Recently there have been lots of questions about what the mod/admin team actually does - what things we look after in regard to MFC. And that's great! Really, we appreciate the questions. And if anyone has any further questions, let us know -- feel free to post in the "Ask the mod squad"
thread so we can keep all the questions together.
Keep in mind, however, that as much as we tried to cover everything, MFC is a dynamic community in the online world - things are always changing, often rather quickly, and our responsibilities are not limited to what we've stated here -- we never know when we might be called on to do or handle something we've never done before!
What do the mods and admins actually do, anyway?
1) Moderating the Forums
Pretty basic, right? Sure, but also time-consuming. We spend quite a lot of time reading threads on MFC. While doing so, we're always involved with the following:
2) Beyond MFC
- Moderating thread content. This means making sure conversations are adhering to MFC guidelines, and ensuring conversations are (mostly) on topic. We also try to guide and stimulate conversations, answer questions where we can, and provide general information.
- Intervening when things go awry. This could mean deleting or editing inappropriate posts, closing threads when necessary, and contacting members if their posts, signatures or avatars are against guidelines.
- Welcoming new members, and doing what we can to make sure they understand how to use MFC on a technical level and where to go for help if they're confused by anything.
- Basic MFC housekeeping. This means moving threads to the appropriate sections, closing duplicate threads, deleting duplicate posts, redirecting the flow of conversation to a single thread for a single topic, stickying important threads, un-stickying threads that are no longer that important, moving news to the front page, and starting new threads when we reach the 4,000 post mark.
- Updating the MFC calendar
- Activating new members manually if their confirmation emails don't arrive
- Responding to member PMs and to reported posts, and dealing with those as needed
- Spam chasing. Deleting spam/porn/ads, and banning the account(s) of the spammer(s).
- Reviewing and updating our guidelines. Recently these guidelines were also translated into various languages in addition to English.
- Reviewing and updating our FAQs
- Handling member issues. It's not a fun topic, but occasionally we'll run into a situation where a member is being disruptive, or attacking other members, and/or violating our guidelines. In cases like these we try to be fair and balanced while at the same time enforcing our guidelines. This can include issuing warnings, infractions, and even bans.
In addition to the items above, our admins oversee the rest of the mod team and work with them to solve any internal issues, concerns, etc.
Our tasks stretch beyond this website. In addition to the above, we do the following:
3) Working With Mika's Team
- Check the MFC email account and respond to emails. Since MFC is quite prominent, we often get email from Mika fans who aren't MFCers, and are just looking for Mika-related information (and didn't know who else to contact).
- Update the MFC MySpace account. This includes updating the profile page, photo gallery, and adding blogs whenever there's a new development with Mika.
- Update the MFC Facebook account. Just like with the MySpace page, we post new developments, just as Notes instead of blogs.
- Update the MFC Twitter account with interesting articles, bits of information about Mika, noteworthy happenings within the MFC community, etc. Updating these sites gives members a way to stay informed about Mika goings-on even when they don't have time to read the forums in detail. It also serves as a marketing tool to increase public awareness of both Mika and MFC.
- Using the above (Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter) to communicate information to MFCers in the event of planned or unplanned MFC downtime.
Since Mika bought the site, we have begun building relationships with his management staff and other key members of his team in the US and in the UK. For the most part, contact with Mika's management team is handled by our admins.
Generally, this contact falls into these areas:
4) The Techie Side
- Basic MFC operational and strategic issues, including the software licensing, software upgrades, site design and functionality, the domain registration, and hardware issues (e.g, issues with the servers the site runs on).
- MFC benefits. This can include things like Meet & Greets with Mika before/after shows; merchandise (t-shirts, DVD, posters, etc.) for giveaways; ticket presale information; etc.
