A behind the scenes look at moderating
Some of you aren't aware that moderators often do a lot of behind the scenes work. We collect evidence, we write reports, we meet with staff, we meet with each other, and so forth. There are certainly things that we aren't allowed to share with you, but, I thought it would be fun to share some of the other stuff we do behind the scenes.
So, if you're a forum moderator on Duolingo, feel free to share a look behind the scenes when y'all wake up.
Update for clarification: Non-forum mod, incubator contributors are also welcome to share some behind the scenes pieces of your work!
Me: Hi, everyone, I'm Lrtward, and I'm a moderator.
Everyone: Hello, Lrtward.
I'm mostly active in the English-Spanish, English-French, and French-Spanish forums. I speak Spanish passably well, and I struggle my way through French with a lot of help from Google Translate and WordReference.
Like all moderators, I'm a volunteer, which means I pop in and out as work, studies, and family obligations allow. My fave place to moderate is at home with my feet propped up and a cup of coffee, tea (hot or cold, depending on the season), or water on the table beside me. This is my favorite place in the house. It's beside the fireplace (great in the winter time), and I can see out the window into the woods behind the house. Here are our woods in the fall (though not the view from my window):
West Virginia is a breathtakingly beautiful state, and I love where I live.
Regarding tools, mostly I use my browser. Here are some of my open tabs at the moment:
I also usually have Facebook open, and a chat tool to communicate with other mods, and some documentation that we're developing to help us all stay on the same page as far as moderating goes.
Like Usagiboy7, I prefer to work in a team of moderators, but there are some who work more individually due to personal preference and communication ability. My team communicates primarily in English so for a moderator that speaks Turkish and Russian, we're not a good fit.
One other tool I use is AutoTextExpander for Chrome. It allows me to type a few characters in a browser window and they are magically expanded into one (or more) paragraphs. That's why my activity stream looks like a huge copy-and-paste marathon. It's tiring to type basically the same thing over and over, and most new folks have the same questions and need to hear the same message, so this tool saves me a lot of typing and time.
As far as getting away, my job is extremely demanding, mentally. I use moderating as a break from work, and work as a break from moderating. I also like to get outside and garden, or walk. Being outdoors is my zen.
Butterflies on milkweed last spring:
This is awesome Usagiboy7! Also, you're the moderator I notice all the time keeping the forums great and answering people's questions. I've said it before and I'll say it again... THANK YOU FROM EVERYONE ON DUOLINGO! Okay, this is different from what I've said before, as it's now from everyone, not just me. :-)
So, I guess I'll start. My name is Usagi and I'm a global moderator for Duolingo (a volunteer position). What does that mean? I means I monitor a LOT of forums. Actively, I monitor around 17 forums I think. But, with the ability moderate in all forums, I respond to requests to take action in more than just those 17 forums.
And, here is what I'm working on this evening: Research!
Part of my academic background is in Human Communication. As a long time moderator, I also mentor some of the incoming mods. I'm also working on a project with Duolingo to decrease the amount of time spent on the learning curve for newer moderators. So, tonight I'm pulling out a few of my old textbooks and looking for useful things to pass forward.
It can be easy for me to forget to hydrate while I'm moderating. So, I drink a lot of gatorade. It's brightly colored so I notice it whenever I look up from the computer. In the cooler months, I also drink a lot of decaf tea and hot chocolate. Whenever I feel frustrated, they are my go-to. I step away from my computer, make something warm, and take time to relax and collect myself while I drink it.
It also helps to get away for longer breaks sometimes. For me, I really enjoy multiple day backpacking trips, pretty much regardless of the season. For that, I've got Oliver to help me out. Oliver is my 70L backpack. Here is what Oliver looks like unpacked
and also when Oliver is all packed up and ready to go. (How does it all even fit?? It's like there is a subspace pocket in there!)
To add a small piece of insight, my own team has 15 channels dedicated to different aspects of our tasks as moderators. (We do a lot!) Interesting fact though, not all moderators work with a mod team. But, considering our success with it, I have a feeling it will become more common in the future. :)
There is no picture of a pillow here. That is because moderators never sleep. xD
I am glad that you have lots to drink
And eating healthily is always good
Have you tried the Spaghetti Pizza
seems so yukky but popular in NZ
For anyone who doesn't understand, spaghetti can be sold in cans in NZ, it is quite common to put it on toast and things. Thinking about it I can see how strange it must look.
So have we, it's not a particularly NZ thing, I don't think. Though if you're putting it on a pizza base you may be on your own.
Of course, I've also seen "spaghetti doughnuts" making an appearance on the internet recently. That's certainly out of the box. =)
Oh Luscinda ! You are gem.
I am sure this is situation across all cultures !
