Just to let everyone know, I have started deleting some of the posts and topics over the last couple of days. I am doing this because I am not comfortable with the "heat" level of the discussion or because the information being presented is inaccurate...not because I am protecting RIDGID from criticism.
I would like to suggest that people who post information about warranties or other policy issues verify it with us first. Employees of our vendors may not be as well informed as we would all hope. I would also urge everyone to refrain from personal attack and criticism. Repeated posts presenting misinformation as fact or making personal attacks will result in the poster being banned from the Forum.
If you have any questions about this policy or a deleted post, feel free to contact me.
Your post is well taken. However, the lack of timely reponse from the moderators to posts on this board only breeds the kind of things you are attempting to stop. As I said on another earlier post, for the most part moderators are missing in action and the silence is deafening. I, myself, do not regulary surf this Ridgid site any longer because it has gotten so petty. Yeah, the public is a PITA but you guys started this site so you need to do it right. Apparently Ridgid still has not learned the value of public relations.
I understand that the moderators have primary jobs at ridgid and volunteer to do this. It is tough enough to do your job without extra duties. Perhaps ridgid should hire someone to moderate this full time with the idea of customer service and relations in mind, it would increase business, stop or reduce misinformation from being interpreted as fact and increase traffic to this site.
Doesn't need to be a programmer. Woodworking background can be average. Knowledge of ridgid tools can be acquired in a day.
The person needs to be someone who has access to well informed people at ridgid, is generally likeable, doesn't have a temper, and has good sales and people skills. Someone with zero woodworking and tool background who has these skills could do it. Although a woodworking and tool background would be preferable.
Speaking as a moderator of two years' standing at a pretty large forum (we have over 50,000 members and well over 5 million posts, and each of our sub-fora are much larger than Ridgid's total forum), I can unequivocally state that moderating isn't a job for the faint-hearted. The biggest requirement is people skills. Many of us who aren't experienced in online communities, or aren't well-traveled, just don't realize the substantial geographic differences between social norms and modes of expression. When I moved from Vermont to New Jersey, I observed people happily saying things to each other every day which would have caused harsh words where I came from.
It's a moderator's job to read the feelings behind the words, to ascertain the personality and intent of the poster. In the vast majority of cases requiring attention, the moderator forms a bridge between two viewpoints which are much more congruent than their expression by the original posters might indicate. Unfortunately, that's not always enough because many folks out there just aren't willing to listen to reason. They don't think their words have any substantiveness since they're spoken in an electronic world. At that point, when further action is required, the moderator can either gain or lose the confidence of the community. Most reasonable people will respond well to a polite request to consider the impact of their words, but one ill-handled troublemaker can ruin the public perception of the entire forum.
I don't write these words by way of chastising the current Administration of this forum. I believe they're doing an excellent job of the technical aspects of moderating an online community. However, should this place grow very much, I feel that more emphasis should be placed on dedicated time and attention. Your needs are twofold - one, answer the Ridgid-related questions that the membership at large cannot, and two, keep the forum as a whole grounded in acceptable rules of social interaction.
The two skills are not necessarily compatible.
It requires forty volunteer moderators to keep the Ars Technica Open Forum a viable proposition. My little end of things, comprising almost 300,000 posts, requires a solid 15-20 hours per week of my attention and an equal amount from my co-mod. Ridgid, be aware, something like that could be in your future.
[ 11-25-2003, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: SuperDave ]
That's very impressive SuperDave, wish you were in charge of this forum. A quick look at the numbers in this group (community directory, "number of posts") I found that we have less than 3,400 members; 35 of them have more than 100 posts to their credit and less than 90 members have posted more than 50 times.
I bet that's a result of two things. Either
1. Most members questions are quickly answered and they don't need to keep posting, or
2. Most members join and then find out that members' questions aren't really answered, and they abandon their membership and move on, or
3. There is no number three, I said "two things." ;)
[ 11-25-2003, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: I love my tool ]
One last thing and then I'll get off my soapbox. I think the heart of the problem is that the moderators see themselves as just that - - - someone who makes certain that everything stays within certain limits whereas I believe that the majority of the people that post on this board see the "moderator" as a company spokesman. That's why so many people keep asking for a response from them. The way it is being handled now is not professional or efficient and for the most part generates more frustration than satisfaction for the folks that do post seeking company information or clarification.
To be fair, it's a job I would not want. Can you imagine the frustration of answering the same warranty question a million times to people who won't believe you anyway. It would be a full time job for more than one person, because once the word is out that in fact the company is really listening just imagine the increase in the number of posts with everyone thinking that there is now a direct line to the company.
Anyway, I've said enough.
[ 11-26-2003, 12:11 AM: Message edited by: GaryC ]
"I believe that the majority of the people that post on this board see the "moderator" as a company spokesman. That's why so many people keep asking for a response from them."
If that is the case, then they are not really paying attention, are they? The bottom line here is that this is an open forum and the moderators are just that and nothing more. They can not act as representatives of the company and still maintain an even keel on these boards.
That being said, I believe that it is incumbent on Ridgid to have someone in Sr. Mgmt. post on these boards and publicly address the issues that are being raised. The vast majority of posters here own, or are contemplating the purchase of a Ridgid product and require more information. We all know about the types of answers we get at the BOB, for the most part the sales force there is not properly trained. Someone has to answer these questions, and that someone should be from the company whos name is on the product. *** end of rant ***