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Questions, comments, concerns about AVEN elections


Which of these reasons for missing elections taking place apply to you?  

56 members have voted

  1. 1. Which of these reasons for missing elections taking place apply to you?

    • Banner blindness (not noticing the banners for elections)
      16
    • Election Nomination Threads not being visible
      3
    • Not knowing of any election taking place
      18
    • None, I'm generally aware of elections taking place
      27
    • Other
      9
  2. 2. Which of these reasons for not wanting to run for a moderator position apply to you?

    • Elections fatigue (too frequent elections, especially as each one runs for several weeks)
      6
    • Forums bundled in a way that puts off running
      6
    • Not enough spare time to moderate a forum
      34
    • Not wanting to be a part of the moderator team
      20
    • Not interested in being a moderator in general
      21
    • Not wanting to support the AVEN community
      3
    • Too much uncertainty in what to expect, not enough information about what a moderator position entails
      11
    • Wanting to run but not qualified
      7
    • Feeling like there will be too many expectations and responsibilities
      25
    • Other (feel free to comment or PM)
      10
  3. 3. What is a turn off for you for the election process itself?

    • No information given about what a modding position entails unless you ask
      14
    • Nominating yourself
      8
    • Making a bio
      13
    • Campaigning and the Q&A
      23
    • The vote
      7
    • It's time consuming
      21
    • Other (feel free to comment or PM)
      11


Recommended Posts

Hello members.

 

You might be aware that we hold regular elections for moderator positions. However, we've noticed that there seem to be fewer members putting themselves forward to run in these elections, despite the fact that our membership is always growing.

 

We'd love to know if there's a reason you don't fancy running for mod? Is there anything specific putting you off? It might be we have an answer that would make it possible for you. We've also put up a small poll that gives some reasons we can think of, but feel free to comment below!

 

Or is there anything we can do to encourage you to run?

 

The admods will happily answer your questions about elections, modding or anything related in this thread, as well as take in any constructive criticism you have. If you don't want to share your reasons or concerns here, on the open board, you can also PM an admod, or any of the ones listed on our staff page.

 

We want a strong admod team moderating AVEN and we'd love to get your input into how we can make sure that there is a wide and strong set of choices for AVEN to vote in as mods.

 

Thank you on behalf of the admod team,

Kelly

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I'd say the single biggest reason putting me off is what feels like an overall lack of transparency, with policy decisions being announced very abruptly and little to no insight being given into admins' reasoning.

 

I totally get that disciplinary actions for individual users should be discussed privately, and don't see an issue there, but when it comes to decisions affecting the entire board, it seems odd -- to say the least -- to have that discussion be entirely closed off and not subject to members' contributions or votes.

 

If I felt like there was a healthier and more transparent culture around how the board is run, I might be more inclined to volunteer here. But from what I've witnessed in the past nine months I've been here, I feel discouraged.

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Anthracite_Impreza

I know from myself and speaking to others that many simply do not support the policies they're expected to enforce, if you want a 100% blunt answer. See the current mess going on rn.

 

And like Morays says, there's no transparency, it feels like they're just making decisions and the membership are treated as non-entities, just expected to accept whatever is decreed to us. Not exactly inviting to someone who doesn't want to be forced into secrecy and shit on your forum friends without any of their input.

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Autumn Twilight

Simply put, my trust in the leadership as a whole is practically non-existent now. They alone have dramatically reduced my enjoyment of this forum.

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Sky Tune Rein

The forums I'd like to be responsible for are either never available, or seem too time-consuming and with no clear sign of a co-mod or assistant. I don't like being tied down with something else that's not mine, unless it's my actual job, yet I don't want to take on a duty when I could leave any day soon after, because I'm more responsible than that. I just can't guarantee I can stay put for many months let alone years.

 

The PPS forum is an example of a bitter-sweet forum for me, while the JFF is more my theme but has too many tedious posts to review.

 

Quite honestly I'd rather be a forum-wide mod who can help out anywhere if and when needed. I don't think I've ever worked with one with AVEN's mod structure.

 

Oh yeah, I don't like writing bios or revealing personally identifiable info. Ordinally I could object or joke, but being in the spotlight for mod positions, it wouldn't do me any good.

Edited by Sky Tune Rein
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Janus DarkFox
15 minutes ago, Morays said:

I'd say the single biggest reason putting me off is what feels like an overall lack of transparency, with policy decisions being announced very abruptly and little to no insight being given into admins' reasoning.

 

I totally get that disciplinary actions for individual users should be discussed privately, and don't see an issue there, but when it comes to decisions affecting the entire board, it seems odd -- to say the least -- to have that discussion be entirely closed off and not subject to members' contributions or votes.

