the beginning of the Third Reich concentration camps were founded, initially as places of incarceration. Though the death rate in the concentration camps was high, with a mortality rate of 50%, they were not designed to be killing centres. (By 1942, six large extermination camps had been established in Nazi-occupied Poland,[53] which were built solely for mass killings.) After 1939, the camps increasingly became places where Jews and POWs were either killed or made to work as slave laborers, undernourished and tortured.[88] It is estimated that the Germans established 15,000 camps and subcamps in the occupied countries, mostly in eastern Europe.[89][90] New camps were founded in areas with large Jewish, Polish intelligentsia, communist, or Roma and Sinti populations, including inside Germany. The transportation of prisoners was often carried out under horrifying conditions using rail freight cars, in which many died before reaching their destination.

Extermination through labour was a policy of systematic extermination — camp inmates would literally be worked to death, or worked to physical exhaustion, when they would be gassed or shot. Slave labour was used in war production, for example producing V-2 rockets at Mittelbau-Dora, and various armaments around the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex.

Upon admission, some camps tattooed prisoners with a prisoner ID.[91] Those fit for work were dispatched for 12 to 14 hour shifts. Before and after, there were roll calls that could sometimes last for hours, with prisoners regularly dying of exposure.[92]
I also see you think to compare the two tragedies that we know as history with one having less value on the horrid scale because of the duration of the event or 'brief experiances 'as you put it. You also bring up breeding and raising a slave race...well if I was to try and compare the two and wanted to be cynical because one of the two holds significance in my history and has DIRECTLY effected my life...I would say something snidely like you did to the effect of 'at least the oppressors here had an interest in keeping their oppressed alive...what happened in Germany was a genocide and it was policy to kill those who could work by working them to death...that was the whole point.'

Of course I don't feel like one is worse than the other because of it's effects on people in general...they were bad cruel things and I wish they had never happened...they changed the course of the future for many families, I know...I have spoken and lived with a survivor of one of them from the day I was born until I was 12 and I have heard the truth of what was happening first hand from someone who saw it and lived it. To say it was just a couple of years is kind of a slap in the face because if you do the math you can easily see that if the rate of extermination continued over the amount of time that slavery in America spanned...there would be no people left on earth. I kinda know what that feels like first hand...only one female in my family on my mothers side made it from Europe, the rest of the females and males perished. The stories that were left of that side of my family were not pretty either. That changed my world...

But anyway thanks for showing me that your issues are more important than any others.

Happy new years to you...and thanks for the conversation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne
 

EQnoble

Well-known member
#31
First of all I am sorry for my contribution to this... I didn't want to take it there...I quoted a statement because I know the opposite to be true and felted slighted by a remark that was made to make a point when neither subjects of those points should be used to take the meaning out of the other. That was my point in referencing her holocaust reference.

No harm no foul...this is a forum and I have a position on something that was said that I feel strongly enough about to reply. I wouldn't bring it up but this is an otherwise situation where someone posted a viewpoint that I strongly disagree with. I found a position offensive, stated my point of view and didn't expect for someone to try and belittle me for posting a view from my side of the table but like I said no harm no foul and it is what it is. I have respect for all of the families that pick up the pieces and keep it moving.


Moving on...a good point to make in my book, no matter what... if you are an administrator on a forum or even in a business or law enforcement environment: It is always wise when in a position of authority to not act or speak with prejudices against a group or individual whom you may have a personal prejudice against.

If I was ever to officially run a forum myself...I would think of this constantly.
 

tafreehm

Well-known member
#32
Please stick to the topic, I just want people opinion on admin and user relationship.
and for those who thinks its a general question, well it could be, but I simply want your personal opinion based on your experience.

Thanks
 

dieketzer

Well-known member
#33
nazis didnt breed slaves. they rounded up people and used them for slave labour, but extermination was the actual goal. they were of little value to nazis.
otoh, black plantation slaves were bred. they had a value to slave owners, so they werent mass exterminated.
you cannot really draw many parallels between the two.
 

dieketzer

Well-known member
#34
and females are surely treated differently by many forum members.
when people began to suspect i was the secret admin, some began referring to the male-identified admin account as 'she' in unflattering ways. then questions about pmt, the 'rag', female hysteria, etc followed.
 

EQnoble

Well-known member
#35
nazis didnt breed slaves. they rounded up people and used them for slave labour, but extermination was the actual goal. they were of little value to nazis.
otoh, black plantation slaves were bred. they had a value to slave owners, so they werent mass exterminated.
you cannot really draw many parallels between the two.
That was my whole point on my long reply to a post that beckons a response. And then I moved back on topic... Administrators should not act in prejudice to members and it is very valid.
 

Morgain

Well-known member
#36
I am sorry this went wrong because of what I said. I am especially sorry what I said caused hurt. I care passionately about the injustice of inequality and I have poured my life into fighting various forms of it. I do not think that humans can live without inequality but I do know from personal experience it can be controlled and kept to a moderate and healthy level. See the book "The Spirit Level" for a good description of how inequality causes a sick economy and a sick populace under unrestrained market capitalism which has built our current world crisis.

