I took a break last night. Now that I have more help, I needed a mental health day and to get some studying done, which has sadly fallen by the wayside in all of this. It’s been a really interesting read this morning (and some of last night, I couldn’t help myself ).
I’m really glad that this is being discussed and it’s remained generally civil. I’ve lived here coming up on three years and I’ve been a moderator for almost two of them. I love ELR. I have laughed and cried and raged with (and yes, sometimes at or about) the people and situations that have come up here. I’ve done my fair share of virtual hugging, playing, head shaking, eye rolling, and face-palming. I’ve been blessed and I’ve been frustrated. And through it all, my goal here has never wavered…to help. Help new people learn mixing, help old people find a new place, help spammers learn they don’t have a place, help silly people change their titles, help vendors get their “Vendors” thread started or post a giveaway, help people work through their differences. I’m obviously not perfect, and I sincerely apologize to anyone I’ve failed along the way, but my heart has and always will be as a servant of ELR.
Now, I’m a Libertarian in theory. Ideally, people would be capable of governing themselves and police (or politicians or moderators) wouldn’t be needed. But in practice, anarchy typically eventually devolves into chaos. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that some people will never be capable of self-moderation or self-governance. Those people exist in our world and, yes, on our forum—or at least they will. The rules are there because sometimes things need to be spelled out. As an “officer” of ELR, I need to be able to point to “the rules” and say, “This is what we at ELR are about, and this is what our forum looks like. If you are unable or unwilling to remain given this fact, then this is not the place for you.” And that is what has led us to this. We had rules, but they weren’t really rules they were guidelines. That worked three years ago when there were only 20 or so of us and we all kinda just got along and peacefully co-existed. That will never happen in a group of 100s or 1000s, and to hope for or expect it is foolish. Now things need to be a little more solid in order for me (and now the other moderators) to be able to effectively do our jobs.
So where does that leave me? What is my opinion on the matter? It’s this…I. don’t. care. Really, truly, I don’t. And not because I don’t care about you guys; I care more than many of you will likely ever know. This, for me, was never about WHAT the rules were, it was about having them in the first place and me knowing what they were. If the rule is “anything” is permissible (anything in quotes because of what I say in the last paragraph of this now incredibly lengthy post), then anything goes. If the rule is nothing worse than G-rated, then nothing goes. And this is not just for the people who are here now, but for the people who will come here in the future.
For the record, I’m also not suggesting the rules be numerous and every detail strictly defined in the most impressive of legalese. I realize that there will always be some room for interpretation and that aggressive restrictions would be stifling. Contrary to how it might appear sometimes, I am really not an authoritarian tyrant. Shades of grey will exist and where they don’t, people will find a way to blur the line. The problem occurs for me when there is no black or white at all by which to compare—when everything is muddled and indiscernible.
I answer first to Lars, because this is his site and second to the people of ELR, because that is what I chose when I agreed to be moderator and admin. The one thing I cannot and will not do, because I have to answer to myself at some point, too, is exist in chaos. Should the mods be fired and all rules completely thrown out the window (which is highly unlikely, I know, but I’ve seen it before), I would have to walk away. It would rip my heart to pieces to do it, but I’ve watched a similar ship sink once already—I can’t do it again. I care about ELR as a whole too much to hang out while it implodes.
So, whether Lars chooses what the rules are or he allows the majority to set the course, barring a total breakdown of order, I’ll continue doing my job to the utmost of my abilities. While I can’t promise I’ll be perfect, I promise I’ll always try to be open and fair.