Improving the moderator status
I've been asked if I wanted to be a moderator, which was fine with me, so here I am (even though my avatar doesn't appear green but who cares ^^).
I really like the fact that we can follow the active threads and delete comments. But I think that for the moderators to be really effective, we need a few more tools in our bag.
Here are a few suggestions :
One more tab (available only for moderators and Duolingo team of course) in the discussion section where moderators can discuss between themselves about the members causing troubles or about some kind of standards regarding when deleting and why deleting (even if Duolingo's guidelines are clear enough, they are a bit generic). Or any other topic related to moderators only.
Being able to delete threads as well as comments. There are a lot of people confusing the discussion section with their stream (i.e posting threads like "Hi, how are you ?"), and it can quickly "pollute" the whole forum. Or maybe create a "trash" section where all threads are sent when deleted by moderators, with a "restore" option", so mistakes can be repaired :P.
Being able to give "warnings" to members. When the amount of warnings reach a threshold, a mail is sent to Duolingo's team to make a decision about the member (or anything like this).
Being able to move threads from section to section.
That's all I have in mind at the moment. Please consider these are only suggestions, feel free to give your opinion about this list.
Not sure it's a good idea for them to be delegating this responsibility to various users, even trusted ones. My experience with this kind of setup on other websites is that it leads to different mods deleting based on their own personal ideas about what's acceptable or not within their own interpretation of the guidelines, and mods on power trips. There's no consistency and posts are sometimes even deleted just for offending a particular moderator. Granted, those other websites were usually news and political sites with lots of arguments and rudeness occurring, but still.
That's why I'm asking about a way for moderators to agree on the "limits" we would set for a post to be deleted. It's to avoid different ways of moderating (as much as possible of course). As for the power trips, Duolingo's team is here to keep an eye on us, don't think that we will be able to do as we please ^^.
I think Duolingo should investigate the many forum/discussion packages out there and pick one. Many meet all your suggestions.
Why re-invent the wheel? Why not invest as many resources as possible into being/staying the best language learning platform?
They should concentrate their resources on what we all want - Welsh as the next language;)
I agree the community has a lot to offer. Decent forum software will allow people to communicate more easily, enhancing the value the community brings. Why write it when you can take a package off the shelf?
We continually see feature requests for Discussions that have been implemented for a long time in many forum packages. Trivial matters like finding threads you have commented on or followed. Or a moderator system.
I'd be particularly interested in being able to move threads to a different section. People often use the language forums for other purposes. Moreover, it would be even more effective if the user who posted in the wrong section in the 1st place would be notified that his post got moved from, for instance, Portuguese to General or Troubleshooting. That way, in the long run, people would make that mistake less often, and save moderators' time doing that.
Sometimes, there's a discussion that is just gobbledegook, or no question at all, so deleting whole discussions would be of use.
On another point, I agree with Lenkvist, it's better to have a thorough set of guidelines than wasting time discussing it with other mods who might even have different standards than those wished by Duo staff to be enforced. For example, something about which I'm not too sure: if I open a discussion while doing an exercise, and there's no abusive content, just some jokes or irrelevant comments or lamenting about lost hearts, should I delete them? (I did). If I recall correctly, there's nothing in the guidelines to inform that kind of decision.
If I understand correctly, moderators are a new introduction to the site. I appreciate the fact that you share your thoughts with the community, but it might be better to first allow the community to give their thoughts on the current moderator model before opening discussions about extending moderators' tools.
With "opening discussions" I didn't mean to say opening new discussion threads, sorry if that was unclear. I'm perfectly fine with continuing the discussion here, I was just concerned that people could be confused to see a topic about improving moderator status when moderators haven't been formally introduced yet.
Yeah well, I was a bit surprised not to see any thread on the matter indeed, but I didn't think I would be the first to talk about this.
I wasn't talking about "increasing" the moderator status, a moderator is not a force or anything like that, they are people like you and me. It's just some improvements that might actually made moderators a lot more useful to the community than simply deleting comments.
Maybe the fact that a moderator is making these suggestions won't be very appreciated, but whatever, I'm ready for the storm coming up ^^.
