Call in the Guards — errr, Mods!

Portugese Guard

Standing Guard at the Memorial Near the Belen Tower in Lisbon, Portugal

Chat Trouble Afoot

In the wee hours of the morning at Justin.tv today, things turned particularly ugly with chatters. One of the regulars, a chatter who seems to have captured Justin’s eye got into the thick of it and posted her thoughts on what happened. I felt it necessary to post my own entry to Hamsterwatch’s blog and thought I’d add it to my own Justin.tv rantings. It seems that things are off course and need help finding their way in the JTV chat rooms, specifically, Peanut Gallery 1.

Here is my reply to one of the other regulars, Hamsterwatch’s — posting:

I agree with Miz’s comments, 100%. I’ve been around this crazy chat world for a long time and have worked in the industry not only in customer service, but more relative to this blog response, I managed the enforcement of the Terms of Service for a large internet service provider. I know from experience that without clearly defined black and white rules there will be nothing but anarchy. Having vague guidelines creates an environment of total subjectivity. A world in which someone may wake up one day in a good mood and feel that something is totally acceptable today, and have a bad night and wake up and feel that the same comment is unacceptable tomorrow.

Best Practices for Moderators

No moderator should have to determine if something is unacceptable. Moderators should have a set of guidelines that can be followed to take that burden off his or her shoulders.

Moderators and Justin.tv viewers need to know what constitutes compliance with the rules that are posted on the site. Pasted below:

Chat Rules: Don’t spam, don’t post people’s numbers or threaten their death, and don’t scream obscenities.

Simple rules, but they need definition — What exactly does screaming obscenities mean? If I write a vulgarity in uppercase letters I may be banned, but if I write it in lower case it’s not considered screaming? What is an obscenity in J.TV world? A single word and I don’t get banned, a word with adjectives wrapped around a name and I’m banned? What is spam? The same word used more than a specific number of times, or is it a number of lines being sent in a certain period of time? Or, perhaps, as it seemed to be the case last night, is it a specific word that some find offensive, while others think humorous to throw around? There are many more questions I could pose here, but you get the point.

Guards from Behind

The changing of the Guards at the Casa Rosada — Buenos Aires, Argentina 2005

Are Volnteer Mods the Right Way to Go?

In my opinion, and I realize no one asked for it, is that having volunteer moderators is NOT the way to go. I’ve seen it before, it doesn’t take long for someone to feel that they are one of “the cool kids” and have the authority that can wield them some kind of digital power to lord over others. Authority or empowerment, that for some reason they do not have in their real life and so they exploit the new found power in chat. You’ve seen this before — in elementary and high school.

I am not going to debate or suggest who may have been right or wrong, polite or rude, in compliance with the rules, or out of bounds last night in Peanut Gallery 1, but will offer some sage old wisdom. There is so much more in the world to worry about today rather than who said what to whom and who should be allowed to say what to whom on a website. This is a world in which someone may wake up one day in a good mood and feel that something is totally acceptable today, and wake up after a bad night in a horrible mood and feel that the same comment is unacceptable tomorrow. In a moderated chat room environment, it’s The World According to Mod.

No moderator should have to determine if something is unacceptable. He/she should have a set of guidelines that can be followed to take that burden off his or her shoulders so that they can intelligently, reasonably, and most of all, fairly handle the responsibility entrusted to them. Moderators and chatters need to know what constitutes compliance with the rules.
Although to those of us that have found ourselves embracing this new technology/entertainment, it may appear to be is The Next Big Thing, but most of the world stands with open jaw and says — huh? Justin dot what?

Globalization Has Come to Chat

The world may be flat, according to renowned New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, but it’s still enormous in physical size and we have people coming into these chat rooms from places many can’t pronounce or pin point on a map, yet we are wrapped up worrying about words that are being strewn around in a chat room that seems to average no more than 300 chatters during peak times. At times it’s almost impossible to keep up with the speed of light chat that scrolls across the screen, no less see all the inane, often ridiculous and juvenile banter that ensues anytime you tune in — day or night. Somehow however, at the end of the day, someone always seems to be affected, and not always in a positive way.

It’s television people. If you don’t like what you are watching, either turn the channel or turn it off. I don’t see anyone twisting your arm.
Posted by Justopia on Monday, April 30, 2007 at 5:38 PM

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