Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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The plain fact is that nobody has yet figured out the recipe for running a community website with a consistently high level of intellectual quality and debate that deals constructively with conflict). Despite that - even when this site falls short of our ideal of what it could (should) be, it is a lot closer to being a well-rounded, intellectually challenging and dispute-friendly site than any other I can think of.

We are all of us making it up as we go along - the FPers necessarily more than anyone. Essentially we are all clueless.

Which brings me to:

European Tribune - Comments - Why I am here

An intellectual leader is primarily concerned with the rigour of views and their expression, by the quality of evidence adduced, and the ideological context in which the narrative takes place. People who aren't necessarily very good at that can feel very intimidated when the heavyweights appear to line up against them.

A moderator, on the other hand, once he/she becomes aware that someone may be feeling hurt in a particular situation, is far less concerned with continuing or winning the argument, and far more concerned with protecting the perhaps more vulnerable member from digging an even bigger hole for themselves, or being even more exposed to harsher criticism.  It is a different orientation and skill set.

Well yes, in a perfect world these two functions should be separate and distinct, and we could hold the FPers to that standard.

But for fuck sake, this is a blog. The FPers are all amateurs (did I mention they were making it up as they go along?), as are the rest of us, in an endeavor in which there are no professional standards, no roadmap, no rule book.

Maybe we need develop approaches or methods for conducting disputes without hurting feelings too much. (Maybe that's even possible.) Maybe we need to do a weekly "dozens thread" a la the late PFF where anything goes.

Certainly this place sometimes falls short of what we want it to be. It will in future as well. And people will get pissed off.

But still: look what's been achieved.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 5th, 2009 at 09:43:13 AM EST
Yes, absolutely. I do wonder sometimes who some imagine the FPs to be. As you say, they aren't experts, they're regular people taking time out from their lives to do this as best they can. There's no training, no pay and damn little gratitude it seems.

We're a small, popular but not well-populated blog and we seem to do very well with limited resources. Not perfect, not self-satisfied, but doing okay.

Have we become repetitive with a small elite lecturing to a bunch of uncritical followers ? On economics, possibly. I know I know jack about the subject, but I know there's a heck of a lot wrong with the way things are and am glad to read a group of people here who can make sense of most of it and point me to people like Krugman for the rest.

We have been quite eclectic in our diaries, it's just that right now international economics is the only game in town, so it's gonna get discussed. A lot. So it skews the impression of the site. But that isn't how it was 9 months ago, nor is it how it'll be in 6 months when most of the stuff we're discussing will have been played out. We'll either be rising or falling but we won't be in this wait-state.

I dunno. Meta is okay, occasionally. But it can get overblown and emotional. Jerome does not wear his underpants on the outside of his trousers and ET is not gonna save the world; seems like we ain't even gonna Stop Blair after all. Sure we'd like to have consequence. And I'd like a pony, but it's not gonna happen

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 5th, 2009 at 10:23:11 AM EST
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I think a concrete way would be for FP:ers to split the duties among themselves - as they probably in some ways do today - with an eye towards seperating the tasks of producing high-quality material for the front-page and the task of moderating the discussions. Frank has in my view outlined the two tasks pretty good.

In my experience, organisational growth and specialisation needs often to go hand in hand. This looks like growth pains to me.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 9th, 2009 at 05:51:46 AM EST
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The use of a marked moderator (or 'sheriff' as they are known in Finnish chats) means that a temporarily designated member - with the designation clear to all from the changed nick - can do various moderating tasks with temporarily assigned editorial powers.

In the Finnish case, these are planned assignments by the owners or operators of the commercial chat, where trusted members of chats are given these powers, and they are usually rewarded for their moderating work. They work shifts, often moderating several threads concurrently.

The rewards are small - usually 'in kind', such as free membership.

In sheriff mode, these members do not take part in the discussion, but they can easily switch identities. Often the sheriff member will be taking part in the discussion and only switch to the sheriff mode when moderation is needed.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Apr 9th, 2009 at 06:13:10 AM EST
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