EQnoble I have studied the Shoah (Holocaust) for many years and I was born as that war ended, with my local family sufferings from it as a tiny detail among its millions. So yes I know something of it in my family history. I am sorry I came across the way I did to you and I can see why.I deal with inequality both as a campaigner and a rescuer, but also as a scholar observing its patterns. That "cold" observation while useful I believe, can come across wrong as it did here.
I never suggested that one type of suffering was worse or outranked another. I was comparing how they were different without judgement on which was better or worse. What I was doing was to distinguish between two types: "slave labour" as used on criminals, or the criminalised e.g. Nazism/ the Shoah, and the Soviet gulags both of which I mentioned as examples; and a very different type of slavery practised on American plantations, and in many parts of Africa. Also by my ancestors the Celts who were slavers like most others of the ancient world.

I was speaking as a political analyst of groups of people, how GROUPS are perceived and how that affects our human behaviour. This has little to do with special cases of individuals so can be distasteful to anyone whose dedication is in terms of individuals. But I believe that BOTH those points of view are valuable. As admins we need them both.

Analysing groups, as admins, gives us a guide on trends and patterns. Inequality, privileged groups, and groups which endure harsh treatment, result in many of our members being angry, or hurt, on certain topics. So knowledge of such group patterns helps us see it coming when certain topics arise or certain types of people make contact through our forums.

But of course group analysis is not enough. We need to constantly adjust the group expectations we have of each other about age, gender, locality, religion, occupation and hundreds more categories ... these are useful starting points but need fine tuning around the individual situation. That fine tuning can be so strong that it cancels out the group pattern: that constructs an exception to the group pattern.

This is a high level social skill for admins, to learn group patterns and use the knowledge of them resourcefully yet remain open and flexible to contradictory data around the individual exception. In other words stereotypes and categories do hold valid data but need constant reassessment.
For example it is true that generally and to quite a high majority, the older a user is the more likely they are to adapt less easily to the net and to changes in software. A readiness to be extra patient if a user is my age or older when doing support is therefore helpful for those who grew up pre-net can never react to it as intuitively as those who knew it as children or teenagers. Yet at the same time there are deeply unconfident teenagers (I teach them) and some elderlies who in my online communities manage quite deftly.
Groups and individuals are therefore a balancing act on data.

Finally the Marked/ Unmarked theory I outlined is also most useful to admins. For it shows us how to assess without judging. The privileged are not simply blind, ignorant and cruel. Nor are the disadvantaged neurotic, obsessed with complaining and competition to hold the worst disadvantage as a counter force.
They can appear like that because each side of the divide (on a selected issue) acquires a different point of view because of their position and the experiences it bestows.
It helps us as admins to grasp that because it causes intense difficulties when the two views clash in conflict! A "third view" that accepts both and shows each what they are missing about the other can mediate constructively.
Nor as in the general stereotype/ category issue I described above, can we just shove people into their Marked/ UnMarked boxes. For the majority this works (or else the boxes are pointless). But people as individuals negotiate complex combinations of resources which can contradict their boxes. So we get minority sub-groupings and individuals who contradict the patterns.

Again I am sorry. Many people do not enjoy detached analysis of human groups as I do. I find it actually helps and equips me to find avenues to open up more freedoms for myself and others. It goes beyond anger, to a ruthless logic where it is possible to zero in precisely on how the worst privileged elites use their power advantages to damage others e.,g. bankers, arms traders.
To some this detached way of thinking is disgusting because it seems to reduce human suffering to a set of boxes.
For myself I am committed to a marriage of passion and logic. But that too can annoy others as I do not sit tidily in either camp.
 

dieketzer

Well-known member
#37
that runs to the very core of our early days at gV. as i mentioned earlier, we were largely the diaspora of two other boards. it was believed by many that those boards practised favouritism, had a caste system, and the moderation was lopsided. in both cases the administration had mates that pretty much had carte blanche to behave in any manner they wished, and could abuse, troll, and violate any rule they wished with complete impunity. the boards took on a hard leftist identity, and anyone that dared to voice any disagreement with liberal ideology or whatnot was hounded and harassed off the board or, if they proved to be too tenacious, branded a troll and moderated off the board.
this required us to do things in a radically different way. for one, i had to hold myself to account and make certain guarantees to the early membership. just as members have rules they must follow, the administration and moderation team also have rules they must follow, framed as 'members rights': http://gotvirtual.net/community/pages/rights/
 

Lisa

Well-known member
#38
this required us to do things in a radically different way. for one, i had to hold myself to account and make certain guarantees to the early membership. just as members have rules they must follow, the administration and moderation team also have rules they must follow, framed as 'members rights': http://gotvirtual.net/community/pages/rights/
I like that idea. Most sites (mine included) focus on what a member can do but not what they can expect from their moderation team. Good idea.. mind if I borrow the idea for my own sites?
 

dieketzer

Well-known member
#39
its not easy, actually. one must be willing to watch one group demand another group to be moderated/banned, and then watch them flounce when it doesnt happen. you really do have to stick to your guns and ride a lot of it out. there are people that require an admin to go to bat for them... to moderate their foes and such. eventually i had to watch those people come to the realisation it wasnt going to happen and drop away. if one is the type of admin that panics when members fall away, this isnt the most comfortable way to run a board.

(use the rights page as you see fit)
 

Lisa

Well-known member
#40
I've dealt with people doing that before... I don't play favourites :D It's just a nice idea to have something in writing that covers what we should be doing anyway.

Thanks!
 
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