Hiring a part-time MetaFilter moderator December 7, 2015 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Happy news: we're hiring. Specifically, a part-time, mostly-weekends US daytime moderator to help add a little wiggle room to the current daytime schedule. Take a look at the Jobs post, and drop us an application if it sounds like a good fit.

To give a little context for this decision, site finances have been good enough for the last year or so (thanks in no small part to the generous support of MetaFilter members and readers) that we can afford to spend a little more than we have been on payroll, which is a welcome change as the current moderator schedule is stretched pretty thin and scheduling time off is always a complicated dance at best. Filling this new position will mean we can do away with long weekend shifts and have more flexibility in scheduling.

So: we're looking for someone interested in and enthusiastic about the site; someone with a passion for MetaFilter but a cool-headed and diplomatic disposition toward conflicts and communication challenges; someone who has the right kind of schedule and availability to join the team and help keep this place kicking along like it has for the last sixteen years.

I'm excited to have this opportunity to bring someone new onto our team, and look forward to hearing from interested folks.
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 1:19 PM (286 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

This is really exciting! I'm so happy that you guys will be getting a bit more relief which you super deserve and I'm glad that you feel like you're in a stable enough financial position for this to work. Great news all around!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:30 PM on December 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


What about that GOP dildo guy? He seems to have a lot of time.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on December 7, 2015 [141 favorites]


We've been talking lately about more diversity in the mod gang. I am rooting for you guys finding someone ideally hitting all the right buttons and perhaps growing some big white wings and sprouting a halo too?
posted by infini at 1:42 PM on December 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


tim just dildon't
posted by poffin boffin at 1:48 PM on December 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would basically tell everyone to go pound sand the second they annoyed me. When can I start?
posted by bondcliff at 1:51 PM on December 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Bring Back W.T. Snacks.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:57 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I hope people who want to apply, will apply! It'd be sad if people don't apply due to "Imposter Syndrome" or anything like that. I know I'm interested in applying, but I have to chew over thinking if I'm good enough or not or if I'm too new for the site, as well as thinking about the time commitment, but I'd rather let the team decide for me.
posted by yueliang at 2:00 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry but ________ just isn't working out as a mod, because of [ ] bad deletions, [ ] unusual name, [ ] is obviously a Mrs. Pterodactyl sock.
posted by nom de poop at 2:01 PM on December 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Every day I would send an email about there being bananas in the break room.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


I actually don't have any sock puppets and if I did you'd know because they'd just show up to boost the numbers in Once Upon a Time FanFare threads and DC meetups.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I hope people who want to apply, will apply! It'd be sad if people don't apply due to "Imposter Syndrome" or anything like that.

Absolutely; we're interested in folks who are interested, not in an impressive CV or some super high threshold of visibility on the site. One of the reasons we're doing open hiring is, like last time we did this (back in 2012, which is how we first brought LobsterMitten and goodnewsfortheinsane on), that the number of smart, thoughtful members of the community who are interested in how the site operates and in trying to help out with that is undoubtedly much higher than the number of folks we could specifically name offhand and approach directly.

Moderating MetaFilter is an unusual job in a lot of different ways, but one of the particularly notable things about it is how much just having a good sense of and interest in this place matters. More than any prior moderation experience (most of us had none), more than any sort of credentials or name recognition. If you care about the site, are interested in helping it to be better, and have paid enough attention to MetaTalk to have a basic idea of how stuff goes here and feel like it's something you've got a decent disposition for, you're already in the right ballpark, and we want to hear from you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:13 PM on December 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm actually more interested in knowing how mrs P gets her sockpuppet to join the meetups...
posted by infini at 2:22 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh. Then ignore the email I just sent via the contact form, it was, um, just a joke.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:22 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really wish I had the disposition for this! I know I do not, but I hold the mods and their magical powers of diplomacy in high esteem. Someday, I hope to be someone who feels like "that is totally a job I could do!" Instead of "I would be a frothing disaster who banned everyone."
posted by stoneweaver at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2015 [30 favorites]


Can I apply for the angry, ranty, inappropriate immoderator position?
posted by taff at 2:44 PM on December 7, 2015 [27 favorites]


Can I apply for the angry, ranty, inappropriate immoderator position?

Well I'm not posting as much anymore...
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:55 PM on December 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Well I'm not posting as much anymore...

Pretty sure they replaced you with two people, seeing as how much work you did to fit that bill ;-)

(I kid I kid, I hug I hug!)
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:02 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've honestly seriously considered throwing my hat in the ring, but 7am is just so early ...
posted by dotgirl at 3:03 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


any unique qualifications you'd bring to the team

- blood
- vengeance
- human sacriifce
- the holmgang
posted by poffin boffin at 3:18 PM on December 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


And the bees?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:31 PM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just want to declare that I am demographically, attitudinally, psychologically and technologically unfit to apply for the position. Also Saturday Morning is the only time I can borrow a neighbor's truck to run large-scale errands. But I am willing to be on call to write better Deletion Reasons at a per-word fee that will cost you less than $5 a month.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:36 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can't wait to see who's picked.
posted by sweetkid at 3:42 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


yueliang, if the time commitments work out for you, I hope you apply! You seem diplomatic, community-minded, and thoughtful, like the rest of the moderator gang.
posted by thetortoise at 4:01 PM on December 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Now, is that 7AM Pacific time, or Eastern?
posted by yhbc at 4:22 PM on December 7, 2015


Pacific, praise be.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Bizarrely, I'm actually interested in applying.
posted by Kitteh at 4:33 PM on December 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm happy to announce that I am also hiring. I've just got too much work to handle all the shitposting, so will need to bring someon1 on board to cover shitposting between the hours of 12 and 12 EST. Pay will be commensurate with threshold for pain.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:54 PM on December 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


… so, once I get hired, I pretty much have to get a new username, right? Are those free to employees? Or can I just retroactively prune all the times I was a giant dick that I now regret?
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on December 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Or can I just retroactively prune all the times I was a giant dick that I now regret?

Could offer this benefit instead of actual spendable monies and applications would at least triple.
posted by amelioration at 5:52 PM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I am going through an increasingly grueling job search. Less than an hour ago I was lying around moping about it to my partner and he was gamely trying to distract me. He found out about Matt's dildo endeavor and he was like "Hey, it says this guy has something to do with Metafilter!" And I explained who Matt is and how he's no longer an active moderator on the website because of the Google-induced financial crisis and so forth. And he was like "Man wouldn't that be the perfect job for you!?"

And I laughed and laughed and explained all the reasons why moderating Metafilter would be a profoundly terrible job for anyone--among other things I used that metaphor where the principal of a school doesn't get to interact with all the cool, gracious, interesting kids. 99% of the time it's just assholes.

What I'm saying is that this is going to be a great way to figure out who the optimists are and who the cynical assholes like me are!
posted by zeusianfog at 6:00 PM on December 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Are those free to employees?

You can always spend your scrip at the company store.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:02 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can I be part of the hiring process?

1. I have done hundreds of interviews. You can be sure that I won't say something like "so, are you married? Got any kids? How old are you?"

2. Most likely, this new hire will be thinking whether I should be banned or not in the future.

That's all I got.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:02 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bah, timezones make this an impossibility (shift one would literally be 11pm to 7am my time) but I hope someone good gets it!
posted by divabat at 6:04 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to see who's picked.

Wait. Can this be a reality show? I think taz is still the fng..does she get to haze the new guy?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:05 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess jessamyn's not coming back?

(ducks)
posted by sweetkid at 6:09 PM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Can't cortex just make another Markov-chain–powered bot to do the job? Any loss of actual moderation quality would be made up for by the entertaining semi-coherent messages.
posted by Rangi at 6:11 PM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


About jessamyn - I still hope she might in the future if the right conditions exist. But we asked her about this job, and the hours/etc didn't work for her right now.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:12 PM on December 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I bet the hazing ritual for this site involves you having to moderate a MeTa thread about excessive deletions all by yourself. And the other mods use the queue to hold on to a really good one until your shift starts. That's just barbaric, you guys.
posted by teponaztli at 6:12 PM on December 7, 2015 [13 favorites]


I kind of assumed that's what they do all the time.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:15 PM on December 7, 2015


I bet the hazing ritual for this site involves you having to moderate a MeTa thread about excessive deletions all by yourself.

Heh, I sure do remember mine. And that was pre-queue.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:18 PM on December 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


But we asked her about this job, and the hours/etc didn't work for her right now.

Single-named ballers who are unavailable for moderator job:

1. Obama
2. LeBron
3. Ellen
4. Drake
5. Pope
6. Jessamyn

Although, seriously...Cher would be the greatest moderator ever. Have you even read her Twitter?
posted by hal_c_on at 6:19 PM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm happy to announce that I am also hiring. I've just got too much work to handle all the shitposting, so will need to bring someon1 on board to cover shitposting

Hello! This sounds like an interesting opportunity for someone of my radical professionalism. Here are my qualifications:

*Am going cage diving with great whites next year and I'm totally gonna try and punch one
*Stole a fossil from Canada
*Allergic to jellyfish. And babies
*Not really sure what the difference between jellyfish and babies is, actually
*Missed my own grandmother's funeral
*Went to the funeral of someone else's grandmother
*Named my boobs Wallace and Gromit
posted by barchan at 6:25 PM on December 7, 2015 [43 favorites]


"About jessamyn - I still hope she might in the future if the right conditions exist. But we asked her about this job, and the hours/etc didn't work for her right now."

