Over the years I have come across several instances where forum moderators are actually in cahouts with the internet trolls lurking on that forum, or in a few instances where they are bipolar enough to actually be a moderator with one login and a troll with another – both being the same person!
I don’t want to get into “he said – I said” examples or anything too specific on identifying the offending moerator/troll teams. Rather here is how you recongnize them and what to do about them.
First there is no such thing as an unbiased moderator. Doesn’t exist, never happens and is a fantasy.
So rather their bias falls into a fair and acknowledge bias and the wrongful bias that creates the moderator-troll.
Moderator bias is usually pretty obvious. When an inner clique of trolls are protected and anyone else is moderated, well it is easy.
Less obvious are the subtle slights where certain trolls are allowed full expression unrestrained and regular users are chastized or censored.
Recently I had a discussion “split” by a moderator, peeling off me last post to a long thread. Rather than posting that thread it appears it was trashed. Yet this moderator allows absolutely horrible troll activity to go on, and ignores (won’t even respond) to complaints.
The Moderator Names Sibyl
A while back I dealt with an absolute troll-fest where it turns out the moderator was actually behind many of the different troll identities! Seems the need to drive up hits & clicks (he was monetizing his forum with advertising) had cause him to lose any semblance of ethics.
In this case it wide spread practice by the forum owner (a highly monetized site that sells ads, books and clicks) throughout the moderators to use “proxy phantom IDs” to gang up on anyone/anything they didn’t like. Of course over time they sometimes got their multiple personalities mixed up, leaving the open track record that confirmed their misdeeds.
Secret Monkey Court Moderation
At another extremely monetized paid inner subscription forum I ran across moderators who would hold secret on-line enclaves to discipline or ban anyone who caused any risk to their money making machine.
Truth, facts, fair-play didn’t matter, they were in it for the hits, clicks and sales. Anything that got in way of that was supressed.
Complaining did get me a refund as well as scathing troll-a-grams from the website’s owner. He excused his feral moderators dirty deeds in every case.
What was more the case is this self-promoting self-proclaimed “expert” was an empty shirt, in most cases never having any experience (much less in depth expert experience) in what we would release a weekly podcast and blog about. Anyone who had that experience was a real threat to his game.
Recently a friend, a great guy who would give the shirt off his back to a stranger if they were in need, was “Permabanned” by a well know outdoors forum when a cranky moderator and his pack of trolls decided they didn’t like my friend’s attitude. Seems the truth really was something they wanted no part about. No dialog, discussion, just banned.
In each of these cases the forum owner and his nameless cronies would declare punishments based on input-less back room monkey court games.
There are endless variations of these games – in the case of the moderator with multiple personalities he/it/they even set up a troll website to keep alive their troll efforts.
What to do?
This is, not surprisingly, the easiest thing that is hard to do.
It involves three steps:
- Recognize the Moderator/Troll for what it is.
- Walk away.
- Stay away.
Nothing more complicated need ever waste a second of your time.
You have no mandate to save the world, call them out to the whole internet, or in any way stoop down to their level.
When you see a Moderator/Troll scenario, walk and stay away.
This is a hard path – it is a discipline to truly ignore those intent on hurting your feelings.
But anything less will feed their need for attention.
Again, when you see something bad at the core, move along and never come back.