The hand you bite today…

10 03 2010

About ten years ago or so I was a chat room moderator for AOL.  About the only nice perk was a comped AOL account and once in a while a free AOL gift of the month, but other than that the only real perk was the feeling that you were making a difference.  I really wasn’t though.  As a chat room moderator we served fairly much as the big brother that no one does anything bad in front of.  Once you leave the scene though, the instant messages would flood in – he’s at it again.  We couldn’t log chat rooms we weren’t in and on the off chance we caught someone in the act, the only tool we had was the ability to silence them and kick them out of the room.

About three years ago I thought I would apply to moderate a message board I frequent and I was accepted and I still do moderate it.  The perks are less than noteworthy, the downside is checking links and finding grotesque images of meatspin or worse, or even viral links – though I’ve only had the latter happen twice.  Yet, I still have that small feeling that I am serving a greater benefit and the upswing is that it isn’t a real time chat where people can straighten up their act once you enter the room.  What they post is there and logged and you have the ability to remove it and move on to a normal conversation.  And the tools of moderating a forum are far better than chat modding ever was.

What I dislike though is the association.  On AOL I had an assigned moderator name, not at all connected with my regular AOL name.  That meant I could carry on, business as usual, reading and typing my opinions as they came, with little worry of micro-scrutiny of my adherence to the rules.  Not that I would intentionally break them, but rules are often written with vague blanket statements in order to permit some decisive action for those who tip toe along that thin line between right and wrong.  That isn’t the case as a board moderator for this particular forum.  Initially I tried to continue only using my ghost writer name, the user name I could log into for posts from the heart and mind, but over time it became too much of a pain to juggle the two accounts and I ultimately chose to abandon the account and stick with the moderating one.  The trouble is the association, the recognition…the deliberate screening of every post because of the known status as a moderator.  I have on so many occasions wanted to offer my vocal retort to the ones who think me harsh or biased or selective.  But I cannot.  I have to forge onward with an ignorance to their statements, not giving them the treatment they justly deserve and that irks me.

As I sit here this moment, biting firmly into my tongue to prevent my fingers from typing there what I wish and instead typing here only the brim of my frustration – I debate if this is really worth it.




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