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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well now that my timeout is over I figure it is time to at least try to say something about issues on the forum. I am still pretty skeptical on if it will achieve anything. I’m basically counting on you guys to instill some confidence in me on how this site is handled. While I do like most the mod team (and am working on the rest) I feel the vast majority have really little to no connection to the member base. If there is some connection it is certainly not easily notice.



When members join this forum they are joining for a reason. They are either seeking advice, wanting to share advice, or both. A moderator posted just yesterday on another forum I use “No-one would start a thread on the forum if they were not interested in the opinions of our members…. Would they?” This is the stance I take on the posts I make. If they take different advice over mine that is perfectly fine. I am not here to regurgitate what can be found from a google search or what is considered the ‘general accepted practice’. I offer advice based on my research and my experience. All I ask is that members’ opinions are not allowed to be attacked or belittled unnecessarily. I am perfectly fine with disagreements because obviously not everyone sees eye to eye and this is evitable on every forum. However on this site both some mods and members, myself included, really need to work on how they state their POV so it does not come off as offensive to other members. That is not the point of a debate or discussion. I honestly avoid some topics on this site because history has shown me it cannot easily be discussed or debated casually. This has been getting worse over the years and is part of the reason I don’t post a lot. I do bite my tongue when I post on the boards, if I didn’t you would have a folder full of pulled posts with my name on it. I am much less reserved in chat and I know this has certainly gotten me in trouble before.

As far as the mod team goes as a whole, I do respect you and the info you give. I personally feel the moderating side of things can improve. That said I have zero experience moderating anything. I know with a new admin it takes time to adjust and a mod also left about a month ago. These things are not missed by some members. I’m sure most don’t care, while others find it less then reassuring. Adding to that, we are not allowed to openly discuss the forums themselves or our concerns, which is one of the bigger issues here for me anyway. (The water change thread/chat thing simply ended up being the tipping point for me.) How the forum is run has been coming up in the chat quite a bit lately and the conversations for the most part get squashed if there is an active mod in chat. This does not give any confidence to members and the end result is these conversations just get pushed off site. I am well aware what this section is suppose to be for, however privately trying to discuss how to better things as a community comes off as a bit ironic to me. I feel the community here is very neglected and I am still on the same boat as Andrew on if I will stick around or not.


One other kinda random thing(amongst others) that has always stood out to me here is there are a lot of posts by mods which is both good and bad in my opinion. None of the regulars doubt your ability to give good advice but I hope you do realize your posts are often double edge swords. It is very rare that I browse this site and see a contributing poster that I don’t recognize. I honestly don’t know how some of you post as much as you do, I got tired of answering the same thing over and over again years ago. Young inexperienced members are usually not very confident and they are rarely going to offer advice after an experienced moderator has already given theirs. Hell if I am browsing a see a basic care question and the last reply was a moderator I don’t even bother reading it, I expect the answer to have been given. This is personally why I prefer not to answer any threads involving basic fish care, besides the fact that I’d rather not answer a question I’ve likely answered many times before. I would rather give a chance for a less experienced member to answer it. If it’s directly asked of me for an answer then certainly, but I would much rather see newbies at least trying to answer threads on the TFK side of things. Their advice obviously won’t be on par with a mod but a more experienced user or a mod can always expand on it. Then the question would get answered and an inexperienced member would have some means of contributing, because at the moment I don’t really see how they are expected to be able to contribute and the result is they don’t stick around. A good number of them can provide decent advice, I don’t care if it’s a 15 year old kid with 6 months of experience they can usually answer basic questions well enough. I started when I was 14 dealing with a fish-in cycle and I am nothing but lucky I joined the original forum and community that I did, if I hadn’t I likely wouldn’t be making this post right now. Though one is never done learning in this hobby the only reason I am where I am today is a lot of research but more importantly guidance by many individuals of various sites. Some of which I am still in touch with today and others that left this hobby years ago. They all gave me their patience and wisdom and honestly thats all I want anyone to give here.


