We have some damned fine moderators at CG
We have a good core of 8 or 9 moderators on CoffeeGeek’s forums. Some more active than others, but all doing a really good job. One of them in particular (I won’t say who, for reasons listed next) is an absolute master of prose and calm mellow when dealing with cranky site visitors. And we do have some cranky visitors.
He got this email today with regards to an ongoing thread about a vendor (all names removed from the emails posted below) where the original poster (OP) harshed on the vendor, and the vendor responded. More responses, and we locked the thread before the vendor could post one more reply. Because the vendor had fresh accusations against them, our moderators decided to temporarily open the thread once more to let the vendor respond a last time.
Here’s the site visitor’s comments sent into our moderator. Normally I never reprint emails without permission, but I am doing so here. Because of that, I’m removing all identifying comments or names.
"By decision of the moderators, COMPANY was allowed to post one final response before the thread is locked for good.";
I have never seen such unprofessional behaviour before, by COMPANY in actually coming onto the forum to answer the comments & help. I think it’s better the suppliers stay off the forums, otherwise “ordinary people”; either become reluctant to post or sceptical about the impartiality of the forum. That coupled with the decision to unlock the thread to allow COMPANY one more/final comment is an equally poor decision. Looks like the suppliers have a firm hold of the reins on CoffeeGeek. MODERATOR, your move to lock the thread the first time was a good one, it went downhill after that.
Bad bad decision….and will leave people less likely to want to comment. In the UK people are afraid to say anything on forums and as such, bad suppliers, poor products etc.. just keep on coming. You can’t stop this sort of comment without “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”; then genuinely poor service or products just don’t get mentioned and sterility reigns.
P.S. Just so you know, I don’t think this really did COMPANY any good, if I saw posts like this and I was in the US, COMPANY would be the last company I would buy from. Perhaps my attitude is different because I’m “old school” ;…..far better if COMPANY had stayed “professionally”; silent
Now, if I had gotten this email, I’d probably just bin it. But our moderators aren’t like that. Here’s the response the moderator wrote back to the offended CG member:
Hi CG MEMBER,
Thanks for your email. I agree with you on a couple points. First, I agree the final post didn’t really help much, and in my correspondence with COMPANY, I suggested it wouldn’t accomplish much. Second, I agree the decision to lock was good, but I waited too long. By waiting until the OP had made a second ranting post after COMPANY’s response, it set up the situation that the OP had 2 postings vs. the vendor’s one; that created an imbalance and unfairness. We decided to correct that imbalance through the final post.
I disagree with you on the basic premise that vendors should stay out. There is a place for them, and when they contribute constructively and deal well with public customer complaints, they create a good community and generate business for themselves. Here are a few examples of vendors who have helped, and created good relations with, customers through the forums:
1. Stefano’s EspressoCare: http://coffeegeek.com/members/stefano65
2. Kyle Anderson at Baratza: http://coffeegeek.com/members/KyleAnderson
3. Joe Behm at Behmor: http://coffeegeek.com/members/tahoejoe
There are also examples of vendors who for a variety of reasons (much having to do with personality and defensiveness) have not helped much, and may have created a contentious environment. Some of these have actually been banned from the forums. But I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water as the metaphor goes.
I also disagree that this will make people less likely to complain. We do not censor posts, and intervene only when the community is getting upset with a posting or series of postings. If the OP had broken the rules, we would have deleted it, but barring rules violations, we let things ride, until it becomes clear that it’s creating discord and unproductive argument that is disturbing to other members.
Last, the vendors do not, and never have, had a grip on CoffeeGeek - not that they have not tried to pressure and bully Mark Prince and the moderators, as well as abused the forums (see the above-mentioned banned vendors). Mark is very adamant that we be impartial to all vendors wether they advertise on CoffeeGeek or not. If, for example, the original post was a rant by a vendor about a bad customer, and we had locked it after the vendor had posted twice, but the customer only once, and the customer wanted to have a last post in the interest of fairness, I imagine we might have allowed it also.
Thanks again for emailing your very thoughtful comments, and I will pass your comments (and my response) on to the other moderators, because we are always evaluating how we moderate the forums.
We have some damned fine moderators on CG’s forums :)