These insights are eventually Declassed whenever DT are available to do so.  The Threads get declassed to take out any information that has to be classified, then it gets released into Admods Archive.

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Just now, Janus DarkFox said:

These insights are eventually Declassed whenever DT are available to do so.

That's after a few years, though, as far as I'm aware.

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Janus DarkFox
12 minutes ago, Sky Tune Rein said:

The forums I'd like to be responsible for are either never available, or seem too time-consuming and with no clear sign of a co-mod or assistant. I don't like being tied down with something else that's not mine, unless it's my actual job, yet I don't want to take on a duty with the freedom to leave any time because I'm more responsible than that. I just can't guarantee I can stay put for many months let alone years.

An idea is perhaps a Nominations Thread that lists the forums what we need, then that Member comes forward for the Forums they want to be in.  Picking 1 or up to 3 Forums, then running the election cycle as normal.

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Janus DarkFox
1 minute ago, Morays said:
2 minutes ago, Janus DarkFox said:

These insights are eventually Declassed whenever DT are available to do so.

That's after a few years, though, as far as I'm aware.

Policy Threads are a priority declassification so should be released much sooner than the backlog.

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Anthracite_Impreza

Another idea would be to engage membership when making decisions that affect them, instead of acting as though we're dolts incapable of thought unless ascended to mod status. Just a thought.

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Autumn Twilight

...

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Sky Tune Rein
4 minutes ago, Janus DarkFox said:

An idea is perhaps a Nominations Thread that lists the forums what we need, then that Member comes forward for the Forums they want to be in.  Picking 1 or up to 3 Forums, then running the election cycle as normal.

I've amended my post (twice) after you quoted but before you replied.

 

Anyway, one issue with that is if months or years go by, members' situations may change then or shortly after.

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19 minutes ago, Janus DarkFox said:

These insights are eventually Declassed whenever DT are available to do so...

18 minutes ago, Morays said:

That's after a few years, though, as far as I'm aware.

 

I've seen some declassed threads that have been released earlier than that, within the last six months. I've noticed that the declass team has improved on that, as far as not only focusing on declass threads from years ago, but also declassing more recent ones that are more current.

 

As an example, I believe the ones in orange font are all the more current Admod discussions from within the last six months.

 

https://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/154194-recently-declassed-threads/?do=findComment&comment=1064238650

 

 

As far as why others might not run for a moderator position, I guess, some might not feel they're qualified, compared to other mods with more education, skills, etc. or, in general, feel insecure and think that others might not want to vote for them.

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Sean_Bird

Seems stressful to me, and I currently have a lot going on. I'll probably run sometime in the future once things settle down for me, but I'd like to get a better sense of mod styles before doing so. I don't really have policy concerns like others.

 

As for the voting aspect (voting for other people), the only times I'll see that someone is running is if I happen to go to the 'unread content' section, which I don't do very often nowadays. Usually I'll only vote if I know the person running well enough.

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Gwaeron

Apart from the fact that it's time consuming and currently not an option for me, there is a serious lack of transparency and consistency in mod decisions. For example, different users seem to get different treatment even if they say the same thing, or there is a suddenly published new rule without any visible development.

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Sea Lemon

It's a lot of things for me. Campaigns-wise, I think the whole process is way too long, particularly the voting period given that most votes seem to be done in the first 2-3 days, and honestly I find the Q&A portion too tedious. 

 

Regarding the actual position, it's mostly:

- not wanting to enforce rules that I think are detrimental (e.g the invalidation policy and suchlike)

- being frustrated by the uneven and sometimes excessively heavy-handed way the rules are enforced

- the amount of bureaucracy that's involved in even something as simple as a nudge

- just generally not enjoying the team dynamics the last time around (more specifically, lots of the time people taking themselves/things in general way too seriously, which made the whole thing exhausting) 

 

TLDR: It just requires too much in terms of mental energy for very little reward in my opinion. 

Edited by Sea Lemon
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Snao Cone

I'm on mobile which is harder to type, and too irritated to read everything posted so far, so I'm going to keep this shorter. 

 

The number one reason I don't want to become a moderator is it's thankless, with a member base that demands a lot of attention and takes out a lot of frustration on staff. Conspiracy theories abound. No matter who else is on staff, there is always a segment of the member base that will be overly righteous, and I just do not have the time in my day or the spoons in my inventory to tolerate that. 

 

The second reason is the seriousness required. I have been on staff and I've had to restrain myself from being who I am because of it. The expectations would be higher if I were a moderator. 

 

The third reason is the discussion that goes into it, with the structure of group decision making. I got more insight into this as a staff member, but members can see it in declassified threads as well (though years behind, as has been mentioned). Not only is it about the amount of time it takes, but it's also the excessive deliberation that seeks some hyper-formalized basis that mimics larger bureaucracy where it's not needed. 

