Since I've been asked, I'll post up a quick reference guide to what the different functions of ministry are. We instituted a checks and balances sort of system at Worthy, so that no one person or persons have complete authority.
Worthy Steward -- That's me -- and why do I call myself a Steward. It's merely because I'm a steward of the Lord's ministry. It's not "my" ministry -- and not "my" work. It's the Lord's work!
Worthy Servants -- Those are Forum Moderators, who check reported posts, send PM's to keep the peace so to speak, and try to keep this "experiment " running smoothly!
Worthy Chat Moderators -- Those are Chat Moderators, who keep Worthy Chat clean, and help "steer" chat.
Worthy Watchman -- These are a group of "oversight" individuals, whose role is NOT to "moderate" but a means of checks and balances to the different moderators. When things come up -- they are responsible to review Reported Posts, Moderator actions / inactions, and even comment as to "why" things were handled the way they were.
So in essence, the moderation team is a group of individuals who "volunteer" their time, and often get criticized no matter what they do! Either they are moderating too heavily, not moderating too much, why is this "false" doctrine allowed to be discussed, etc. are some of the common complaints I've heard over the 15+ years we've run Worthy! It really doesn't change over the years -- just the members. Many people don't realize how much turnover there is on forum boards! I'm not sure how many different moderating teams we've gone through -- but it's significant!
Past Moderation Style
We've always like to keep a clean board. and in the past we removed, hid, and deleted harmful posts. However, when we do so, many people NEVER see how much moderating is being done behind the scenes! How many posts are "cleaned up"? The moderators have a few options at this point. First, we'll send a Private Message, trying to "steer" people to what is and what is not acceptable. If this doesn't work, then we will place individuals on "Moderator Review" for a certain period of time. At this point, most of those individuals placed on Moderator Review never come back. What most people do not realize is that "Moderator Review" is the last thing we really want to do as moderators -- because it increases our workload! So what is changed?
Changes in Moderation
We are simply not "cleaning" up the board any longer. If someone personally attacks someone, then we will simply leave the attack on the board -- EDIT the post -- leaving it intact, but commenting on the post that we as the moderating team do not feel this is appropriate, and the steps we've taken to fix the problem. We'll send a Private Message to the offender, issue a Moderation point, and ban the person from the thread -- ONLY FROM THE THREAD -- not from the forums! Just the thread itself! How I believe this will help in the long run?
1st -- People will actually begin to see how much "moderating" is being done "openly"!
2nd -- By having posts NEVER hidden -- it'll be easy to refer to "past" infractions as a means of "instructing, and correcting".
3rd -- Hopefully people will change their posting styles!
People always try to "win a debate"! In doing so, they forget that sometimes you win -- by laying down the fight for ANOTHER time! Usually in the "heat of battle" a nasty thing appears -- PRIDE! Do you not know that "pride is the source of all contentions!" (Proverbs 13:10a KJV Only by pride cometh contention) If you're truly wanting to change someone's mind -- you have to be CAREFUL not to offend. Why? As Proverbs 18:19 says, "A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle." Remember the instruction that Paul gave to Timothy written in 2 Timothy 2:23-26,
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
The hardest part of this passage is being "kind to everyone" and "patiently enduring evil!" If the first reaction is to trade insult for insult -- then you're failing at being an instructor of the Word! Notice how it concludes -- that God opens their hearts to the TRUTH -- it's not us -- it's the work of God! However, we can do a pretty good job of "hindering" someone coming to the knowledge of the truth by purposely "offending" them! Forgetting by offending them -- you're actually HINDERING the means by which someone comes to the truth.
If you have any thoughts, any questions, we're all about transparency -- so ask away!
Your brother in the Lord with much agape love,