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RationalWiki:All things in moderation

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RationalWiki
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RationalMedia Foundation (RMF)
Moderation
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This page is to describe the function and role of Rationalwiki's moderators, and perhaps for those mods to post the results of issues brought to their attention. Please use the associated talk page if you wish to bring something to the moderators' attention. It's linked on the sidebar as the "mod noticeboard" if you feel the need to check it regularly.

Moderators are elected and serve a year term.

Role

Functions

  • The main function of the moderator is to monitor conflicts and to use their tools to keep discussions from veering off in directions that are harmful to the community and the site.
  • The second function of the moderators is to help boot-strap certain policies or procedures that we struggle with. For example, a moderator can fill in the gap to decide how to vote for something, how long does a vote lasts, when does it pass or fail, or what should even be voted on. There is no way to address these issues without some people having the power to set a certain amount of basic policy.

Moderators, in consultation with the community and each other, can help develop a structure of procedures for running the site by proposing policies and votes.

Tools

  • The primary tool given to moderators is the authority to act on their own volition to deal with problems the site may encounter. Moderators are allowed to take actions to curb destructive conduct or discourse and those actions should not be undone by non-moderators.
  • The main technical tools for moderators (that sysops do not have) are: the ability to lock a page so that no one but moderators can edit it; the ability to change all user rights (this includes access to the "sysoprevoke" user group, to prevent sysopping in the face of continual rights abuse, pending a community vote); and the ability to hide revisions from everyone. This is an attempted solution to the wheel warring we always get into.

Philosophy

The mantra of the moderator is to do as little as possible to meet the responsibility of their position. If a brief note on a talk page asking a user to tone something down will suffice, then that’s all that should be used. Maybe a 2-hour lock on a talk page that's gone out of control would suffice. If a block is needed it shouldn’t be for longer than a few hours, a day at the most. A light touch. The moderators' job is not to remove people or censure them, but to keep the vitriol in our discourse to appropriate levels.

As for filling in policy issues, moderators should view their actions as boot-strapping, not issuing orders from on high. What is the least amount of policy that needs to just be declared, in order to move forward? Perhaps declaring a vote is all that is needed, for example.

Permanent removal of rights or censure

Any action that will be permanent or long term, such as rights removal, blocking or censure, should still be handled by the larger community. Moderators can help establish the rules of discussion, and the structure for arriving at a decision, but it should still be the community that is empowered to act on long term issues both in dealing with our fellow community members and site policy.

Elections

See the main article on this topic: RationalWiki:Moderator elections