 

I'm at work still, so I'll leave it at that for now. 

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Snao Cone

I guess I went way off course and didn't say much about elections, but the hyper-formalized part applies at that stage too. 

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Mag, the Drifter

I'm on here an average amount, in my estimation. I'd happily take a position if I won an election, but I do not feel truly qualified to run most of the subforums. The areas less directly related to asexuality and the LGBT+ community as a whole would be comfortable for me to consider running for, but i have no idea what the day to day for a moderator looks like.

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Sky Tune Rein
33 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

I'm on mobile which is harder to type, and too irritated to read everything posted so far, so I'm going to keep this shorter. 

 

The number one reason I don't want to become a moderator is it's thankless, with a member base that demands a lot of attention and takes out a lot of frustration on staff. Conspiracy theories abound. No matter who else is on staff, there is always a segment of the member base that will be overly righteous, and I just do not have the time in my day or the spoons in my inventory to tolerate that. 

 

The second reason is the seriousness required. I have been on staff and I've had to restrain myself from being who I am because of it. The expectations would be higher if I were a moderator. 

 

The third reason is the discussion that goes into it, with the structure of group decision making. I got more insight into this as a staff member, but members can see it in declassified threads as well (though years behind, as has been mentioned). Not only is it about the amount of time it takes, but it's also the excessive deliberation that seeks some hyper-formalized basis that mimics larger bureaucracy where it's not needed. 

 

I'm at work still, so I'll leave it at that for now. 

I'm on desktop and I'm not irritated right now, but I couldn't write a better post.

 

I'm thankful for the good admins/mods here, but just as well the members who make time here better or easier for all, despite the current climate and social chaos we've seen over the last 18 months, and infectious mindsets that's spread rampant online. While I still object to the political Shitty McShitface goings on in the HB, which sometimes spills out to the PPS, I've enjoyed my stay in other parts most of the time, thanks to all these rad members and mods alike.

 

But to relate to Snao, I don't envy the mods who always have "overly righteous" members to deal with, and being unable to smite them. Sure I can keep a cool head, but part of what little sanity I have wants some laid-back-casual-fun-and-laughs time. I rather have something pretty simple, not too demanding (for now at least) and a good reason to be a mod, like keeping the forum clean especially from spammers. I also want a taste of the staff room cake.

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Honest answers ahead...

 

Being a member of the admod team often isn't viewed by members who disagree with various site policies as a positive thing. I don't want to be considered 'one of them'. I don't want to enforce policies that I dislike and disagree with and that have been deeply personally hurtful at times. (And yes, I can also say from personal experience that people on the team have been absolutely wonderful at other times, but that still doesn't mean I want to be part of the staff myself.) I also simply don't want to put in the energy or effort to moderate a forum and have that responsibility hanging over me. I may end up overwhelmed depending on what level of responsibility was involved. I'm on AVEN a lot, but I don't have to be on AVEN, and when some other aspect of my life has my attention, I don't ever have to think, 'Ah crap, I should be checking AVEN right now'... and I don't want to have to think that.

 

The main turn-off for the election process itself? Campaigning and answering questions. Honestly, I don't want to be forced into giving faux-diplomatic replies just to get votes. That's what sleazy politicians do and I prefer to be authentic.

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Also I was on the mod team 11 years ago and I was a much more... timid... person at the time, and even then I felt like I wasn't allowed to be fully myself and also be a staff member, so.

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awadama

I've been on absolutely loads of online communities (forums, Discord servers, whatever else) over the years and AVEN is the only one I've ever seen that does the whole election thing. Anywhere else, the admins have contacted someone (who's not obviously an absolute idiot) and asked if they wanted to be a mod. Yeah, people complained about favouritism, but they do that with elections anyway.

 

I took part in three elections before I finally won one and I hated the whole process more and more each time. I probably shouldn't say this, but I found the whole election thing far harder and more stressful than the actual moderating. 

 

The whole thing takes weeks. Unless someone clearly hasn't got a clue, there's really no reason for us to vote against them. It's like going out shopping and being asked if you think some random person would be any good as a mall cop.

 

Outside of election stuff - everything on AVEN seems to move at a glacial pace and nothing ever really seems to change for the better. 

 

I like using AVEN, but so many things could be simplified and streamlined. Elections are a long-winded nightmare. The ToS is a huuuuge essay that - realistically - most people aren't going to waste five hours reading. Minor changes are made to the wording of one of the 17000 different rules, where nothing has really changed, but it looks like something has and it pisses everyone off. How many people actually read all that declassified stuff? As a mod before, stuff got debated and talked about for weeks and weeks and weeks, but there never seemed to be any point to it all. Was AVEN ever simple or was it always so...bloated?

