Throughout the entire year of 2013, Cassie and I were Moderators of the CollegePlus Forum. Again, to define some terms for those of you not well versed in Forum Lingo, a Moderator is one who ensures the forum rules are upheld, implements forum policy and activities, and also works with the Administrator to develop new policies, activities, etc. They are essentially the logistics supervisors and makes sure everyone behaves.
What was unique about the C+ forums however, is in addition to the basic rules, due to past disagreements in the debate hall, other topics of discussion were frowned upon as well. This kept the job busy, as people who didn’t agree made sure to let us know. Over and over and over via Private Messages… That year, coupled with learning how to resolve conflict at CFA, was perhaps one of my most growing in terms of communicating well over text, and in person. I bought books, read articles, and talked to my Peers- my parents, Allen, and of course Cassie, as she was my partner in taking care of these non eternal issues.
We took our jobs quite seriously. The previous mods had a lot of life changes, and did not fulfill their duties as required, so we made it a point to do our utmost best to read almost every post made everyday. We organized the forum and divided the reading up by sections. Nary a post was made we didn’t see, and this constant accountability to all the members made it, in my opinion, a much safer place. Expectations were laid, and followed up on. Yes, it took time each day, but we considered it something worth our while at that time in that season of life.
Those were great days. Some more difficult than others, but we had a great time facepalming, laughing, and resolving various situations. There were times when we did have to be serious when there were some grave offenses made against other members, but we balanced each other out in our approaches. I was always waving the ban hammer around saying “Punishment. They broke the rules and should have a consequence.” Cassie was always the person who was like “Well, maybe they don’t fully understand the rules… Or maybe it was an accident… They need one more chance.” Several times in those scenarios, I was at my logical wit’s end. Not frustrated really, just “Why don’t you want to punish them?!” I made the grumpy “Get your act together” posts, and she made the “Bear with one another” kind of posts. The contrasts were extreme in how we reacted to violations of rules and attitudes towards members. These created a balance which we both learned a lot about dealing with conflicts.
I learned a lot about grace through her example, and giving people the benefit of the doubt. Learning that grace is more powerful than justice (but justice is still needed too). I worked to implement these learnings into my work at CFA, and the results were amazing. People began to come to me with their problems and strifes with other team members, leaders, and such. Learning to be more balance in my approaches- ie. giving more than just one chance before writing up according to store discipline, was a benefit from that experience. I learned patience towards people whom it appeared were just out to get you and make your life miserable. I learned the power of “Sleeping on it” before replying to someone- in person or online.
All of this learning, and implementing, and more learning, and more implementing grew me so much during that year. I even received feedback from my Leader at Chik-fil-A that I had changed immensely in the short 10 months he had been there. While Moderating was incredibly challenging at times and frustrating at others, I would not trade, nor give up that experience in any way. While I did learn about myself, working so closely with other people, you learn about them a lot too. Some of their quirks, what makes them frustrated, jokes they find funny, and so forth and so on. While I did learn about the Admin, Alex, quite a bit, I really learned about Cassie in day to day interactions. I used this information to be a better friend in the NutRoom and also during our daily debriefs going of forum dramas.
But as all good things must do, our time to serve came to an end December 2013, we went out with a party of sorts… Where we banned numerous people as part as a Hunger Games Parody on the Forum. It was a great way to go, and looking back, would do it all over again. The Empire we had built as Moderators I left in confidence, ready, but not sure for what the next year would hold.by