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Moderating Online e-Discussion Groups

by Catgic / February 26, 2006 9:55 PM PST

Gathered CNETizens:

Let me share a report by Mauri P. Collin, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA and Zane L. Berge, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD with the SE Forum. The study report is entitled Moderating Online Electronic Discussion Groups

The abstract to the paper is:

Abstract:
This research is a pilot study to begin a comprehensive study of electronic discussion group (EDG) moderators and their perceptions of their roles, tasks, and responsibilities. The questions explored revolve around EDG moderators' conceptions of their roles, their rationale for moderating or not moderating discussion on their mailing lists, where they learned their craft, and where moderating lists fits within the context of their lives. With such descriptions of the tasks and roles of practicing EDG moderators, better training could be developed for those wishing to function effectively as on-line discussion facilitators and moderators as part of their on-line teaching. Findings included indicators of the roles of moderators acting at different times and for different lists as a filter, firefighter, facilitator, administrator, editor, promoter, expert, helper, participant, and marketer. The moderators responding to this survey cited reasons an EDG should be moderated as keeping the signal-to-noise ration high; keeping the discussion focused within the topic of the list's mission; keeping down ''flames;'' and digesting/editing posts. Most learned to moderate by watching others perform those functions--rather like apprentices, and either volunteered to be a list moderator, were invited to be, or started their own lists. They cited the reasons they moderate as including being work related, part of their leisure activity or both work and leisure activity.

The study report is a good and timely read that has some findings of interest. Let me extract at few for you here:

Demographics of e-Moderators:

68 % were either students, staff, administrators or faculty at academic institutions (some combined two or more of the above roles);
8.2 % were from business,
5.5 % from industry,
4.1 % from government,
1.4 % were self-employed and
12.3 % did not respond.

Length of Time Moderating:

30.1 % were new, with six months or less of experience;
6.5 % with 6 months to 1 year of experience;
28.7 % had from 1-2 years experience;
15.1 % from 2-3 years;
16.5 % had 3-4 years; and
6.8 % had five or more years of experience.

Gender, age and academic degree data was not collected in the study, but based on the implied gender of the respondents names, it is estimated that less than two percent of the respondents were female.

Other items such as Criteria for Moderation are discussed. One noteworthy item from the study is on Moderator Filtering

Filtering should be on the basis of specific, explicit criteria. These criteria should be set out in advance, and should be drawn up in association with the group?s readership

The complete study report may be viewed at:

http://www.emoderators.com/moderators/sur_aera97.html

Enjoy?JP The Cat{gic} Cool

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Tht study means nothing
by TONI H / February 26, 2006 10:25 PM PST

when you consider the fact that every Forum is owned privately by a COMPANY that sets down the rules of what their Moderators should do. THAT'S the only thing that counts.

TONI

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To add.....
by Angeline Booher / February 26, 2006 11:17 PM PST

As you posted the reference in this forum, it may interest you to know that 2 of the SE moderators have at least 12 years each experience, 3 have at least 5, and the 2 newest ones have been active contributing members for at least 6 years.

Filtering should be on the basis of specific, explicit criteria. These criteria should be set out in advance, and should be drawn up in association with the group?s readership.

These are set forth in the Terms of Service. Those who register indicate that they have read them. For those who did not read them at registration, they are always accessible on the left of the page under "Forum Information" by clicking on "Forum Policies".

As Toni said, these are set by the company, CNet.

Angeline
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email
semods4@yahoo.com

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RE: Moderator Experience Overview Is A Valuable Input
by Catgic / February 27, 2006 1:42 AM PST
In reply to: To add.....

Hello Angeline,

Nashville?s weather forecast for today is Cloudy, Hi 60

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