"We could tell from the 20 minutes of sustained laughter that it wasn't the right fit for her right now."
posted by klangklangston at 6:30 PM on December 7, 2015 [71 favorites]


#1 Quidnunc Kid?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:43 PM on December 7, 2015 [32 favorites]


That's how I'll be voting. It's still elective gavelkind, right?
posted by Meatbomb at 6:49 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm cool-headed and diplomatic and I will fight any of you fuckers who say otherwise.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:00 PM on December 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


This is wonderful news, and I think will go a long way to improving life for the mods, and thus, ultimately the site.

I hope people can be a little kinder to the new mod than was true for some of the other new mods.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:00 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Curious why there's no salary range in the jobs posting...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:39 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


They're hoping the new mod will find value in the unique platform and reach that the position provides.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:42 PM on December 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Curious why there's no salary range in the jobs posting...

$20 SAIT, surely?
posted by Pink Frost at 7:46 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Nope nope nope nope nope.

Godspeed to the new hire, I wish I could do something like this but, like others have said, I know my limitations and they place me firmly in the camp of people who would miss sensitive cultural issues and nuance and write terrible deletion reasons after the fact that allowed users to rip me a new one and prove that I was far more biased or ignorant than was thought to be humanly possible up to this point in history. And I'd misspell something or use the improper word somewhere and would die a little when languagehat showed up to correct me.

Nope.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:49 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Curious why there's no salary range in the jobs posting...

Because I chose not to include one in the jobs posting. I aim to pay folks reasonably well, but this is a sufficiently idiosyncratic job that beyond knowing that it's a part-time job that comes with a decent paycheck I don't really want anybody applying first and foremost because they need the money and like the number they see in a listing or anything like that. It's not the sort of job where that kind of calculus is likely to work out well.

So I'll discuss compensation with applicants when we get as far as discussing compensation; if someone wants to broach a specific need or hard limit when they're writing to us, that's their call and we'll take it into consideration while we review the applications we get.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


And I'd misspell something or use the improper word somewhere and would die a little when languagehat showed up to correct me.

I don't think languagehat is really the type to correct someone for misusing a word. But if your moderator notes include things like "[I decimated the hell out of these loser comments, reducing the number by precisely one-tenth]", you may want to watch out.
posted by thetortoise at 8:38 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Time wouldn't be a problem (I'm usually awake by US hours), but seven months (I think) isn't one year, and uh... my moderation skills used to range from "too loose" to "invading Poland" waaaaaaaay too much
posted by lmfsilva at 8:40 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Barchan I'm going to need to see some references or prison tats, whichever are more plentiful.

But I'm leaning strongly towards passing out.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:45 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some diversity in things like political opinion would be welcome along with diversity in background.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:54 PM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've honestly seriously considered throwing my hat in the ring, but 7am is just so early ...

Hmmm, could I start work at 1am on a Sunday or Monday morning?
posted by Thella at 8:55 PM on December 7, 2015


thetortoise: That's "looser" comments.
posted by ODiV at 10:06 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really hope the shortlisted applicants post a bunch of ask questions about the interview and salary negotiation process. With barely disguised details:

"I have an interview for a job as moderator of a forum about beans. People get a little opinionated about beans sometimes so I know the job is going to be difficult. The job advert didn't give a salary range and now I have an interview with the guy in charge, we'll call him The Brain, and I think he's going to ask me my preferred salary range. How do I keep the upper hand in this? How do I avoid naming a number first? Also he mentioned something about dildos in my phone screen. Is that a red flag?"
posted by lollusc at 10:54 PM on December 7, 2015 [41 favorites]


"What's your position on dildos?"
posted by taz (staff) at 11:25 PM on December 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


^ just practicing my interview team questions, don't mind me
posted by taz (staff) at 11:26 PM on December 7, 2015 [26 favorites]


"Position" on "dildos"? I mean. You're just leaving yourself wide open with that.
posted by dotgirl at 11:42 PM on December 7, 2015 [25 favorites]


Will applicants need to own their own dildo? If so, what color and size?

Or will a dildo be provided? If so, what color and size?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 AM on December 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I applied because I've moderated at length before, and because this is the only place I know where I could conceivably put "semi-smutty art community" as a reference and not be laughed at.

Those places have a lot of drama. It's no small task.
posted by solarion at 12:36 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


… so, once I get hired, I pretty much have to get a new username, right? Are those free to employees? Or can I just retroactively prune all the times I was a giant dick that I now regret?
posted by klangklangston at 8:17 PM on December 7


Y'know, despite at least a dozen instances of headbutting/mutual giant dickishness over the years, I'd hugely support your being a mod in a heartbeat. Double the headbutting, same would-support: tonycpsu. Less head-butting: Brandon Blatcher, Bugbread, Jacqueline, JHarris, Justinian, and KathrynT.

Many of the above are people I've gotten tangled up with while the meds weren't working and despite fire-breathing polemic on my part stood firm but remained polite, continued to keep an open mind for the good arguments mixed in with the anger, and just seem like the type to reach for the "gentle warning to knock it off" button first, and the delete button second or even third. Smart, tough, natural de-escalators who care about the community - same as jessamyn & cortex.

There are a bunch of others but those are the ones where it's happened often enough that I thought of them within 15 seconds of asking myself "Huh. Who'd make a good mod?"

(Also there are a ton of people I really like but didn't mention basically because they're too nice in a gentler way)
posted by Ryvar at 1:58 AM on December 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wow, I feel the same way about every one of those names.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:01 AM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


misfish or smoke or I'm sulking!

Webgoddess, ubu or Fiasco da Gama or polychora also would be fab. As would embrangled. I miss her!

Lovecraft would amuse me.

Keep redthoughts away from the submit application button though. He's got seeeeerious baggage.
posted by taff at 3:20 AM on December 8, 2015


Lovely friends, I know your hearts are in the right place, but this isn't a nomination process, and we are only considering folks who apply, so if you do have someone in mind, feel free to contact them to encourage them to check it out, but we don't want pro and con debates of individuals here, please.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:44 AM on December 8, 2015 [31 favorites]


Uh. I was just doing a roll call of the Sydney meet up crowd. Preeeety sure redthoughts owes me wine.

I'll behave now. For a minute. Xx
posted by taff at 3:49 AM on December 8, 2015


I'd be a great candidate for this job because I stay up far too late so the time zone thing wouldn't be an issue. Also, I am a big fan of diplomacy. Next, I can bluff my way through many an argument and as my children will tell you, I always have a reason for telling people to stop doing things.

In conclusion, vote #1 h00py for next mod and watch me shit my pants in public.
posted by h00py at 5:43 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Totally disagree with Happy news: we're hiring. Specifically, a (etc). And I, for one, think that it will inevitably lead to the destruction of our society.

If we focus our forensic attentions on the details of this employment prospectus, we can clearly see that it encourages applications for a moderator to "weak" the "ends" of "US daytime," and to "add a little wiggle room to the current daytime schedule". In other words, the dark archon of this website is clearly interested in weakening the very limits of the notion of "day" and creating "wiggles" in our current understanding of this regular period of sunlight.

Until now, we have never faced such a threat to the popular notion that "daytime" begins with the sun's rising in the East, and ends with its disappearance over the Western horizon. But now, the photon-phobic ruler of MeFi is seeking to disrupt this ancient and divine schedule. If he succeeds in his abominable task, dawn and dusk will be bent to the whim of his moderation of time: the two edges of "daytime" will be wiggled and weakened until they come together, and daytime will exist no more. Permanent night - a night devoid of hopeful dawn - THAT is his disgusting, nocturnal plan for us all.

Well may you ask: "what kind of horrifying monster abjures daylight, save that he may more easily suck the very life-essence from his blinded victims? And why is it that we have never SEEN Count cortex sunbathing, or caught his reflection in the mirror? P.S. I hear he hates garlic!"

Yes, my friends - the old tales, the ancient rumours that we thought were forgotten - they all too true. A squire of Hell, the accursed wampir dwells among us, in the form of the one we know as "cortex". His ruinous plan to banish the goodly rays of the sun have been unveiled, and all that remains for us is to form an angry mob and march, pitchforks akimbo, upon his black tower, to UTTERLY cast him down from his throne of skulls.

In that context, please choose quidnunc kid brand pitchforks for YOUR angry, peasant mob. Lovingly hand-polished with Tunisian garlic oil, with handles made of pure wood (the active ingredient in wooden stakes) and with 14% silver-plated prongs, you can rest assured that quidnunc kid brand Pitchforks are YOUR best defence against both romantic teenage vampires and the other, less commercially attractive kind. So fork your pitch with quidnunc kid, because quidnunc's pitch is to fork with YOU.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:42 AM on December 8, 2015 [78 favorites]


*rolls eyes at the drunken Uncle in the room*
posted by infini at 6:47 AM on December 8, 2015


Iä! Iä!
posted by languagehat at 7:08 AM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


it's actually spelled "γιαγιά"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:12 AM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hire me, so that I may crush my enemies. Believe me, I've been keeping a list.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:13 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


this isn't a nomination process, and we are only considering folks who apply

OK BUT have you considered xBongZilla69x
posted by poffin boffin at 7:14 AM on December 8, 2015 [23 favorites]


"We could tell from the 20 minutes of sustained laughter that it wasn't the right fit for her right now."

Nah, it was nice to be asked but working on weekends is a total non-starter and I've got a lot going on. I really hope they find someone perfect.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:14 AM on December 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


If I'm hired I promise to only use one deletion reason:

"MEDIOCRE"
posted by selfnoise at 7:20 AM on December 8, 2015 [20 favorites]


"I would not want to moderate any club that would have someone like me as a moderator." - Groucho Marx? / co-signed
posted by Xavier Xavier at 7:45 AM on December 8, 2015


Apropos of nothing, "Pitchforks Akimbo" really would make a great band name. Or a time-travelling basketball player in a newly discovered Mark Twain novel.
posted by yhbc at 7:46 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Position" on "dildos"? I mean. You're just leaving yourself wide open with that.

