alan little's weblog


30th September 2003 permanent link

I'm a subject area moderator for a pretty active yoga discussion forum on ezboard. It's not a particularly onerous job - the folks there are generally intelligent, articulate and polite, and my bit is one of the quieter corners. I've only actually had to do anything twice: once to move something that was a bit off-topic to a different area, and once to delete something completely irrelevant. And last week I learned a valuable lesson about continuing to be as hands-off as possible.

Somebody - apparently a newcomer - posted something very critical of a highly respected yoga teacher - in fact, of the senior teacher in the world of the style of yoga that the discussion forum is about, saying among other things that what he teaches isn't genuine yoga at all. Having spent four months in India studying with the teacher in question, I disagree with this rather strongly; and in a forum that's about this school of yoga, I'm not likely to be alone in that view. Equally clearly, it's a valid opinion and disagreeing with somebody's opinion is not a good reason in itself to exercise moderator powers. But I also found the tone of the message rude - not out-and-out abusive, but bordering on unacceptable, and seriously considered deleting it for that reason.

Initally I posted a comment about the tone of the message and left it at that. Then I thought about it some more, and eventually ended up posting a couple more rather long and rambling responses. Other people came up with some things that were more to the point, and it ended up being one of the more lively and constructive discussions we've had for a while in "my" little corner of the forum.

Lesson for moderators: if in doubt, don't.

related entries: Yoga

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