In the end I’d rather see you trying to connect with the community vs just answering all the questions. I don’t care how it’s done. Trivia posts, what’s your favorite fish, ID that fish games(these can get srsly hard), they are all done elsewhere; get creative. Simply try to get responses from your members and acknowledge them. Once you get things going they have a way of continuing.

This isn’t meant to sound berating; it is exhausting for me more then anything. I would rather stick around and I am sure Andrew would too. Currently I have no intentions of posting on the site until I am sure of my decision and I am aware that may take time. I am more than willing to continue this discussion.
~Mikaila
 

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Thank you, Mika, for posting your concerns here. I really appreciate that you took the time to write your feelings out, and I promise that we will be taking them into consideration. . . I'm sure I'm not the only one who requires a cup of coffee or three before formulating a more complete reply, but wanted to let you know that we hear you, and will be back in touch soon.
 

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Hi Mikaila. Thanks for your input. I just came on this morning and read your post but I also can't reply... I'm off to work for the day. Will be back later.
 

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Hey Mikaila,

I think what we're coming to realize here (at least for me) is that having the "Super Mod" nomenclature after our user names is a double edged sword. We've heard it from both sides over the years. We have people who would rather have us stay out of it and not interact and then we have others who think we should be more active. After reading your suggestions about being more in touch with the community, I have to say that I really like the ideas that you stated for Mod./forum run contests rather than trying to be active in threads.

Having said that, I think there were some attempts at these (Christmas/Holiday card exchange being the most recent example) that fell completely flat because we felt that the mods. should handle the mailings so that people could remian anonymous. That went down in flames pretty quickly once the mods. got involved. It might not be the best example to use but my feelings were that folks like to run their own contests and for us to butt out. That might just be in betta land and shouldn't stop us from trying it over on the TFK side of the world.

As for posts, infractions, bans, general warnings via. pm etc..... we are a diverse team with different tolerance levels and different opinions - just like any other normal group of people. We really do have a lot of discussion as to the best way to handle situations. And even then we don't agree 100% a lot of the time but have to go with what the majority thinks is best.

I think you're a great member of the forum and I have great respect for your advice and knowledge base. But you have to stay respectful. Trust me when I tell you I know how hard that can be, especially with this many people posting on a public board at the same time. Keep in mind that if we were talking about an adult only forum, things would probably be a lot more lenient when it comes to things like dropping the occasional F bomb or slightly inappropriate topics. But the forum is what it is. It makes our job as "keepers" of the forum and your job as a member more challenging when you'd like to really speak your mind. And can't.

Thanks for coming here to discuss your thoughts. We've got a lot to consider and will keep working to make this a great place to hang out.
 

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I also want to thank you for sharing your thoughts.I wanted to comment on the mods having no connection to the member base. Some of us stay mainly in certain areas. I stay mostly in the betta area and very rarely post in TFK. I didn't know if you were aware of that or not. I can make myself more visible on the TFK side if necessary.
 

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I rarely post on TFK as well ^_^ everyone seems to love giving their input on the BF side, whether a mod has responded or not :) On the TFK side I try to keep an updated journal to try an generate more interest in the aquarium plants section.
I feel like even a double edged swod has that flat side I cant still use, and if it comes to it, I'm willing to hold the blade and use the hilt instead ^_^