...
posted by Melismata at 7:49 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one who experienced this paragraph above from cortex this way, right?

If you care about the site,

That's me!

are interested in helping it to be better,

That's definitely me! I can free up some weekend time.

and have paid enough attention to MetaTalk to have a basic idea of how stuff goes here

Couldn't be more me! Am I really going to apply for this?

and feel like it's something you've got a decent disposition for

Oh yeah, there's that.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:56 AM on December 8, 2015 [22 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: Me, me, me.
posted by ODiV at 8:10 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Twenty volunteer moderators of all stripes and time zones, rotating on schedule
posted by infini at 8:18 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Great news! May you have fantastic luck finding the right person.
posted by zarq at 8:23 AM on December 8, 2015


"Teacher says, every time a mod's hired, an angel get its wings."
posted by Chrysostom at 8:48 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nah, it was nice to be asked but working on weekends is a total non-starter and I've got a lot going on. I really hope they find someone perfect.

Come on, spill it. You just don't want to give up the cool "RETIRED" badge.

("REHIRED" would look spiff, though, too.)
posted by notyou at 9:12 AM on December 8, 2015 [11 favorites]


Clearly the right call is for me to do the job but under Jessamyn's account; no one will be the wiser, and it'll be win-win-win for all involved.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I'm hired I promise to only use one deletion reason:

"MEDIOCRE"


So before a flameout, I could post "WITNESS ME"?
posted by Mooski at 9:49 AM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wish I were a better fit. If I were, I would apply in an instant. :)
posted by kalessin at 9:55 AM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


If I'm hired I promise to only use one deletion reason:

"MEDIOCRE"


That could cause a confusing feedback loop for certain users.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:56 AM on December 8, 2015


it'll be win-win-win for all involved

Except for the chicken.
posted by kalessin at 9:57 AM on December 8, 2015


Winner, winner, chicken dicker!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2015


About the chicken.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:23 AM on December 8, 2015


I'd really love to start nominating people (I called LM, just saying) but what I mostly want to do is bask in the relative success and stability that the site is facing if this is a possibility.

YAY!
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:30 AM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would do this only if I could post reaction gifs for the deletion reasons.
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hey, can we nominate people and then you can draft them? I nominate rtha, Frowner, nebulawindphone and Eyebrows McGee. I'd nominate Greg Nog, who is pretty chill in person but... you know.
posted by desjardins at 10:47 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Really pleased to hear that MeFi has the funding for this. It'll be interesting to see who gets picked; I'm sure they'll be great. I hope the site continues to do grow and prosper in the coming years.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


desjardins - see taz's comment upthread.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2015


Yeah, to reiterate what taz said: if you feel like "hey, person x would be a great mod", the good way to go is to write them a note privately saying as much, not put them on the spot in the thread here. All good intentions notwithstanding, this isn't a nomination process.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:55 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are applications limited to humans? Or are they open to all Turing test passers that generate good deletion notes?
posted by ignignokt at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


oh, I guess I'm automatically disqualified because I never read the whole thread.
posted by desjardins at 11:13 AM on December 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


If I'm hired I promise to only use one deletion reason: "MEDIOCRE"

If I'm hired I promise to conclude all of my modly communications with: HERE ENDETH THE LESSON.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:17 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is one of those positions where anyone who really wants it oughtn't ever get it and whoever oughta get it sure as heck don't want it.
posted by carsonb at 11:17 AM on December 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


Are those free to employees?

You can always spend your scrip at the company store.


Can you just imagine the epic wave of shit a BND moderator would get?
posted by carsonb at 11:20 AM on December 8, 2015


“For the last century, almost all top political appointments [on the planet Earth] had been made by random computer selection from the pool of individuals who had the necessary qualifications. It had taken the human race several thousand years to realize that there were some jobs that should never be given to the people who volunteered for them, especially if they showed too much enthusiasm. As one shrewed political commentator had remarked: “We want a President who has to be carried screaming and kicking into the White House — but will then do the best job he possibly can, so that he’ll get time off for good behavior.”

― Arthur C. Clarke, Imperial Earth
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on December 8, 2015 [25 favorites]


"The only absolute disqualification for public office is the desire to hold it."

Also Clarke, I think, but I can't find the cite.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah he used fancy words.
posted by carsonb at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Several of my sockpuppets would be brilliant at this. I, myself, though, am too much of a jerk.
posted by This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things at 11:38 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see cortex whip up a modbot. It would be based on acorpus of

- existing user comments, classified as either deleted or non-deleted
- existing posts, same classification
- existing mod deletion comments
- existing mod comments that are dropped into threads.

Of course, I also wanted the quidnunc kid to be given exclusive mod powers for a 24-hour period, so I probably shouldn't be listened to.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:43 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Curious why there's no salary range in the jobs posting...

Think of the exposure!

I'm on the fence about this -- my Saturdays are wide open since the wife took a new job, but our Sundays together are our only sanctuary from life. Working all day Sunday would go over like a lead brick with certain halves of the Rancher family duopoly. Dang.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:07 PM on December 8, 2015


Can you just imagine the epic wave of shit a BND moderator would get?

There was a script in an answer to a recent AskMe question that, slightly adjusted, would work perfectly for this situation:
"We wanted to let you know that FormerMod is no longer at Metafilter. The leadership team and their peers appreciate their many contributions over the past six years, including X, Y, and Z.

Today we welcome our new team member, BNDMod, who will be taking on FormerMod's role. BNDMod comes with six years of experience in widget-making and we know they'll pick up right where FormerMod left off. We're excited to have BNDMod join our team!"
posted by Dip Flash at 12:18 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know you've said this is not a nominating process, and I suppose it's probably not a place to workshop the job description. Nevertheless, given the conversation that's been going on here for the past months/years, it seems critical that you all hire a mod who can be responsive to a diversity of users. To that end, is it possible to add to the preferred qualifications something to the effect of "experience supporting and promoting a diverse and inclusive community"? Making that an explicit qualification will likely broaden your pool of applicants; it will also require you to consider it in your evaluative criteria. I am taking as a given that between two equally qualified candidates, one who is an expert in diversity (in whatever fashion) and one who is not, you would prefer the former. I think it would be much appreciated to make that clear.
posted by one_bean at 12:41 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


We definitely encourage anybody to apply who thinks they'd be good at the job and for whom the logistics (hours/etc) work out. That emphatically includes people of different backgrounds from the current mod team.

If you have somebody in mind who would be good, by all means reach out to them and suggest they apply. We've tried to make the application process brief and easy, so hopefully there won't be a barrier to entry there.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:55 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Diversity in hiring has very much been on my mind, yeah, in particular in the wake of some of those recent conversations, and it's something we'll take into consideration insofar as its something applicants want to disclose. Like you say, given the choice between two otherwise comparable, best-fit candidates where one of them brings that additional experience and skillset to the table, it'd be an obvious pick to go with that candidate.

That said, I'm not comfortable presenting the idea that applicants are required or obliged or at a disadvantage if they fail to choose to disclose anything along those lines, even folks who that would in theory be a mark in favor for. "Establish your identity/diversity bona fides" feels like a not good path to go down, as much as I understand the good motivation behind the suggestion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:55 PM on December 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


I am so very on the fence about applying, in light of all that. I think in the end I won't. Primarily due to shift hours required. I need weekend time to deal with eldercare.

I think it would also be a lot of work to demonstrate good fit, given my expressed concerns about mod team decisions regarding SJ topics and related issues.

And finally I sort of feel like commenting on this thread at all in any jokey way should already be sort of disqualifying.
posted by kalessin at 1:08 PM on December 8, 2015




NOMINATE ME NOW AND I WILL
GIVE YOU YOUR 5 DOLLARS BACK AND
ALLOW YOU TO POST TWICE EVERY SINGLE DAY AND
BRING BACK EMBEDDED IMAGES.

VOTE FOCI TODAY - OR GET SHANKED TOMORROW.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:28 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are applications limited to humans? Or are they open to all Turing test passers that generate good deletion notes?

How about cats? Neither of our cats have generated much revenue with their respective startups, and maybe if they get a job they'll stop bugging us at 5 am.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:30 PM on December 8, 2015 [7 favorites]



Diversity in hiring has very much been on my mind, yeah, in particular in the wake of some of those recent conversations, and it's something we'll take into consideration insofar as its something applicants want to disclose. Like you say, given the choice between two otherwise comparable, best-fit candidates where one of them brings that additional experience and skillset to the table, it'd be an obvious pick to go with that candidate.

That said, I'm not comfortable presenting the idea that applicants are required or obliged or at a disadvantage if they fail to choose to disclose anything along those lines, even folks who that would in theory be a mark in favor for. "Establish your identity/diversity bona fides" feels like a not good path to go down, as much as I understand the good motivation behind the suggestion.


I think this is kind of a really interesting point. I definitely support diversity in hiring (I am a diverse myself!) but lately when we've talked about diversity there's been a "prove how diverse you REALLY are" type feel that I would really, really hate to compound on a new mod.
posted by sweetkid at 1:32 PM on December 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


And finally I sort of feel like commenting on this thread at all in any jokey way should already be sort of disqualifying.

VOTE FOCI TODAY - AND HE WILL BAN THIS PERSON TOMORROW ಠ_ರೃ
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:42 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I sort of feel like commenting on this thread at all in any jokey way should already be sort of disqualifying.

That's cool. And I would find someone who couldn't abide any degree of levity very unsatisfactory myself. Fortunately for both of us, probably, neither of us will get to make that call.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:46 PM on December 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


I sort of feel like commenting on this thread at all in any jokey way should already be sort of disqualifying.