I remember as a child we would help ourselves to white bread, smother it in butter, and put heaped spoonfuls of sugar on. Roll it up and eat it.
Certainly not something I recommend.
And nor would I eat it now.
And to the best of my knowledge - this is not a custom my children have indulged in.
Thank you I will change it for you
thank you for letting me know
all the best .. Jack
I think this growing tangent about spaghetti that is heading towards Kevin Bacon is going to bury original comments not connected to my own about being a mod. I hope it can be ported over to someone's activity stream, rather than growing longer and even further off topic. Thanks folks!
Good question and thanks for reminding me to clarify my position with Duolingo. I'm a volunteer. I've added more info to my main personal comment above. :)
Oh Usagi ! You are so inspirational.
In so many manifold ways.
Yes - I find there is a lot of work that is done behind the scenes.
And when moderating in the Discussion forums, it is not something that I do not do just off the cuff.
I do research the situation, and and write reports and take notes. And work out if I need to submit something to allow other fellow moderators follow what it is I have put in my reports.
Some things of course are not documented. Though I always try to leave threads that can be picked up by another moderator. For this is a volunteer position. And I have many real life responsibilities, to enable food to be on the table of my family, and that we also function as a family unit.
I am a volunteer, here to serve this community.
I ask myself - before I press the post button when acting as a moderator - am I being honest to my soul. Am I being honest to this community and the objectives to make this a place that is safe and appropriate for everyone to learn a language.
And I seek to try to understand things from ... numerous perspectives. From the perspective and character of the person I am speaking with. And also from the perspective and experiences of the community that have engaged with the interactions of this person. Each and every one of you matter to me. You are precious thinking minds. And I try my best to create peace on the forums for the general community to be able to focus on language learning. Yet also to always have in my mind how important that another precious person and thinking mind is. Things will not be perfect for everyone. For that is not a realistic goal. To be part of a global community does require that certain things are not acceptable so that we as a community remain available to us as a wider community. Certain topics and behaviors are not acceptable in this environment.
This does mean ... I have to make decisions. And sometimes I need to make them on the fly. For all of this is also happening in real time. So - yes - my decisions are not always totally perfect - and regardless of how I react, it will often not be perfect for everyone involved. Yet I strive for it to as perfect as I can make it. While still acting to make a difference. And while I care deeply for the individual, ultimately it is the environment we share as a community that must take priority. And that this community is about providing a safe and welcoming and fun environment for us as a community to learn languages
Paramount is though, how I help the focus of this community - to be a caring and sharing community - to encourage each of you to be prepared to be kind to others ( or else to choose to not interact with others if you seek to be the opposite of tolerant and/or kind ) , so that we as as a community can focus on language learning. For our benefit as individuals, and for our wider community.
Everybody, please do not down vote this! Usagiboy is being nice in telling us about what moderators do, but now nobody can see it on the forums! I think it is interesting to learn about, so please don't ruin it for others. Thanks Usagiboy!
It looks as though this conversation has been hijacked by trolls. All we can really do is upvote and hopefully the mods (thanks you guys!) will delete their accounts (well, it's almost certainly one person with multiple accounts.)
So much work! I have always wondered what it is like for you moderators! I really appreciate all the time and effort that you put into helping others here on Duolingo. :)
Thanks! A lot of moderators are asleep right now. But, I hope they will add peeks into their own experiences too. Not all moderators do the same stuff. I hope one who cleans sentence discussions will post a pick of some of the gnarly forums they've cleaned. (I do a little cleaning, but, it's not my main focus. Some mods help keep those forums clean as their main task. I'm really grateful to them!)
I totally agree! It seems that the number of spams and useless posts is rising. :( It is great that there are moderators who keep them under control. I hope you have a lovely day! Or night?!
Ahhh how fun :) Well my day definitely includes some sort of snack unfortunately today, it is unhealthy ;)
And reading some good ol' books ;).
But especially today, I have nostalgia by watching some Chronicles of Narnia :D.
I'd love to see the other mod's comments and a lil bit of their day
(Edit: woops, I thought you had linked the books to the falling, but it was the next one. haha.)
There are certainly things that we aren't allowed to share with you "Ahem, sorry, but you'll need a level 5 Duo-clearance to see that information."
LOL that's hilarious since there are 5 categories of non-staff Duo users. xD
"Unfortunately, EpicPowerHero, I can't let you leave with this knowledge."
I'm glad there are people willing to dedicate themselves to hard work as you and the rest of the moderators do. I know that if I did something like that, I would fail miserably... So, thank you.
My respected Reena,
I can not in my honesty accept your statement that you would fail.
For I have known you also for some time.
Thank you for your participation in our language learning community.
And thank you for the contributions you make to benefit your language learning
and also that of the language learning of others in our community.