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The role of chat moderators
If you haven't seen our post about chat break week, take a look at that and then come back here.
As well as our wider discussion about group chat (which you can get involved with here), we would also like to talk to you guys about something specific: the role of our chat moderators.
Why do we have chat moderators?
Some of you will remember that when chat first began (a long time ago, far far away...), it was designed to be a space for you guys to hangout and chat to each other with the oversight of moderators. So we would be there to make sure everyone was being polite to one another, that guidelines were being followed and that everyone was feeling safe. We would provide support to make sure everyone felt heard, but it wasn't the main reason we were there.
Fast forward to now...
... and things feel a little different. The vibe among moderators and a lot of you guys seems to be that the moderators are there more as supporters that anything else; they're the ones people expect support from. Particularly for newcomers, that seems to be the culture people are accustom to.
There are a couple of problems with this. Firstly, it creates lots of 1-2-1 dynamics in the room rather than group discussion. You'll see lots of contained, separate conversations going on between two people, when ideally everyone would be talking to and supporting one another. Secondly, it means a lot of the support being given comes from a moderator rather than people able to speak honestly and openly from personal experiences. We honestly believe the most valuable and genuine support comes from you.
Why are we saying all this?
In light of this, we've been having conversations with our moderators and we've come up with an idea:
We'd like to kick start a 'culture shift' in group chat. We want to go back to our roots and create a group vibe, pulling away from the high amounts of 1-2-1 support currently being given by moderators. We want people to come to chat wanting to talk to the whole group rather than just moderators. We want you guys to own this this space because, really, it is yours.
What can I do?
We need your help if we're going to make this culture shift happen. We'd like everyone to come to chat ready to support people and generally chat to other members of the group. A lot of you already do this, which is amazing - you're in a prime position to lead this change with us.
You might not be sure what to add to the discussion - scroll up in the conversation and see if you can help someone out. Maybe you've seen someone reaching out for help and not being listened to - drop them a message and say hey. A newcomer might join the group - let them know how chat works.
Remember, we don't always need to provide in-depth support to be helpful to someone. Sometimes, letting someone know they're being heard and that someone cares can have a huge impact - you might have experienced this yourself.
Will moderators stop supporting people?
No, absolutely not. Mods will still provide some support to make sure everyone is being heard, and they will always be there to check that everyone feels safe. We will still be part of the group and will continue to get involved in discussions.
What if I don't want to help others or talk to people?
Sometimes we're just not in the mood to talk to people or we might have people muted and, of course, that's okay - the moderators will still be there to help out.
It's also worth noting the 'group' part of group chat. If you would like more direct support, we do offer a variety of one-to-one options if that's something you'd prefer. By coming to chat, you are agreeing to be a member of a group.
We're eager to know what you guys think about this - do you agree with what we said about the way chat works right now? What are your feelings on this 'culture shift' we're proposing? Do you have any suggestions of your own that could help?
Let us know your thoughs below and let's have a conversation about this.
Mike, Aife & Ed