CONTROVERSY
posted by shakespeherian at 1:51 PM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


We are now hiring two moderators. :P
posted by Drinky Die at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


FREE QUONSAR
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Free Quonsar? I thought Quonsar was $20, same as in town?
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I think this is kind of a really interesting point. I definitely support diversity in hiring (I am a diverse myself!) but lately when we've talked about diversity there's been a "prove how diverse you REALLY are" type feel that I would really, really hate to compound on a new mod."

We've listened to your concerns and regret to inform you that you are the new mod.
posted by klangklangston at 2:12 PM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's fights McFighterson around here.
posted by kalessin at 2:14 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is it?
posted by sweetkid at 2:16 PM on December 8, 2015


No, it isn't.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:22 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


LONG-HAIRED FREAKY PEOPLE NEED NOT APPLY
so I tucked all my hair up under my hat, and I went in to ask him why
posted by yhbc at 2:26 PM on December 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Nobody who likes Tesla need apply.
posted by selfnoise at 2:36 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can I nominate robocop is bleeding? I'd love to have mod notes in that "what did I just read" style all the time.
posted by qcubed at 2:38 PM on December 8, 2015


no stop nominating people
posted by sweetkid at 2:40 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Part of affirmative action is seeking out and encouraging candidates who are in under-represented groups. I encourage all y'all to MeMail or otherwise contact potential mods who meet that criteria.
posted by theora55 at 2:49 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you're looking for diversity, look no further! I watch Marvel AND DC shows.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:51 PM on December 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


Honey Badgers are welcome to apply.
posted by Namlit at 2:59 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Damn you, stupid US time zones. Damn you to hell!
posted by billiebee at 3:03 PM on December 8, 2015


"no stop nominating people"

Is that you, Gen. Sherman?
posted by klangklangston at 3:08 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nobody who likes Tesla need apply.

That's silly. Everyone knows that Tesla rules.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:11 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


But what about Topsy?
posted by kalessin at 3:27 PM on December 8, 2015


"no stop nominating people"

Is that you, Gen. Sherman?


Are we fighting now?
posted by sweetkid at 3:31 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems like people are responding to a request for the new mod to be diverse in some way, but the request from one bean, at least, asked for a new mod to be able to work well with a diverse and inclusive community.

In the interview for my current job I was asked what my experiences were with working with [group A] and [group B], who I would work with in my job, and basically how I knew I could do it well. I think it can work framed that way.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:37 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


what my experiences were with working with [group A] and [group B]

No, I disagree. Diverse groups (PoC for example) are not people to be "worked with." I think "there should be diversity in mod staff" can only be addressed properly with actual representation.

Do I think that should be the only criterion for this round of hiring, absolutely not. The fact that they're thinking of the hiring within that framing is important, though.
posted by sweetkid at 3:42 PM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Are we fighting now?"

General Sherman's opinion on nominations.
posted by klangklangston at 3:46 PM on December 8, 2015


That said, I'm not comfortable presenting the idea that applicants are required or obliged or at a disadvantage if they fail to choose to disclose anything along those lines, even folks who that would in theory be a mark in favor for. "Establish your identity/diversity bona fides" feels like a not good path to go down, as much as I understand the good motivation behind the suggestion.

I never said anything about identifying as a PoC or checking a specific box that would fulfill some sort of identity quota. What I said was prioritizing hiring a mod with experience supporting diverse and inclusive communities. That says nothing about the identity of the person, it speaks to their experience thinking about and, ideally, acting on the kinds of community building things that a new mod should be able to do. Somebody who has thought carefully about social justice issues that are still difficult topics on Metafilter. You can look through previous AskMes about this kind of job question to see how people might answer. For some people it might indeed start with a thoughtful response about what it's been like to be a PoC on the internet or Metafilter specifically. For other people it might be like "well I was a librarian and I noticed there weren't a lot of X group participating in Y community event, so I did Z to make all people feel more comfortable participating. It seems like that's as important to the position as, say, basic HTML skills and if you're not going to put it as an important qualification I certainly hope you'll ask about it in the interview.
posted by one_bean at 4:55 PM on December 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


The UC system, for example, asks faculty candidates to describe exactly what I'm talking about as part of their evaluation. Here's UC-San Diego's description of the importance and motivation for requesting a statement describing candidates' efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, with examples of what sorts of activities might fit the bill. This is about actions and experiences, not identity.
posted by one_bean at 5:04 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The UC system is still overwhelmingly white, though, at least on the faculty level.
posted by teponaztli at 5:56 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've casually thrown my hat in the ring. I actually have the time, skills, and location, and preexisting regular day job and plenty of internets.

I'm also a lot calmer and less fighty since I moved to a small peaceful hippie weirdo town and I live in the trees and woods with birds chirping around me like I'm frickin' Snow White on an extended vacation, which means I'm just thick skinned enough that verbal abuse never bothers me, but sensitive enough to care.

Plus I make a mean prison shank and I can totally hook you up with this guy I know for that stuff you were asking about.
posted by loquacious at 6:03 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Although, seriously...Cher would be the greatest moderator ever. Have you even read her Twitter?

It would mean an exponential increase in emojis. Is there one for banhammer?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:22 PM on December 8, 2015


And finally I sort of feel like commenting on this thread at all in any jokey way should already be sort of disqualifying.

Good thing it's sort of not your call to make, then.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 7:48 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


How hard could it be? Seems like a bunch of sitting down. Is there a Words Per Minute typing requirement?
posted by oceanjesse at 8:04 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, so this is twice folks have reacted strongly to my assertion about jokeyness and I agree that it is in fact a good thing it's not my call to make. In fact, I think there should only be one cortex in the world and it's clear to me that I am not he. :)
posted by kalessin at 8:06 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


One_bean makes a good point though, there isn't anything about diversity in the job post.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I am happy to be wrong, and I understand that folks feel I overstepped in expressing that opinion, but honestly it would be more awesome to be told I'm wrong by the decision-maker rather than just anyone who feels like piling on.
posted by kalessin at 8:11 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wasn't "piling on." I was expressing my opinion that humorlessness isn't a mod-ly virtue. Shit, cortex is one of the funniest people I know. This is where the community comes to hash things out. You expressed an opinion. I expressed my disagreement. Neither of us will be mods. Everybody wins.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 8:14 PM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


So like, I am unsure how my opinion about jokey responses to this one thread somehow gets conflated with "kalessin doesn't have a sense of humor" and I'm kind of sick of that conflation because it's rife in, for example, feminist and antiracist activism, which I am deep into, so it happens a lot that when I'm being serious I get derailed and fucked over by being accused of having no sense of humor. In fact, I have a deep and broad sense of humor, but when it's time for serious subjects I often eschew it. But that doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humor. At all. But I am kind of sick of being accused of not having one. It feels unfair and unwarranted. You dick. :)
posted by kalessin at 8:19 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


FFS, if you wanted zero pushback from fellow users, why post in MeTa at all? Email the mods if that's the direct feedback you want.

Glad there's room in the budget for a new mod. I trust the current ones to choose wisely, and I'm definitely glad it's not being put to a vote, much less a nominating process.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 8:20 PM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


As am I.
posted by kalessin at 8:21 PM on December 8, 2015


I didn't see your latest comment, kalessin, when replying above. Just so you know. You dick! :) I'm sure you have a lovely sense of humor. It's all good.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 8:21 PM on December 8, 2015


I mean, kalessin brought up discomfort with the jokes, and two separate people have sharply said that they disagree. Frankly, I thought there was a lot of pushback to their comment, too. I get the urge to say that you disagree, Xavier, but maybe leave it at one disagreement and let it sit.

On that note, can we drop the joking derail thing? The jokes didn't sit all that great with me either, and I was pretty glad kalessin said something. But if the thread's going to get derailed into whether joking is permissible and/or whether those of us weirded out by it are humorless drones, that's not going to be a particularly productive conversation.
posted by sciatrix at 8:21 PM on December 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


....and on preview, hey, maybe you guys hashed shit out as I was typing. Dammit.

*shuffles into a corner*
posted by sciatrix at 8:22 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I only hope that corner contains a plate with cookies on it. You do good work, sciatrix.
posted by kalessin at 8:31 PM on December 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, this got boring! Look at what the abscence of joking has done, killed things deader than Dillinger. This is totally the sort of MeTa I'm going to close with extreme prejudice following my initiation/coronation/chaining to the Stone of Triumph.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:30 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some diversity in things like political opinion would be welcome along with diversity in background.

Oh shit. Ben Carson is gonna be a mod, y'all!
posted by hal_c_on at 4:20 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some diversity in things like political opinion would be welcome...

Fine, if an Image comic gets made into a tv show, I'll watch that too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


It would mean an exponential increase in emojis. Is there one for banhammer?

⚒☠⚒
posted by hal_c_on at 4:28 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


on diversity: how about someone who's not usian, middle class, university educated? it sometimes feels like this is a university campus round here. and i am not sure that selection by making people jump through the same hoops that gets them into university will change things that much. i remember feeling kind of sad that mefi can't also be an answer to this question.
posted by andrewcooke at 6:44 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that in the US, political divisiveness has gotten so bad and so depersonalized that the red/blue state divisions are almost a matter of survival for folks who are in one or more minority groups. So sure it might be more awesome for folks in majority groups if Metafilter got more moderate and were more red state but that would significantly change its nature for folks like me.

Metafilter is finally, after long, very difficult conversations carried out by minority folks at our extreme disadvantage, starting to make serious progress in becoming more welcoming to a diverse lot of minority members. Going more red state won't help us there since social conservativism in the US is the antithesis of that.
posted by kalessin at 7:12 AM on December 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


Catching up a little:

I never said anything about identifying as a PoC or checking a specific box that would fulfill some sort of identity quota. What I said was prioritizing hiring a mod with experience supporting diverse and inclusive communities. That says nothing about the identity of the person, it speaks to their experience thinking about and, ideally, acting on the kinds of community building things that a new mod should be able to do.

