Does the NI Forum Community Culture need a change?
There is no such thing as a perfect recipe for how to moderate online forums. It is not good to allow the "inmates to run the asylum" as they say. But nor is it good to over police and steer the narrative unfairly. And freedom of expression only works when others can/will say things you don't agree with and even don't like. It is a slippery slope. But I really do think that moderators on any forum have a responsibility to work towards maintaining a healthy middle ground and I am not sure we have that at the moment.
What I can say for sure is that I have witnessed an increasing amount of very abusive behavior and it often left me feeling like leaving and never returning and I am sure I am not alone. No doubt many have left. And I am also not sure that anything is being done about it and so I think there should be some kind of ongoing communication from the moderation team about this. But we are also adults here, and we certainly have the ability to moderate ourselves.
We just saw a thread closed because it was "getting out of hand". Maybe that was the right thing to do, maybe not. But it shone a much needed light on why it is so hard to moderate forums.
That said, it was closed just as a discussion was starting about forum behavior and I, for one, think it is a discussion worth having/continuing!
I don't have all the answers, but I know one thing. I would like to see more of a culture of "serving others" and fewer people serving themselves. And I am also wondering if monetizing forum participation might have been a mistake? It encourages over posting for the sake of monetary gain and I think it may have made the problem worse?
Lastly, I want to raise my hand and say that I too, allowed myself to get sucked into confrontation on the aforementioned closed thread and I now regret that. But we can all get "triggered" at times by aggressive behavior and things just unravel (get out of hand) from there.
But I am still here and I want to be here. I hope I am one of many.
It is also my hope that this post isn't interpreted as a rant but rather as an act of leading by example.
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