btw that fish emoti! I got one too!

~~~~~ <>< ~~ >* ))))>< ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

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Thank you for posting here, Mikaila. As the others have said, we're going over your post and formulating our responses. This may take a few days. We'd really like to have a well-thought response to such a well-thought post.

Briefly, however . . . in response to your suggestions about reaching out the community. Would you be willing to run/monitor a triva thread? Just because we mods haven't started any game threads doesn't mean any member can't. :) Over on bettafish.com, there are a number of game threads that were all started by members. If you feel like TFK needs something fun to engage the community as a whole, then by all means please find the appropriate area of the forum and start a game thread. :)
 

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Sorry For the Wait

Hi Mikaila. We're sorry for the delay in responding to you. Because you clearly put a lot of thought into your post, we wanted to return the favor and make sure we fully discussed your concerns. Be aware the answers may not be the ones you seek.

We will try to address your concerns point by point where applicable:

Point 1) The tone of certain moderators' posts
This has been discussed and all moderators will make renewed efforts to "vet" their replies before posting. This does not change the content nor the frequency in which we post, only that we will strive for a professional tone at all times. However, we expect the same courtesy in return from our members.

Point 2) The frequency of moderator posts
We would like to emphasize that while we are moderators, we are still enthusiastic hobbyists with a strong desire to help others. In many cases, we were chosen to be moderators precisely because we posted frequently to help others and in no way were we expected to change our posting frequency, either by our former administrator or by our current one. In no way do we wish to be seen in a negative light because of our desire to help - or because we are swift to respond. That some people think this came as a surprise to us, as we have always felt that a quick reply reflects positively on the forum as a whole. We cannot in good conscience, as a team, stop trying to help people who post asking for help. Especially when considering that some threads would be left to wait, possibly for days, for a reply.

We cannot in good conscience, as a team, stop posting replies to people asking for help. As well, consider this: if we stop posting first - making some people possibly wait for days for a reply - and allow the newbies to respond with perhaps inaccurate information and then we step in to correct that information, will that not be construed as us throwing our weight around again?

Point 3) Moderators connecting to the community
For us, posting is our way of connecting to the community. However, in regards to your suggestion about game threads, we ask this: why not start your own game threads? Members on our sister site bettafish.com have of their own initiative started several game threads that the mods participate in and there is no reason why TFK members can't do the same.

We hope we have addressed your concerns and again, we thank you for your patience.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thank You for your reply. I did not come forward with high expectations so really no harm done. Your first point was the main issue at hand and hopefully things can mellow down from both members and mods.

My observation of posting has not changed. It was simply a suggestion and nothing more than my point of view. It is not uncommon for young inexperienced members to join multiple sites and post the same threads. What is interesting to me anyway is how some of these members ask for advice and contribute to other topics on some sites but don’t go beyond asking for advice on other sites. I have noticed the latter on this site fairly often and it is simply something that stands out to me, nothing more. I was certainly not asking you to stop posting. If you feel immediate answers are more important than by all means continue as you are. All I was suggesting was a bit of linger time, couple hours maybe, it is always up to you in the end. If it is an emergency thread then certainly, as always you are mods and members should trust in your discretion.


As mods I still do feel you can correct misinformation without ‘throwing your weight around’. Newbies in my experience handle corrections much better then more experienced members long as you stay friendly and open minded. Currently your issues with throwing weight around seem to lie with the more experienced users here who are often harder to deal with and more easily offended. There have been a lot of good experienced members here throughout the years. When I originally joined it was because I saw familiar names here, some even mods on other sites. Most are accounts long abandoned now, yet those users are certainly still active online. Again this is simply an observation. For me TFK does to have an atmosphere that is unwelcoming to some, I certainly exercise more restraint here then I do elsewhere. I like many of the users on this site and that is the main reason I am still here.


I did discuss the game option with others and perhaps I may take you up on that if I do see a response from the mod team on the main point here. I’m not entirely thrilled that my suggestion for you to connect with your members was thrown back at me to connect with the members. I’ve shipped out live plants and hard to get medications to more than a few members on this site, always at very low cost or shipping fees only depending on the situation. But I wouldn't be surprise is some of you have not taken extra steps for members here either. I’m sure a few of you know I keep a mile long stick between me and bettafish for my own safety, which is nothing particular to this site. So what goes on there I have no clue.