Ah, I get you now, one_bean. I think it's that the some of the previous discussion folks have referenced here involved some talk about explicit representation—in particular about hiring one or more persons of color as mods as a response to the current team being white folks—that ended up leading me to collapse that farther than you were trying to propose. My fault, not yours; sorry for the misunderstanding there.

Of which:

Making that an explicit qualification will likely broaden your pool of applicants; it will also require you to consider it in your evaluative criteria.

We'll consider it in our evaluative criteria regardless, though; like I said, it's been on my mind a lot, lately particularly but to a degree for years now, and is one of several things we'll need to size up any promising candidate for as we move through the selection process. There's a lot of other stuff also not enumerated in the jobs listing that's important for a good fit, all of it in the interest of keeping the actual listing pretty concise. My suspicion is that a more detailed list of issues or expectations would narrow rather than broaden our applicant pool by causing a lot of actually pretty good-fit candidates to talk themselves out of being sufficiently flawlessly qualified, which for an odd job like this would be a loss for the team and for MetaFilter.

Basically, an awareness of and ability to talk as the process continues about the sorts of conversations that we've been having in MetaTalk over time is a core qualifier for me; that includes, among other things, the conversations we've been having about how MetaFilter talks, and sometimes fails at it, about stuff related to minority experiences on the site, in our membership, and in the world at large. Anyone who doesn't have a reasonably lucid and thoughtful take on that is unlikely to be a great fit; anyone who doesn't realize that's even been an issue isn't spending enough time plugged into MetaTalk or the community at large to be a likely candidate at all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:43 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


and i am not sure that selection by making people jump through the same hoops that gets them into university will change things that much

andrewcooke, I'm not sure if "hoops" is a figleaf for something else here or if I'm just not following you, but the MetaFilter hiring process hasn't got anything in common with the college application process beyond involving someone literally sending us an application of some sort at one point, which means it also has a lot in common with applying at Taco Bell or trying to win a cereal box prize. A college education certainly isn't one of the requirements or expectations, in any case; neither is being middle class or American (though given the hours needed, the western hemisphere's demographically likely).
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 AM on December 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


And finally I sort of feel like commenting on this thread at all in any jokey way should already be sort of disqualifying.

Which, it's an interesting thing, the vibe of MetaFilter and MetaTalk, and how that plays into working here. For the record I don't really have any specific response to kalessin or anybody else on the exchange upthread that started with this quoted comment, I think people can and do have differing opinions on everything including humor and whatnot and that can generate some friction. But if there's some specific question there let me know. In any case, joking around in the thread is neither an inherently disqualifying issue nor something that's gonna get anyone a job; that we have a discussion thread for this job post is more a quirk of how MetaFilter as a community is structured than something that actually makes a ton of sense in the broader realm of hiring processes. Core thing is, this thread is not the place where applications or hiring decisions are being made, so probably best to not read too much into it or hang too much on it in any case.

But I figure it's worth acknowledging the sort of "I contain multitudes" nature of being visible as both a mod and a mefite participant in discussions, and the complicated mix of meeting place, policy discussion venue, and social hangout that MetaTalk threads in particular tend to be here. It's one of the unique (and to me really interesting) parts of how MetaFilter works, that we have this general and relatively wide-open place dedicated specifically to community self-reflection and meta-chatter, and all the discussions and arguments that have gone on over the years about What MetaTalk Is For point to the social complexity of this place.

Which is all to say: MetaTalk's a place for serious discussion, and it's a place for goofing around, and the twain do indeed meet a lot but not always on terms that everybody's happy about. One person's mild joke is another person's jab, and one person's goofy rejoinder is another's sharp rebuke. Sorting that out can be messy, and, to come back around to the top, the thing that is a qualifying issue for a potential mod is being able to sort of navigate that mess, and to zoom out a bit and sort it out from above. Sometimes that means trying to talk out some friction between folks; sometimes that means knowing when to try and lighten the mood a little; sometimes that means writing a serious answer to a half-goofy question; etc. There's a lot of reading the room, there's a lot of trying to bridge the gap between two people or two camps who are at odds but who both have decent reasons for feeling the way they do about that point of conflict.

All of that isn't really a "what does someone do in this thread" thing; it's a more general dispositional thing, and probably I would say something that anybody seriously considering applying has thought about a bit already, since again having a sense of the kind of complex, sometimes difficult place MetaTalk can be and what it takes as a mod to navigate that successfully is a pretty core part of being a good fit for the job.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on December 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Thanks cortex! I'll keep that firmly in mind. :)
posted by kalessin at 8:49 AM on December 9, 2015


One person's mild joke is another person's jab, and one person's goofy rejoinder is another's sharp rebuke. Sorting that out can be messy, and, to come back around to the top, the thing that is a qualifying issue for a potential mod is being able to sort of navigate that mess, and to zoom out a bit and sort it out from above. Sometimes that means trying to talk out some friction between folks; sometimes that means knowing when to try and lighten the mood a little; sometimes that means writing a serious answer to a half-goofy question; etc. There's a lot of reading the room, there's a lot of trying to bridge the gap between two people or two camps who are at odds but who both have decent reasons for feeling the way they do about that point of conflict.

I can't help but hear this in Jerry Springer's voice when he does his recap at the end of the show.

"Take care of yourselves, and each other."
posted by sweetkid at 9:27 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


on diversity: how about someone who's not usian, middle class, university educated?

Just as a data point, I am not university educated (besides a handful of first-year community college classes, half of which were things like tai chi and music theory. Dell was paying and I was bored.) I'd also hesitate to make assumptions about my coworkers' class backgrounds - we're middle class *now*, because Metafilter pays decently and we can live wherever, but there's no reason to assume we all grew up that way.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:48 AM on December 9, 2015 [30 favorites]


Metafilter is finally, after long, very difficult conversations carried out by minority folks at our extreme disadvantage, starting to make serious progress in becoming more welcoming to a diverse lot of minority members. Going more red state won't help us there since social conservativism in the US is the antithesis of that.

Social conservatives are capable of separating their personal beliefs from their professional obligations. I think the diversity of viewpoint such a person joining the team might bring could be beneficial, just as a part of the team, not as a voice that is going to be dominating or majorly changing the nature of moderation here.

They might be helpful with offering a perspective on some of the issues we have had with comments on the site that make people from the American south feel uncomfortable for example.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:56 AM on December 9, 2015


I think if I were to see a new mod who purported to be more socially conservative at this juncture in MetaFilter's narrative, would likely move on and find another way to spend my free time.
posted by kalessin at 10:13 AM on December 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


me too.
posted by sweetkid at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, that happens, sometimes people outgrow a community.

As to the personal viewpoints of the mods, I'm pleased to say I can't recall specifics of the current crop, other than a general live and let philosophy. That's often regarded as liberal, but that's just the heated political rhetoric of these days.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Frankly aside from a general leftist vibe of 'be excellent to each other' I don't feel like I have a particularly good lock on the political views of the mods so it feels like kind of a weird ask, DD.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:30 AM on December 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Same. You know how cortex was talking about needing to read the room? I am not actually convinced that a social conservative who is really comfortable with Metafilter has the finesse to read rooms and modify discussions on a level that will keep most of the userbase happy and comfortable.

I say this because in order to hang out with people you strongly disagree with on a fundamental level (and social politics, yes, are that fundamental level), you need to have a certain level of stubbornness and, hrm, not really paying attention to small disagreements, because you'll run into them extremely frequently. You have to calibrate your attendance to small irritations down. You run into angry people enough that you have to downgrade your sensitivity to disagreement, or you'd be paralyzed by it or driven out.

Mods need to have some of that stubbornness--you can't be so flexible that the users run roughshod over you--but as cortex points out, mods also have to be really sensitive to how the tone of the overall conversation is going so that they can make small decisions intended to steer that conversation on the fly. I don't think that someone who is socially conservative enough to be selected on base of that social conservativeness has the sensitivity, at this point, to be able to read the room on the level that being a mod requires. Or they wouldn't be here, in this community; they'd be in a socially conservative community reading those rooms and figuring out how to steer them into community cohesion. You see? You want someone who is in agreement with enough of the userbase to be able to feel where community tensions are without a fundamental disagreement in social politics throwing a shit ton of noise into your signal.

tl, dr: with kalessin and sweetkid on this one. Southernness and ruralness are not the same thing as having social conservative politics, and having liberal politics is not the same thing as sneering at the south and midwest. That's... actually the entire point of the MeTa I made last month.
posted by sciatrix at 10:30 AM on December 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


I would describe the mods as progressive in their approach to moderation on this site. If they were coming from a social conservative point of view, they wouldn't have the tools to approach sexism, trans*, PoC, etc topics the way they do. Whatever their personal views they're managing the site in a progressive way (and it literally has *progressed* in the nine years I've been here) so a socially conservative mod wouldn't have the tools and background to make the same kinds of decisions.
posted by sweetkid at 10:34 AM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]



Well, that happens, sometimes people outgrow a community

I think it's more about what kind of site we as a community would like to be part of.
posted by sweetkid at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not something I often talk about but it may be useful as a data point here. Social conservative rhetoric hinges in part on the idea that social liberals already have enough rights/privileges/etc. and are now going too far and asking for more than our fair share. From my perspective this is objectively false. Women are still paid between 60 to 70 cents to a man's dollar. Non-whites still get called less often for interviews. There's bias and prejudice against minorities that's repeatedly and nauseatingly proven over and over again to ears unwilling to hear it.

