moderated Re: Dealing with Terms of Service violations/other complaints

Bob Bellizzi

I;ve reviewed a bunch of messages in this thread and have some comments based on our groups' experiences and operating procedures.
On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 07:43 am, Everett wrote:
Again, a group is not just the owners

Sorry but I take exception to this statement as over-generalization.
While some groups may be more community property than not and some moderators/owners may really not "own" their group, in some cases the only reason for the continued existence of a group is the fact that it's serves a good cause and is also controlled closely by the owners.

Most rare and also potentially fatal disease groups continue to exist because of the owners wish and need to help others and there is a continuing need for good information.  By now you might have guessed that I include myself in this category.  Two of us from different ends of California met online and started such a group which has continued from e-groups through e-circles and Yahoo into  It continues to exist because
  We continue to maintain a set of standards for message conternt
  We have a comprehensive request to join form requiring more than one way to validate a person's information
     Strong terms and conditions, which must be agreed to prior to being subscribed, encourage good content and discourages trolls and other malefactors.  They also define what is and is not acceptable conduct/messaging.  In the T& C:
    The Complaint procedure is spelled out and also the fact that the decision of the Owners and Senior Moderators is final.
  We have Moderators' Duties and responsibilities are formalized and exceptions are sent to Senior Moderators for decision making.  
  We also have another class of people called Mentors who act as diplomats for newer or more needy members because they have important knowledge on an in-person level. Mentor's duties and responsibilities are also formalized.
Candidates for Moderators and Mentors are carefully selected during an online meeting of owners and Moderators prior to formally asking if they would be interested.  If they are interested they receive a fact sheet with their duties and responsibilities and are encouraged to be silent observers online but to let us know what they would do in situations that occur.
There is much more but I wanted to give you enough of the picture so you know where I'm coming from.   While it might sound Draconian, our group is the largest and longest continually functioning one for our  genetic disease.
I think in order to  be a proper owner one must be almost continually "plugged in" at some level or else one and the group might not be considered of vital importance to the owners.  Even if I were on vacation I would be pinged by one of the several moderators as soon as a complaint appeared, especially if it were to escalate up to ownership.

 My opinion about whether a complaint to should be forwarded to the owners being complained about is YES, one must know who is making the complaint.  Complainants fall in different categories.
  Some are simply chronic complainers and are most likely to just whine on the message board.
  I have found more than one person who would jump in to answer an important question by saying "I think I read that Dr. X might have said XYZ" which is pure conjecture, may be dangerously false info or likely to be misinterpreted.  When pressed in a private email to be very specific when responding to a question about our common issue, they would continue the practice and also argue with the decision of the owners and senior moderators.  Of course they solved themselves as a problem by unsubscribing in a huff.
All moderators are kept in the knowledge loop about issues, decisions and the basis for the decisions.

Bob Bellizzi

Founder, Fuchs Friends ®
Founder & Executive Director, The Corneal Dystrophy Foundation

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