 

I appreciate the gesture of asking for suggestions/feedback - and I don't want to sound hostile - but I think AVEN is so set in its ways (and has been for years), I'd be really surprised if any changes were actually made (hopefully I'm proven wrong though). 

 

A similar thread to this was made in 2019. It got four pages of replies and as far as I can tell, nothing changed:

 

 

If JFF/Arcade came back up at any point, I'd probably consider them (I think I was pretty good at it before and no one seemed to want to kill me), but it would really depend on how I was feeling at the time. That election process is is the absolute pits.

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Life Of Tass

I thought about running for PPS moderator, but the fact that the campaigning was in the middle of my finals initially put me off, and then I realised that a bio was needed and that I'm just an 18 year old anarchist who has accomplished absolutely nothing concrete and noteworthy in their lifetime, so all I would be able to put in the bio is "I've been an AVEN member for close to 3 years, and have contributed exactly one piece of artwork and one now outdated interview to AVENues", which doesn't exactly scream "vote for me". So I thought I'd spare myself the embarassment.

 

I never said so in the original nominations thread because it wasn't a thread to state why we weren't going to run, but this thread seems just like the place.

 

Also, an important factor:

 

31 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

The second reason is the seriousness required. I have been on staff and I've had to restrain myself from being who I am because of it. The expectations would be higher if I were a moderator. 

Especially a PPS moderator for me.

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Blaiddmelyn

I don't have enough time but even if I did, from what I've seen, moderators and admins etc just seem to get abused and held accountable for all the world's ills, which isn't my idea of a fun night. I also think I'd be too laid back - I like AVEN and I've met a lot of awesome people through it but I can never bring myself to get particularly upset over how it's run etc. At the end of the day, for me, it's a free internet forum. Not sure that's quite the enthused attitude a mod should have :)

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Sherlocks

I knew they were going on I just did not feel like participating. Like I did for the president of the united states. Was surprised Trump did not win but I also did not vote and my candidate lost the year prior so had lost all interest. I simply do not care to participate. 

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Anthracite_Impreza
25 minutes ago, Ceebs. said:

And yes, I can also say from personal experience that people on the team have been absolutely wonderful at other times

To balance my current seething with this site (or rather its policies, systems and "culture"), I will also add some mods are absolutely brilliant, down to earth people who will take time to actually talk to and listen to you. I'm not gonna name names but you know who you are, and know you are and have been appreciated.

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First of all, I want to say a thank you to the people who do run and keep AVEN going—moderators included. I appreciate the resource and the commitment you make into this. :)

 

Before I read this thread, the reasons I would have given for not getting involved would have been as follows:

 

Not wanting to moderate

  • I don’t want the commitment of having to be around all the time. (The need for immediate responses seems to apply both during the Q&A process as well as when moderating, and I can’t accommodate that.)
  • I don’t want the responsibility, and I don’t like confrontation. (I have to deal with those elsewhere, so am very reluctant to put myself in a position where I’d have to deal with more.)
  • A suspicion that I lack technical expertise.

Not voting:

  • I don’t usually vote because only rarely do I see someone I ‘know’, so I rarely feel informed enough to support anyone. (Yes, despite the bios and Q&A stuff.)
  • I don’t visit all the forums, so wouldn’t vote for ones I don’t go to.

TBH, I don’t always notice elections are going on, and if I do notice, we’re usually already well into the process, by which time it feels too late to take an interest.

 

Reading this thread has been an eye opener. Clearly, I’m oblivious to a lot of stuff going on…and reading the comments doesn’t make me more likely to want to get involved. It all feels very ‘heavy’.

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58 minutes ago, Life Of Tass said:

I thought about running for PPS moderator, but the fact that the campaigning was in the middle of my finals initially put me off, and then I realised that a bio was needed and that I'm just an 18 year old anarchist who has accomplished absolutely nothing concrete and noteworthy in their lifetime, so all I would be able to put in the bio is "I've been an AVEN member for close to 3 years, and have contributed exactly one piece of artwork and one now outdated interview to AVENues", which doesn't exactly scream "vote for me"...

:) I think that 3 years of being a member counts as experience; that's 3 years of getting to know the forum, becoming more familiar with things like elections, the TOS, and AVENues, all the kind of things that Admods can help other members/new members with.

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Snao Cone

Being a moderator doesn't mean you can't joke or have fun, even on the forum you moderate. It just means you have to have a sense of where reasonable limits are with most of the membership in mind, and the ability to shift gears at that point. I am unable to shift such gears myself. 

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