The Joys and Pains of Moderation

 Posted by on 30 May 2002 at 1:03 pm  Uncategorized
May 302002

Overall, I’ve been having fun administering Nathaniel Branden’s new discussion forum on Yahoo Groups. It’s working much better than the old board, as I can now kick off people who are abusive. (That’s the extent of the moderation.)

But today in particular, people started clamoring for per-message moderation, starting with this message by Ray Bronski. Unfortunately, personal attacks on my motives and competence were part of the package. It was infuriating.

I suspect that this whole issue came up solely due to some rather personal and heated arguments between some of these pro-moderation people and Monica Pignotti regarding Thought Field Therapy. Monica was very forcefully arguing for the effectiveness of the therapy, when some people started attacking her personally. (She defended herself well, so I didn’t jump in, although I probably should have.) These people saw TFT as irrelevant to the discussion of Nathaniel’s work, even though he uses TFT in his practice and specifically invited Monica to the group to talk about TFT. (Some of them, I gather, didn’t know that NB uses TFT.)

So the pro-moderation crowd wanted to discuss something other than TFT, like self-esteem. That’s all well and good. But none of them actually posted anything on such subjects that was of sufficient interest to the group to start a discussion. And so suddenly they were clamoring for moderation, presumably so that TFT posts would be banned. It was silly.

If it was my list, rather than Nathaniel’s, I would have told these people to get lost, but probably not so nicely. Instead I posted two messages (one and two) arguing against per-message moderation. I also argued that people ought to take responsibility for creating discussions on the list of interest to them. Well, that didn’t seem to help. But finally Nathaniel chimed in with four messages, in support of exactly those two points. It seems that the pro-moderation crowd has been quieted. Thank goodness. Nothing like an argument from an authority!

I really wonder sometimes about people who are deeply interested in discussing self-help. Perhaps I came into my adult life too well-adjusted to understand the desire to speak about one’s own personal growth experiences. Perhaps I am too intellectually inclined. Perhaps I value my own privacy too much. Perhaps I’m not empathetic enough. Perhaps I’m too reason-oriented rather than emotion-oriented. Perhaps I’m just thick-skinned when it comes to heated intellectual debate. Perhaps Paul has been secretly brainwashing me against self-help psychology while I’m asleep. Whatever the reason, I just can’t relate.

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