Forums – Moderation or Not?

While speaking last night on Burnin it Down, I brought up something that I have had more time to think about. Chris asked me why more firefighters weren’t embracing social media. I stated that I felt firefighters were embracing blogs…but maybe not other forms like twitter and facebook.

I would like to say that maybe I was wrong about the blogs.

I do feel as though more firefighters need to embrace social media. More departments do to.

However, this post is about why they aren’t. I stated on the show that maybe some firefighters were shell shocked from sites like forums and The Watchdesk. forums

Firehouse forums were originally very widely used and respected. Then came the idiots who ruined it. There was moderation to a point. After a while more idiots joined in and more moderation was necessary. The moderation needed to keep the forums civil got to a point where the moderators were spending too much time moderating (I am pretty sure they were also the webteam for the site).

In the end the forums lagged and many of the biggest names on there left.

Was the moderation necessary? Was it Censorship?

The WatchDesk

The Watchdesk has been a completely different animal. They have moderators too but the site is very loosely watched over. Some say it is the truth from the boots on the ground. I know for a fact that few would say what they type being an anonymous username. Most of the moderation I see is when people don’t follow the rules…not really what they say.

Is it moderation? Is it Censorship?

Some people say that moderation is censorship and that any form of moderation or censorship is bad. They think that whatever people want to say should be allowed, accepted, and posted. Someone made the comment that a forum should be totally uninhibited and not moderated or censored at all. Your mother, wife, and grandmother are fair game.

Just ask Dave Statter about moderating. He has gone through comments that just shouldn’t be printed. However, he is very light at moderation and a lot of comments that might not be print worthy are online. This is his way of appealing to the masses. I am not saying it is right or wrong. Just ask me…I know all about moderating comments on a blog…I was nearly hung at a Union meeting for comments that others made on a blog I run. Some of the comments made by some who were going to do the hanging. I was responsible because I did or didn’t allow the comments. It is a tangled web for sure!

So I ask you. Do you think that forums/blogs should be moderated or not. Do you view moderation as censorship?

There is a whole lot more to this discussion I might add in the future. Give me your thoughts on this ideal first though.