Social conservatives often accuse we liberals of asking and pushing for too much, but don't allow for the fact that my merely getting along with social conservatives and existing in a socially conservative society is already impinging on my rights and ability to freely express myself significantly. That I disagree, and that I can express that disagreement mostly civilly means I am already spending a lot of time and energy on fitting in enough to harmonize with the conversation even while I dissent. I rarely if ever get credit for doing this emotional labor and it is not at all insignificant.
posted by kalessin at 10:43 AM on December 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


"We could tell from the 20 minutes of sustained laughter that it wasn't the right fit for her right now

Don't be ridiculous. After 10 minutes, Lobster Mitten went to the breakroom and got her a paper bag to breathe into so she wouldn't turn blue.

Re diversity:

Folks living in South America would be in the right time zone and would add some diversity. I saw this work well for a time on some other US-centric forum.

Third culture kids, former military members and military dependents (or former dependents) are all a good bet for people used to dealing with a high level of diversity who may already know some best practices yadda yadda.
posted by Michele in California at 10:43 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


h, I get you now, one_bean. I think it's that the some of the previous discussion folks have referenced here involved some talk about explicit representation—in particular about hiring one or more persons of color as mods as a response to the current team being white folks—that ended up leading me to collapse that farther than you were trying to propose. My fault, not yours; sorry for the misunderstanding there.

Thanks for your response - my fault for not being more explicit, and thanks for taking it into consideration. Congrats on being able to hire a new position!
posted by one_bean at 10:44 AM on December 9, 2015


Yeah, by definition a social conservative wouldn't work well here unless his or her moderation decisions jibed with the community's. Perhaps you're looking for a fiscal conservative?

Anyway, I would hope that any mod would follow community guidelines rather than his or her own ideology when acting in an official capacity.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:55 AM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Social conservatives are capable of separating their personal beliefs from their professional obligations. I think the diversity of viewpoint such a person joining the team might bring could be beneficial, just as a part of the team, not as a voice that is going to be dominating or majorly changing the nature of moderation here.

This is a social community. There are social conservative positions that are undeniably racist and sexist. Do we want a mod who will refuse to delete comments or posts that espouse those prejudices? Who won't speak out against 'em? Speaking only for myself here, I'd vote "no."

Also, there's a tendency with social conservatives to embrace a false equivalency narrative in the interest of "fairness." This is usually put forth as an argument that all viewpoints should be allowed an airing, in order to prevent harm/censorship, etc. That's why Fox News pushes "Fair and Balanced" as their marketing tagline. In practice of course, what they do is consistently offer their viewers False Choice / False Dilemma Fallacies. Such as, "Barack Hussein Obama: Muslim Community Organizer or Terrorist Sympathizer?"

There are at least a few topics where this approach simply will not work on Metafilter simply because it will alienate groups of people. We don't need endless conversations about whether rape culture exists, for example. Or whether victims somehow invited their abuse. And anyone who takes a moderator position does need to understand why incessant doubling down on a topic or endless devil's advocate "just asking questions" behavior (to give two examples) are destructive.
posted by zarq at 10:56 AM on December 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


If the hired-on social conservative will completely separate out their views from their work then what is the point in advocating for their hire?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:05 AM on December 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


What sort of “social conservative” are we talking about? Is there a particular exemplar of tolerant social conservatism that we’d be looking to as an exception to the stereotypical / true rule?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kinda feel like an extended argument about the nature and implications of social conservatism is gonna take this in a weirder direction than it needs to go. We're hiring a moderator, not an ideologue; the ability to work thoughtfully and compassionately with the community is the core thing, and to the degree that someone's personal politics matter it's only in the secondary sense of how that informs the work they actually do here. If the work they do is good and serves the MetaFilter community well, that's the important thing.

I know less about the specific politics of my coworkers-of-many years than I feel like some folks are expecting they as members ought to know about a notional new hire. I can confidently say that they're good people who listen to and are concerned with meeting the complicated needs of the MetaFilter community, and I can guess about some of their various bits of political belief on an individual basis, but (and I'd find it surprising if this was really surprising, I guess) I don't actually like talking about personal politics qua personal politics in the workplace and don't like making other people do so either.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2015 [24 favorites]


I can confidently say that they're good people who listen to and are concerned with meeting the complicated needs of the MetaFilter community, and I can guess about some of their various bits of political belief on an individual basis...

Eh, everyone knows LM is a FlatEarther.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do we want a mod who will refuse to delete comments or posts that espouse those prejudices?

If you don't do your job then you probably won't have it for long. I don't see someone like this getting past the application process, personally, but maybe I'm wrong.

I think it'd be nice to have a non-American, since I think almost everyone is American. The hours for this position (and the site activity in general) make this a bit difficult though, I guess. I don't really have a solid reason for this besides my peevish bitterness that this place is far too America-centric.
posted by ODiV at 11:20 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


"How hard could it be? Seems like a bunch of sitting down. Is there a Words Per Minute typing requirement?"

You also have to be able to lift at least 50 pounds above your head, since every day all the threads are printed out on a dot matrix and stored in a banker box archive.

"Oh shit. Ben Carson is gonna be a mod, y'all!"

MetaTalk was created to store grain.
posted by klangklangston at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


"I think it'd be nice to have a non-American, since I think almost everyone is American. The hours for this position (and the site activity in general) make this a bit difficult though, I guess. I don't really have a solid reason for this besides my peevish bitterness that this place is far too America-centric."

IIRC, Taz is an American living in Greece, Vacapinta is an "American" in the broader sense but living in London, and GNFTI is a flying Dutchman cursed to roam the seas.
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Taz is an American living in Greece

I thought that was LobsterMitten? Or are they the same person?
posted by Going To Maine at 11:27 AM on December 9, 2015


Nope, that's taz. LM's on the east coast of the US.

Also, I've been to Canada twice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:28 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


MittenTazLobsterMod
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on December 9, 2015


"Oh shit. Ben Carson is gonna be a mod, y'all!"

MetaTalk was created to store grain.


There is no good reason we can't have a Goa'uld moderator. They have some controversial opinions on the enslavement of the human race, but spammers find the glowing eyes highly intimidating.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:33 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


They might be helpful with offering a perspective on some of the issues we have had with comments on the site that make people from the American south feel uncomfortable for example.

Uh, I'm from the southern US and one of the stereotypes about us I find most consistently annoying is when mefi conservatives portray us as noble savages who need our guns to fight off the hordes of cannibal deer infesting our barren wastes.
posted by winna at 11:42 AM on December 9, 2015 [19 favorites]


I agree. It would be nice if as a site we had a more open minded view of who people from the south are as individuals and as a community.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:14 PM on December 9, 2015


Southerners are not just social conservatives, which is why Metafilter's Southerners need a social conservative, who will not let their ideology affect their work, in the modding chair.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:21 PM on December 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Drinky Die: Social conservatives are capable of separating their personal beliefs from their professional obligations.
...
They might be helpful with offering a perspective on some of the issues we have had with comments on the site that make people from the American south feel uncomfortable for example.


winna: Uh, I'm from the southern US and one of the stereotypes about us I find most consistently annoying is when mefi conservatives portray us as noble savages who need our guns to fight off the hordes of cannibal deer infesting our barren wastes.

Drinky Die: I agree. It would be nice if as a site we had a more open minded view of who people from the south are as individuals and as a community.

It would be nice if you would cut out the fucking concern trolling.
posted by zarq at 12:22 PM on December 9, 2015 [13 favorites]


It would be nice if you found a way to resolve your grudge against me besides passive aggressiveness, zarq.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


a) I don't have a grudge against you. I do find your incessant devil's advocate behavior really fucking annoying.
b) I'm not being passive.
posted by zarq at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2015 [15 favorites]


It would be nice if everyone would go see the movie Creed, it's really good!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you want a direct conversation, my memail is open. If not, we need to drop it right now, obviously.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:26 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it would be nice if a conversation initially about diversity in mod hiring didn't somehow get turned around into a conversation about supporting Southern US users of MetaFilter exclusively. To me that encapsulates the terribleness of white privilege to the nth degree.
posted by kalessin at 12:26 PM on December 9, 2015 [18 favorites]


I do find your incessant devil's advocate behavior really fucking annoying.

I feel like it's really useful if people are clear about what they want and why. Drinky Die you have in the past done a lot of "for the lulz" throwaway commenting in MeTa threads that were important to people that seemed to be just for the purpose of pressing buttons. As a result, it's difficult to tell now if you are being serious (social conservatives? really? How would that work here exactly?) or just taking the piss. If you have a more fully formed set of ideas of how MeFi could be better, please feel free to spell things out, otherwise I'm assuming you're trolling. I don't have a grudge against you at all, I'm just not inclined to ignore past behavior.

More diversity in the mod team is a good idea and we've all got ideas about how that is best implemented. In a team this small it's very difficult to try to make sure everyone's viewpoint gets represented well and accurately but it's definitely a decent goal state particularly with an eye towards having better conversations than some of the ones we've been having here; conversations where more people feel included, heard and respected in cases where those people not being heard, included and respected poses a problem for the site and the way the community wants it to run. Difficult needle to thread, I wish everyone luck for a positive outcome.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2015 [25 favorites]


Thank you, Jessamyn.
posted by zarq at 12:33 PM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


You could use the Wilson Rule to ensure a diverse candidate is chosen: Don't hire anybody until you've found three people you want to hire.
Make sure one of those three people is a woman/a person of color.
Just take your time, basically. Obvs this will implement differently from a major corp like Xerox since it's just the one job being filled, but still, it's an emerging best practice in diversity and inclusion for hiring, and something concrete and easy to do that you could keep in your brain while going about this hiring process.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:47 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also liked the idea someone above had of taking the decision to explicitly mention this aspect, framed in a manner that invites and encourages a wider variety of people. I think in the case of Mefi's needs as a community, diversity need not just be the conventional expectations of PoC/W etc and include all our wide and varied people who have far fewer such general purpose places online = metafilter has taught me a lot about the variety on the continuum of gender, for example

my point is as long as its someone who isn't playing on the easy level in the civilization game and have some understanding of what it means to be 'other', they would be a valuable addition to the already valuable team
posted by infini at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2015


Also, I've been to Canada twice.