- Liaison between Mika's team and the MFC. As examples, the mod/admin team assisted MFC members with presale ticket issues, EP delivery issues, the Mika's Magic Numbers program and general problems with Mikasounds, questions about the timing of the Christmas party, questions about the iTunes contest on Mikasounds.com, etc. We answer questions about and seek information for things that don't have anything to do with MFC, but affect a significant number of MFC members.
- Other stuff. Occasionally we will be asked by Mika's management to work on things beyond MFC, like testing the new Mikasounds.com before it went live and informing them of any issues/bugs that needed to be corrected.
Andrew (StandardToaster) is our technical admin. He arranges and performs software upgrades to make sure MFC is running on current software, and keeps a record of the site's licenses/registrations to make sure that's all up to date, and works with Mika's managers to arrange appropriate payments. He monitors and backs up the database that contains all the posts on MFC, and keeps an eye on our servers in an effort to keep them running smoothly. When MFC goes down he uses his technical background and skill to determine what the problem is, and to get the site back online as quickly as possible. He responds to PMs from members who are having various technical troubles with MFC. He does fun stuff, like giving us new smileys. He has been contacted by Mika's manager's technicians to correct issues with MFC's servers that they
have caused and then not known how to correct. He also performs optimizations to keep MFC running as fast as possible.
5) At gigs
We do realize this is a grey area. We recognize that we can't "moderate real life", but we do try to help MFCers and provide the occasional benefit in real life just as we do on MFC. This can include working with the venue and Mika's managers to ensure queue fairness - that everyone is let into the venue in a first-come, first-served fashion for general admission gigs, regardless of where they purchased their ticket. Part of that often includes maintaining a list of who arrived in what order, and giving out numbers to help maintain that order. We also try to serve as MFC ambassadors, informing non-MFCers about Mika Fan Club, providing them general info if requested, and encouraging them to join MFC.
We also occasionally work to get MFC perks. Mika's April 2009 secret gig in LA was a good example of this. We worked with Mika's management to ensure MFCers were given priority access in receiving their ice cream and wristbands. Then, on the day of the gig MFC members enjoyed a private meet and greet with Mika. Clearly these things can't always happen, but when they do we're happy to help MFCers reap the benefits.
How are moderators chosen?
We see this as a "real" job - the people who best understand the right qualities for the moderator role are people who have done it themselves. It's not an easy process, but we truly believe that we have a process in place that helps us pick the best people to be mods. That process is:
- A call is put out in the general MFC asking for people to submit their names if they are interested in becoming a moderator.
- The mod/admin team discuss the applicants, and try to reach a consensus. We look for the following:
Members who have been a part of MFC for a while, who appear to be quite involved with the community, and who are committed to staying on MFC for a long time to come. Moderators need to be fair and level-headed, work hard not to worsen arguments or controversy, and stay as impartial as possible when tempers flare. An solid understanding of the history, culture and overall "vibe" of the MFC community is crucial.
Moderators need to be discreet and reliable and work well with others. They need to be online -- a lot. Every day, ideally, and every second day at least (holidays and family situations excepted). We look for natural leaders who aren't afraid to voice an opinion, yet can do so in a non-confrontational, non argumentative way.
Understanding a language other than English is a bonus, but not required. We also try to keep coverage in mind, and consider what hours of the day a potential mod could be online outside of work/school/sleep, etc.
- The administrators make a final decision based on discussions with the rest of the mod/admin team.
We've received a few other questions which don't directly fit up above, and will answer those here:
Is some sort of documentation taking place?
The only documentation we maintain is in the form of saved PMs or emails, plus we have an archive of any conversation that is held in the moderator section. If we have a discussion about an MFC matter on MSN, the chat is usually logged.
What sort of information about members and guests can mods/admins
Mods/Admin can see a registered user's IP address and email address; we can also can see guest IP addresses. Using the "Who's Online" functionality we can see which threads are being read, and which functions a user or guest is performing (such as viewing a thread, sending a PM). Members can see some of these same activities.
Members of the Mod/Admin Team CANNOT read your Private Messages.