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I think the quality of the forum is very good and has become excellent in recent months. There are almost no personal attacks, trolling, spamming, flaming and all those other terms of the trade. Discussion is informed and at a reasonably high level but not to high as to scare off those of us who aren't intellectuals. In short all things are quite well.

I think that the one problem is that discussions tend to get off topic. Once a thread goes becomes x posts long it invariably turns into something else. Plus the same discussion often takes place in multiple threads (I think I've seen KK debate the merits of UN resolution 1441 in about five different threads, these arguments are informative but perhaps they could be confined to one or two threads for maximum effect). I was looking for an argument we were having on the wheat board and couldn't find it anywhere until I played with the search function long enough. TOday BBM said

People can do what they want when it comes to sex toys, but the post topic, is Ralph Klien

which perhaps shows just how bad it can get (and I was involved in the discussion not passing any blame). Sort of like a game of telephone start with Ralph Klien and end up with dildos. :)

Ideally, everyone would stick to the thread topic but this is not an ideal world we live in. Therefore I purpose some of the veteran posters (say 500+ posts) be given limited moderation duties if they are willing and able to do so regularily.

Therse duties would be limited to splitting, combining and closing threads for the purpose of keeping them on topic, avoiding duplication and in the correct sub forum. So for example the Klien thread would simply have the posts regarding sex toys (or rather legistating morality in a democracy) spit from the Klien thread to a new thread where both discussions could continue.

All admonoshing of posters for whatever reason/rule violation and editing of posts for same reason would be left to the indomitable Greg. Moderators would be restricted to either commenting in the forum or PMing the aforementioned Greg if they had an itching need to do so (but they would have no responsibility for such).

It sounds like a small thing but I think it would really make it easier to either look up arguments on whatever topics are here and to contibute to those arguments if they have been idle for any length of time and that this would make a big difference. That way when you read the thread on Klien you would see nothing but posts about Klien and if you wanted to see the arguments about making sex toys illegal there would be a thread with that in the title.

It would also make MLW a more valuable resource for Guests (and the decision makers August says read these forums, however many there may or may not be :) ) as it would be more what you see is what you get instead of 7 different arguments in 13 pages of thread or 1 argument spead of four different threads.

Agree, disagree?

-Idealist

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Allowing volunteer moderators is not a bad idea, but one that isn't likely to happen here at Maple Leaf Web. The reason I want to avoid volunteer moderators is because a moderator should not be directly involved in any of the discussions on these forums. If I did allow some of the "veteran posters" to perform some administrative tasks around here, they might inadvertently project some bias onto the discussions.

I've always tried very hard to keep this forum non-partisan and by allowing volunteers to control certain aspects of this forum, I would be exposing this forum to undue pressures. I am not saying that some of you couldn't avoid the temptation of partisanship and raise above the level of dirty politics - I am sure some of you could - but that I am unwilling to experiment at all with this concept.

However idealisttotheend, you do have a good point about threads going off topic. That's an issue that must be addressed if we are to keep the quality of this forum discussions high. I think the best way to tackle this issue is to follow this simple rule:

It's everyone's responsibility to keep the quality of the forums discussions at a high level. Therefore, if you see someone going off topic or interrupting a thread, politely ask that person to start a new thread and invite others to join him or her in the new thread. If the person continues to post off-topic posts, then report the post to me and completely ignore anything the off-topic poster posts. I will then deal with the situation appropriately.

Personally, I think that we can all monitor and moderate the discussions (through the method described above) without having any special privileges. That way we can leave those tough decisions to me - besides, that's why they pay me the big bucks ;)

Cheers,

Greg

Admin

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