I changed "increasing" into "improving". I first wanted to say something different, but I couldn't find the right phrase. Please don't pick my sentences apart like that, I meant the same as you.
You also shouldn't think that your suggestions aren't appreciated because you are a moderator as moderators are selected for being helpful users. My only reason for addressing you as a moderator would be to remind you that you are a representative of a group of people who are, like you said, people like you and me who have been asked to lead by example. My comment wasn't an argument against any of the suggestions you made, but more about how this topic could be received.
I think that there is little point in trying to win an argument as we were talking about two different things. Please let me know when you would still like to know my opinion on any of your individual suggestions.
Well, I think we both misunderstood each other then. I don't feel like I'm trying to win anything, I'm just explaining what I meant by this thread. I don't mind having any suggestion concerning this topic, that's why I made this thread, so please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter if you feel like it.
Hi everyone- we're in the very early stages of trying out a community moderator program. Adding more tools and communication mechanisms for moderators is something we are absolutely working on and we have the basics. We've been working on defining our Community Guidelines, which you can read here: http://duolingo.com/#/guidelines. These are meant to shed light on what this language learning community is all about. We are really inspired by this community of language learners and see so many amazing people contributing that we think could really help grow this language learning conversation (anyone from an expert in Spanish from Mexico who loves Duolingo and likes helping welcome new members to a passionate German teacher from the US that enjoys sharing tips in the forum). We'll be sharing more about the community mod program as it grows. Thanks for your thoughts, and as always, we're all ears on feedback.
Well a majority of users surely don't think they need a moderator, even those who do, so that might not help ^^. The purpose of a moderator (like in any other website by the way) is to make sure Duolingo stays a website where people can discuss freely while not being disturbed by any kind of aggressive, commercial, hateful, obscene, or off-topic behaviors.
Although I still think that it would be best to first allow moderators to find out how well they can function with their current tools, I'm willing to give my view on your suggestions. Some of your suggestions seem to stem from an uncertainty about how to handle situations. Instead of introducing a warning system, it might be better to have clear guidelines about which kind of behaviour should be immediately reported and which comments don't require any direct action.
I'm also not sure if moderators would need a separate discussion section. A lot of moderators have been selected for their helpfulness and I don't think that it would be healthy to have discussions about members who cause problems as that could create an atmosphere of suspicion. I therefore think that issues with members should be reported directly to staff to allow them to investigate. I do think that moderators' opinions could be of value when it comes to setting standards, but those opinions could also be obtained via e-mail enquiry or perhaps even from public discussions like this one.
I must admit that I expected moderators to be able to delete discussions. That does indeed seem to limit their influence as some discussions are, like you said, only random chit-chat. Still, I think that the ability to delete comments can be effective, particularly in language discussions where the main discussion is a sentence. Instead of seeing limitations, you could also say that moderators improve the website on a smaller scale by handling the flow of individual discussions. Maybe we could first see how things work when moderators report offensive discussions to staff members in the same way that they report other offensive behaviour. Being able to move discussions might be too closely related to deleting discussions, but allowing moderators to move discussions would be useful if misplaced discussions are that big of an issue.
You earlier expressed your concerns that I gave the image of the moderator as a force. My actual intention is the opposite; I want to focus on moderators as helpful people as that aspect seems to drown in discussions about tools and responsibilities. You've been selected for being particularly helpful and I don't think that you should worry too much about adapting to a new role. You were already able to be helpful without moderator tools so I think you should just continue to use the website as you previously did. If there are any particular issues that need to be solved then I'm sure that the staff will think about how moderators could be of help. Thanks for your thoughts though, it is interesting to see people's different ideas about what a moderator should be.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment! We'll have better reporting and moderation tools soon. Reporting abusive behavior is not something that happens via the discussion threads by moderators. They are to be, as you say, reported directly to our team. As you mention, moderators #1 goal is to be helpful to others in the community. Ideas and suggestions on the current moderator tools should also be sent directly to our team by the moderators. We're at the beginning stages, so there's a lot to come. Thanks for your thoughts. Appreciate it.