I am going to go on to say that this site needs a public section for site feedback and suggestions. I really cannot stress how important I feel this is. This private mod section has some use, but it is really limited. There is nowhere on this site members can discuss the site itself with eachother. As far as I know changes and additions are made to the site without asking the members prior or afterwards. Changes are rarely ever announced either. They simply happen one day and we are expected to live with them regardless of how we feel or if they frustrate/annoy us. Far as mod choices stuff like that is obviously up to the mod and admin team alone and I would expect nothing less, only that it is announced afterwards. Site features though should include the involvement of members. A current example would be the ‘reference material’ section, which popped up about 3 weeks back if I remember correctly. Nothing has been told to the members about the new section. It’s clearly still a work in progress but honestly after 3 weeks of it being empty and no word/notice on it; it won’t be much longer until users stop noticing it. I don’t really know what you are planning to do with it, but since the purpose I assume is to be used by the members I don’t see why they shouldn’t be turned to in its making. As mods you always have the final say, but that does not mean you have to be above suggestions and discussion on the matter. I personally would have prefer to offer suggestions about past changes I still find annoying and have them turn down then to not be given a chance to do so. However when you don't ask it simply comes across as you do not care nor want to know how the users on this site feel about changes.


Now I would like point out another issue I have and to be honest I would rather not bring this up, but I feel I must. The biggest uncontrollable variable for me here on this site is Yungster. I hope he does read some of the stuff in this section, since he is admin after all. Either way I will be honest here. I have had bad experiences with him in the past. He became admin of fishfrorumS.com in 2010. I became a member there a year before and it was a real great site, very friendly, very informative, great mods and community, their chat room was awesome. Since 2011 it has been going steadily downhill. It still has the same exact problems it has been trying to deal with for years. Many users are gone including some that are still registered as mods and I am no longer an active member there though I do stay in contact with some of the other members.

I have an announcement to make. - FishForums.com
what's happened to FF? - FishForums.com

I am simply trying to show you where I am coming from. Perhaps our new admin actually does intend to be active here and not neglect this site. I am skeptical at best considering my experience at ffs.com, but will continue to watch closely and wait. For the time being I will likely return to posting when I feel it is needed. However the current turn of events here still has me worried on what path this site will head down. It is simply the fact that if the admin is not responsive and active with their duties long term the site will not advance. The same goes for Mods but they can really only do so much if an admin becomes inactive or unresponsive to the site. In the past I have never left a site for anything less than administration issues.

With all that said, I will simply state I am not asking for a response to this post, only that you read it.
 

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A current example would be the ‘reference material’ section, which popped up about 3 weeks back if I remember correctly. Nothing has been told to the members about the new section. It’s clearly still a work in progress but honestly after 3 weeks of it being empty and no word/notice on it; it won’t be much longer until users stop noticing it. I don’t really know what you are planning to do with it, but since the purpose I assume is to be used by the members I don’t see why they shouldn’t be turned to in its making.
Hi Mikaila, I'd like to offer some info on this particular item, since I personally have somewhat been pushing this forward.

Without going into technical details, we have to shift the profiles into the main forum. Along with that, we decided to include the "Articles" and many of the "stickies" in this area. Reason being that members get very confused over these, and the stickies are scattered all over the forum. Some of them are quite old and internal links don't work, some we believe need revising, newer members are contributing new "guides" which replace older ones so we're getting duplication, etc. We felt it would be best to have all this reference material together in one spot, so everyone knows where it is.

The "Reference Material" section sort of popped up before we had worked everything through. It will disappear probably next week, when the format for the new reference area comes online. I certainly agree that this will have to be announced. Then there will follow the task of transferring data which is going to take some time considering the volume we have.

Byron.
 

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Mikaila,