That's like going to Minnesota once!
posted by maxsparber at 1:05 PM on December 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


If I got this job would I still be able to tell every relationship question to DTMFA? because that's kind of my religion.

Also imagining the firestorm that would accompany my hiring is kind of intimidating. Is there a German word that means "incendiary rage over nepotism" ?
posted by French Fry at 1:07 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


In activism there's a dynamic a lot of us have noticed where if a conversation is especially privileged to a clear and present majority, there's an unspoken boundary that few minorities are unable to or unwilling to breach. It keeps a lot of progress from being made and prevents a lot of dissenting voices from being made clear and vocal to persons within majority communities. Activists like me do a lot of emotional labor simply trying to remain present in these spaces and participating.

One of the reasons I briefly considered applying for this mod role is because I firmly believe that when we are able to breach these boundaries and contribute, perhaps because we enjoy enough privilege that the emotional labor wouldn't be crippling to do so, or because we are familiar with, invested in, brought up in, or otherwise have insider status in these spaces, we should. Because it keeps the much needed conversation going and keeps the momentum somehow preserved and intact.

It's good that we as a community are having these conversations here and now about these open positions, and in no way are my remarks intended to quell these conversations, but I also entreat folks within Metafilter to remember that we enjoy our positions of relative comfort because of our relative privilege to do so, and I hope that dissenting minorities get the full benefit of our doubt when they speak about their experiences here.
posted by kalessin at 1:16 PM on December 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Canada and Central America would also be in the same time zones as CONUS and help diversify the team -- in case, you know, no one here has ever looked at a map. Or something.





/pedant
posted by Michele in California at 1:24 PM on December 9, 2015


I'm afraid I have to question your authenticity as a pedant, because you left out Mexico, Cuba, and South America.
posted by ODiV at 1:30 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm curious how being a mod changes your enjoyment of the site.
Do Mods still have the inclination / time to comment in threads like lower profile members? Do you take your mod hats off sometimes to comment (and is that allowed or does it muddy the waters?) And do you still enjoy Metafilter?
posted by Omnomnom at 1:32 PM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


South America was in my first comment and wouldn't Mexico be part of Central America?

But, okay, maybe I blew it on the Cuba thing.
posted by Michele in California at 1:44 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


On reflection, I realize that I was wrong. Social conservatives should not be employed as moderators here. I apologize for my previous comments. Thank you for sharing your views with me.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:50 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


andrewcooke, I'm not sure if "hoops" is a figleaf for something else here or if I'm just not following you,

it was in response to someone suggesting that applicants follow the same procedure that was required at some university - i can't remember the exact details, but something describing how they had encouraged diversity. and it seemed like it was designed pretty much to select the kind of person that is already quite common here.

more generally, i don't know how you run a site that is more diverse (in the sense of accepting more opinions), because it seems like metafilter works largely through social consensus and pressure that require a fairly homogeneous membership. i read a post from jessamyn above as saying that in that case, i shouldn't say anything. which obviously i don't agree with - i don't see anything that bad about pointing out the degree to which this place is an echo-chamber occasionally.

i realise you're in a hard place, and i appreciate the work you do. things are complicated.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:51 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


ODiV: "I'm afraid I have to question your authenticity as a pedant, because you left out Mexico, Cuba, and South America."

Plus, you forgot Poland.

[/PoliticalJokesFrom2004]
posted by Chrysostom at 1:55 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


here's a small constructive suggestion: if you do decide (and i haven't read all the posts, so perhaps this was categorically discounted) to get people to write some kind of statement, about encouraging diversity, try to at least use less jargon about diversity. ask people how they have encouraged friends with different opinions to get along, or something.

i guess what i am trying to say is that there are decent people who don't study critical theory.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:59 PM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Omnomnom: Do Mods still have the inclination / time to comment in threads like lower profile members? Do you take your mod hats off sometimes to comment (and is that allowed or does it muddy the waters?) And do you still enjoy Metafilter?

That's exactly what I'm wondering! What's it really like? Did modding change any mods' perspective of the site in unexpected ways?
posted by mochapickle at 2:00 PM on December 9, 2015


I'm curious how being a mod changes your enjoyment of the site.

It's an interesting thing for me to think about, because I look back at the last going-on-nine years and have to sort out which parts are attributable to having been a moderator and which to having gotten nine years older and seen the site change over time.

Do Mods still have the inclination / time to comment in threads like lower profile members?

Totally. I have more time some days/weeks than others, and in practice (especially this year with the additional duties I've taken on) I find myself sometimes using up all of my commenting/communicating energy on the work side of things and so really only lurking instead of participating in this or that thread. But I still get to jump into threads on the blue and goof around, and post stuff on Music, and once in a blue moon I even have an answer to a question in Ask though generally everybody else is faster than me.

Do you take your mod hats off sometimes to comment (and is that allowed or does it muddy the waters?)

Totally, we take our hats off all the time. Really, as much as anything, if it's outside of MetaTalk and not [small in square brackets], the default is hat-off and I prefer it that way. I'll make the decision a lot of the time to stay out of the general conversation in more heated threads if I'm having to actively do moderation work in them at the same time, since that can feel a little muddy, and that's occasionally a bummer, but those are more the exceptions than the rule. (Partly because there's not a ton of overlap between likely-to-be-heated threads and threads I'd be reading and participating in for pleasure to being with.)

And do you still enjoy Metafilter?

A great deal, though as a person who has gotten older and spent a lot of time wading through the patterns of online communities (both here and more generally), the kinds of things I enjoy and the kinds of things I get excited about have shifted a bit. I used to be a little more likely to get keyed up by weird/interesting intracommunity conflicts, I used to be a little more inclined to get scrappy, I used to find arguments about heavy subjects more interesting as sort of academic or sporting activities.

These days a lot of those things have lost their shine for me and I'm more inclined to focus on stuff that's just actually funny or fascinating to me or gives me a chance to really enjoy in good humor spending time with other mefites also having a good time. I love riffing with smart funny people as much as or more than I used to, I love seeing people dig thoughtfully and without brinksmanship into complicated, deep subjects (whether historical or cultural or sociopolitical).

I don't mean this in a "people shouldn't be unhappy" way because that'd be ridiculously blindered and unfair to the reality that there's lots of important shit to be unhappy about, but it has become clearer to me over time that I get a great deal of joy and emotional recharge out of those situations where MeFites are happy together, when folks find a reason to laugh and joke and share and basically seem to be really enjoying the fact that there in this place with each other. Those are the threads and the moments that really reinforce this place for me as not just a place to read and comment and kill time but a place to feel at home.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:01 PM on December 9, 2015 [29 favorites]


Hey, can we nominate people and then you can draft them? I nominate ... Eyebrows McGee.

Instead of one-sentence deletion reasons, we'd get multiple paragraphs of well-written and well-argued historical and legal reasons why your post is a double.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:35 PM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


This would be my dream job, if I didn't know deep down inside that I would be absolutely terrible at it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:37 PM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been joking about the job, buuut if we're looking for someone to bring some realness to this thing, all I gots is my high school, janitor calluses, centuries of dirtfarmer antecessors, and I'm in the process of moving to a place that makes Winnipeg look like New York. Any schmuck can have street cred; I have dirt road cred.

Plus I hit ten years here last month, am not American, have mellowed considerably, and most of the people on my enemies list have been banned or smartened up and realized how crap they are. Who's laughing now, suckers?!? Who's laughing now?!?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2015


What does a mod hat look like?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:07 PM on December 9, 2015


Something like this, I hope, given all the crap we put them through.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:09 PM on December 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Actually looks a bit more like this.
posted by selfnoise at 4:04 PM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


that few minorities are unable to or unwilling to breach

I note I've got my phrasing wrong. It should be "that few minorities are able or willing to breach".
posted by kalessin at 4:51 PM on December 9, 2015


This thread has gone into an interesting direction in that some of the attributes members are requesting in a new mod are things that are total no-no's to ask a candidate during a job interview (see #3 and #4)
posted by The Gooch at 7:06 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Mexico, like Canada and the Caribbean nations, is in North America.
posted by gingerest at 7:12 PM on December 9, 2015


what if we harvest some cells from the original cortex and craft a ghola cortex

we can restore the ghola's original memories by forcing it to murder an enormous donut
posted by poffin boffin at 7:31 PM on December 9, 2015 [7 favorites]



This thread has gone into an interesting direction in that some of the attributes members are requesting in a new mod are things that are total no-no's to ask a candidate during a job interview (see #3 and #4)


No people have been specifically suggesting not asking those things.

That sounds a bit concern trolly though and I doubt you're really just "interested."
posted by sweetkid at 7:36 PM on December 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


sweetkid: "No people have been specifically suggesting not asking those things"

Well, we've had people suggesting that the mods hire POCs (question #4) and conservatives (question #3). Technically, nobody has suggested asking them, but that seems to be more a matter of "we already know / it will come up during the application process without specifically asking / mods are omniscient" than "doesn't apply to job and therefore no need to ask".

Though I'm having a really hard time imagining someone suing MetaFilter, saying "You didn't hire me because I'm white!" or "You didn't hire me because I'm liberal!"

This is why I would never be good at this kind of thing. The Gooch's comment seemed kinda ridiculous at first glance, but the more I think about it: this is a real job. Like, real money and some people do it for a living kinda "real job". So you actually do have to pay attention to stuff during the hiring process. Screwing up the hiring process could get MetaFilter actually sued (not likely, of course, but it is possible), and, in some cases, MeFi could lose the lawsuit. That's so weird!!

