It's time to post my opinion on the state of things, which is of course valid, because the deadline of the evaluation hasn't passed yet.
Earlier today the mod team has made the decision to lock The Moderator Thread with this note:
As before, this thread has been an experiment unlike any other on the site. However, after some considerable discussion with other moderators, the mods agree that The Moderator Thread has run its course. Its benefits, as with previous mod threads, just do not exist anymore.
For the most part it's a poorly reasoned explanation. I'll address why:
1) If there had really been a notable number of attacks on the mod team, then The Moderator Thread would have been filled with moderations for users who did not respect the guidelines of the thread. There's a disconnect between what 'attack' means and what it is interpreted as by the mod team. When unpleasant questions are already considered attacks, it explains both why the mod team experienced grief, yet could not make the step to moderate people who caused said grief.
2) The Moderator Thread's primary purpose was never about getting in touch with banned users. It was about general questions regarding moderation including specific examples to determine what is still okay and what is crossing the line, quick feedback regarding how strict or lenient the current approach was, and suggestions for how to deal with new problems when they arose. It being a public thread allowed anyone with interest to chime in which in turn allowed the mod team to better gauge the climate of the forum as a whole.
3) Backseat moderating is portrayed as inherently bad here, but moderators tend to end up in their own bubble where they don't know how to connect to the average user anymore.
CGI-Quality's explanation states that it is not a full list, but it hardly qualifies as a list to begin with. It barely touches on things in the most general manner and does not provide any concrete examples of what went wrong and which incidents in particular fueled the decision to lock. It's just a general aversion to having a Moderator Thread.
What had happened most recently in the Moderator Thread was reduced transparency by the head mod himself, followed by inquiries why everything has to be discussed behind the scenes all of a sudden. Shutting down the thread is the next step in reducing transparency. A preceding step to reduce transparency was the changed coding for locked threads that made them vanish from Forum Buddies, so that people couldn't see how the mod team actually handled threads that got out of hand. Commonly, the bloated threads with plenty of moderable posts got simply locked without consequences for any offenders. That made the whole thing look like a cover-up act to me; the mod team doesn't do a proper job, but nobody will know about it.
Likewise, taking things to PM in the Moderator Thread came across as an effort to sweep things under the rug more easily, and locking the thread as a whole will make that even easier in the future. It should be obvious to everyone that in any private conversation, it will be the word of a mod against the word of a regular user, with the mod having the convenient option to declare that they are right because they are the mod.
One positive thing that The Moderator Thread always accomplished is give the perception that the mod team and the community are on the same level. The mod team had the executive power, but the community could still act as a controlling body to keep the mod team down to Earth, preventing outright dictatorships like on comparable websites (NeoGAF, ResetEra).
So to answer the questions in the original post of this thread, you aren't doing well with this recent move. It's not good this way. You are pushing in a direction where you are free to do whatever you want, whether it is right or wrong. You are giving all the power in your own hands, you are free to sweep anything under the rug if you feel to do so, and that is concerning for a mod team that has already shown signs to disregard users for asking unpleasant questions, whether that was by way of diplomatic token responses that didn't say anything of substance, attempts to divert from the subject at hand or outright ignoring people's posts.
I do not have the same faith in this mod team as I had in Smeags's team, that's why this time locking the mod thread is a serious problem. Also, the timing of the lock could almost not be more convenient. You run an evaluation survey, hopefully collect good grades, lock The Moderator Thread and then pretend for a year that the mod team has been doing great because the biggest decision you made in a long time just so happened to be right after the community provided you with feedback. But I am actually leaning strongly towards plain coincidence rather than a sinister plan here.
I see that I still have 20 minutes left until the deadline, but I think I've said what I wanted to say.
Actually, if The Moderator Thread is such a burden, then simply let it be handled by the few mods who can entertain the idea of talking to the community. You don't need to control absolutely everything, CGI-Quality, and by now it's abundantly clear that you'd rather not talk to people in public about the thought processes that went into moderations.Last edited by RolStoppable - on 15 August 2020