Thank you for your note. It's good that we can finally connect. As the "uncontrollable variable" on this site, I would like to address the one part you mentioned about Fishforums.com. Simply put, I respectfully disagree with your perception of what did or did not happen on FFS. It's not a matter of passing the blame but I know that in all walks of life, someone is looking to blame someone for something failing and someone has to take the blame for it so if it makes you feel better, I'll accept that responsibility. I'm not about to get into some kind of he-said-she-said debate with you OR try to change your mind.

What I will say is this:

1. I am here to stay and I will be as active on this site as needed.

2. I am in full agreement with what the moderators are doing here. They have my full support. While I may not be visibly active on the frontlines, I do as much as an uncontrollable variable can do in the background. This site has never been run by ONE person and it's not about to start now.

3. Ever since we (or I) have come on board, it has been business as usual here on TFK. Yes, there was an adjustment period for me to get to know the ins and outs of this site. However, I have not directed the TFK team to change how their approach to the day-to-day activities of this community. The sky is not falling. The ship is not sinking.

4. With regards to the above, I am about to make my first directive to the mod team and this directive has to do with the manner in which members (that would include yourself) treat (or mistreat) the moderating team. Simply put, it will NOT be tolerated.

This is a PRIVATELY owned online community. Your membership here is NOT a right but it is a privilege. We certainly do appreciate and welcome anyone and everyone (with the exception of spammers) to TFK. We welcome their contribution and we even welcome them to disagree with one another.

What I do not particularly have a stomach for are users who have this sense of entitlement that just because they have years of experience or they have leverage in the community, they can treat members and moderators in any way they like. If that is/was the culture here on TFK, it's about to have a serious makeover.

I'm all for working together with the community to push this thing forward but there comes a point where people begin to nitpick/complain just for the sake of doing it. That's where I draw the line.

You've made some good suggestions which we as a team have been discussing about. If and when we come to an agreement of what to do with your suggestions, we will post them up for the community to know about.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
*sigh* Well this is going downhill about as fast as I expected. SanguineFox was chatting with me Thursday before making her Mod thread, that she has a “history of stepping in with the best of intentions, and the best of words, and have things hit the fan on her” which is about how I feel now, but I know I’m not as great with the words part. Your message came across as a rebuke to me. I was not trying to blame you for what happened to FFS only that it happened. None of the regulars still there really know what happened there except that you/your company was not around very often and never said what was going on nor the status of any of the problems the site had. I am well aware I only know one side of what happen there. It is just one point why the confidence I have had in this site is failing me currently.



Points 1-3 I have no disagreement with and do hope they turn out so.



Point 4: I personally apologized to Byron and Abbeysdad prior to making this thread. It was my first action when I was unbanned. I was in a bad mood and frustrated along with some other members at a time when I had less then better judgment. I have told those that were present during the event that I apologized to try to clear any bad vibes about the incident of my banning and behavior. Had said event occurred on the forums I would have made my apology publicly there. I have personally put the event behind I me and if any mods have further issue with me regarding it they are welcome to contact me or post here. I have never received any notification from the mod team at all prior about my behavior, though I would not be surprised if I should have at one point. If there were any problems prior or criticism I am certainly open to hearing them on how best I should handle myself. I am well aware a number of the sites I have used in the past/or currently still use are modded much more casually and that has likely been my downfall here. I can certainly manage to debate issues properly on other sites, but for the most part do I avoid it here as in the past I felt it was not doing my standing on the site any good. Though I do desire to remain active here I am distancing myself from the site.


As far as feelings of entitlement; I am and always have been aware, that I am only here as long as you and the mods are willing to put up with me. ;-)
 

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Mikaila, the fact that you're expecting this to go downhill pretty much sums up your perspective of this community and its leadership. As you can expect, I respectfully disagree with your sentiment but you are entitled to your opinion.

As for what I said in my post, it was not directed at you. It was a general statement. In any case, you are welcome to participate on TFK as often as you like or just sit back and enjoy what others are contributing. You have had a chance to speak your mind candidly and so has the leadership here in response to this particular matter. As such, I consider this a closed matter now and will close this thread. Thank you again for your candor.
 
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