Sorry, don't mind me, I'm still grappling with the idea that modding is a full time job. I mean, I know it's a job which requires full time effort, but up until last year, when Jessamyn retired, I thought it was just a bunch of people with insane volunteer work ethics / Stockholm syndrome making like $50 a month to mod the site. Like the crazy hours people put into fandoms. Until the MeFi reorganization I didn't know that it was peoples' full time jobs. You'd figure a year after that I'd have my head wrapped around it, but I still mentally struggle with thinking things like "The Mods must be filing tax forms about these things" and "Matt must have to be giving paid leave" and "Whoa, Mods are probably paying social security on their MeFi income". In short, I'm just slow.
posted by Bugbread at 9:19 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, we've had people suggesting that the mods hire POCs

Can you please quote the posts that you're referring to?
posted by one_bean at 10:50 PM on December 9, 2015


I think the idea that people have been suggesting it comes from a previous thread where Frowner spitballed about the idea of recruiting a person of color the next time there was an opening. I think that was probably one of the previous discussions about more diversity infini mentioned. But yeah, if there are any legal questions I'm sure the mods have someone to talk about it with so it's probably not worth getting into these kind of hypotheticals.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:12 AM on December 10, 2015


I'm not thrilled with how the endgame here, Bugbread, is to have us concern trolling in a truly tone deaf fashion about how hiring towards support for diversity might backfire. This argument against supporting diverse viewpoints and experiences hails from the 1950s. Surely we can at least concern troll with some new material?
posted by kalessin at 2:10 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


one_bean: "Can you please quote the posts that you're referring to?"

It's a long thread, and I can't recall. I was talking about what Cortex was talking about when he said:

cortex: "That said, I'm not comfortable presenting the idea that applicants are required or obliged or at a disadvantage if they fail to choose to disclose anything along those lines, even folks who that would in theory be a mark in favor for. "Establish your identity/diversity bona fides" feels like a not good path to go down, as much as I understand the good motivation behind the suggestion."

Are you saying nobody suggested that, or that I misinterpreted what Cortex was talking about? Maybe I'm conflating two separate comments or the like. If I'm misunderstanding or misinterpreted what was said, I'm sorry.

kalessin: "I'm not thrilled with how the endgame here, Bugbread, is to have us concern trolling in a truly tone deaf fashion about how hiring towards support for diversity might backfire. This argument against supporting diverse viewpoints and experiences hails from the 1950s. Surely we can at least concern troll with some new material?"

I...don't know? I mean, I'm not the guy who said it. Maybe go ask The Gooch. I guess you're saying I've been trolled? Okay, I can see that. I apologize for getting trolled.
posted by Bugbread at 3:42 AM on December 10, 2015


Plus, I'm very confident that the mods know what the hell they're doing, so I'm not really concerned about them fucking up. I was just saying that if I were a mod, I'd probably fuck up. As, apparently, I am fucking up just in commenting in the thread.
posted by Bugbread at 3:44 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you saying nobody suggested that, or that I misinterpreted what Cortex was talking about?

That was Cortex misunderstanding a comment; further down there is an exchange where Cortex understands what was being said.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:23 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


We can overthink a job offer announcement
posted by infini at 5:25 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


We can overthink a job offer announcement

No kidding, and criticize it from some unusual directions. Maybe it's the time of year, but somehow this conversation has seemed touchier than I would have expected.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:46 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Much touchy, so hugs
posted by infini at 6:12 AM on December 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


And *this* is why we have to pay people to deal with us.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:39 AM on December 10, 2015 [21 favorites]


I'm not touchy about it, but I would like to note that "overthink" is often a codeword for trivializing someone else's concerns, especially vis a vis social justice and other pro-minority social movements. I know that one of our site mottos is that we could "overthink a plate of beans" but I suspect I'm not the only one who'd breathe a sigh of relief if we didn't apply the term, "overthink", to discussions of diversity.
posted by kalessin at 7:11 AM on December 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


Diversity in the workforce is a problem. It's important that we discuss these things without trivializing them. It's hard!
posted by oceanjesse at 7:56 AM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Wanted to clarify my previous comment since some people appear to have read it assuming nefarious intentions. I read this thread, saw someone suggest that perhaps a more politically conservative moderator would be beneficial to the site, as well as the strong pushback from that suggestion. I found that whole side conversation curious, since while IANAHR professional, I have conducted several job interviews before and my understanding was always that questions about a candidate's political viewpoints are out of bounds. While I was not concerned that anyone involved in the hiring process here would be clueless enough to ask such a question of a potential hire, I thought it was worth mentioning and on-topic since the political leanings of the potential new mod was being discussed and I hadn't seen this angle brought up.

My mistake was conflating asking about political affiliation,which was rather explicitly suggested in this thread, with asking about race/ethnic background, which upon closer reading was never actually suggested by anyone here. I apologize for bringing up that hot button topic when there was no reason to.
posted by The Gooch at 8:15 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I didn't actually suggest asking either, to be clear. I was just assuming most applicants would be Mefites and their leanings if they are politically active on the site would be already known by the mods.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:16 AM on December 10, 2015


Sometimes the framing, the structure, the language of inclusion makes those intended to feel the same, excluded.

Unless its all about the letting the most privileged to speak give voice on behalf of all others so included.
posted by infini at 8:24 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm extremely curious who's thrown their hat into the ring.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:35 AM on December 10, 2015


My hat goes in later today! (It would have been thrown sooner but I had a term paper and an exam to concentrate on.)
posted by Kitteh at 8:39 AM on December 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


That curiosity is understandable but I think it's probably something to just quietly accept; while it's fine if anyone specifically wants to talk about their choice to throw in, I don't really want folks feeling pressured to do so or to expect public discussion of their application to be an implicit part of the process, nor for folks to make the too-easy jump from there from curiosity about applicants to speculation or lay-argumentation about any applicant's potential fit or chances or so on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:41 AM on December 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


Part of the issue, also is that on a small team of six or so people there is literally no way to have the moderation team be as diverse as the site's population or even accurately representative of the site's population. So some of this is going on faith that the people who are running the site will 1. be fair to everyone 2. try, when making decisions to understand the larger sociopolitical and cultural issues at play here and not just reinforce bad societal patterns.

Part of the struggle here is that the userbase does not agree on what sort of site they want MetaFilter to be, so the mods have to make some choices that are always going to be unpopular and this is regardless of what their personal viewpoints are which is its own issue.

And people are often terrible judges of their own abilities and it stings to have someone tell you that (actively or passively). One of the most important things about being a mod here is to be able to be consistent in your own responses and answerable to the complete sum of your interactions here over the time that you are working. Extrapolated this means that whatever instability your personal or home life is dealing you, you have to have an ability to quell that somewhat so that you can help other people deal with issues brought up by their own instability or issues. There's an argument that some of the things that make someone a good moderator in terms of balance and empathy and background are also challenging for some of the other qualities that a moderator needs to have in terms of having a dispassionate enough approach to be able to actively de-escalate conflicts and sometimes tell people who you fervently agree with that they need to cede the floor.

Someone asked upthread about being a moderator vs being a regular commenter and the biggest issue for me was that I had to really stuff some of my own personal issues and concerns away in order to work with people who had perspectives and feelings radically opposed to my own. That is difficult. I had to be realistic about the gap between what the site truly was and what I hoped it should be and make strategic decisions about what sort of changes I could effect and what I could not. And, all the while, getting a ton of static from people who, nominally, I worked for (often from all sides of an issue, being accused of being too easygoing and too hardass over the same issue).

One of the things I think all the current mod team shares is an ability to see the site from a distance and, setting aside most of their own personal politics, noticing what is working well and what is working poorly and trying to commit resources to the latter areas and being okay with small incremental improvements. Patience may be one of the most important mod qualities that isn't immediately obvious.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:53 AM on December 10, 2015 [22 favorites]


Oh I didn't mean to pressure anyone - I thought someone could make a comment if they wanted to, as Kitteh did. Points taken cortex.

Speculation is part of the ball-game but perhaps I shouldn't have said anything. I've applied, at any rate - and now greatly regret not making more comments in threads. I tend to post, stand back, and read what the community has to say. At any rate this is all very exciting and good news, and good for the community. Good luck to all applicants!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:03 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


We're going to make applicants participate in some kind of trial to the death, right? Like The Long Walk or Battle Royale or something? That's the only way to ensure we get the best hire.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:09 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


They get to moderate this discussion.
posted by notyou at 9:13 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


...Using only the language of interpretive dance.
posted by mochapickle at 9:14 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


...translated into emojis.
posted by notyou at 9:15 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


some kind of trial

Like the Klingon second rite of ascension with the painstiks and the fervent emotional honesty?
posted by kalessin at 9:20 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


20 quatloos on the newcomers, same as in town.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:21 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


The best moderator will be someone that no one has noticed, but who has been quietly commenting, listening, saying good things, and flagging the right stuff.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:27 AM on December 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


Going To Maine: agreed.

Hey what about a rotating mod system? Everyone gets a turn for a month and then at the end of a year one gets selected. :P
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:31 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


:P = just joking, not serious suggestion (in case there's any doubt)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:32 AM on December 10, 2015


They get to moderate this discussion.

...Using only the language of interpretive dance.

...translated into emojis.


*chokes on SQ's popcorn*
posted by infini at 9:37 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


(in case there's any doubt)

Why would there be doubt?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:48 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know - sometimes I joke on my Flagged as Fantastic (Twitter) account and people take me seriously, and then I have to clarify, no, I'm just joking; so I've learned, especially on the internet, to sometimes make it crystal clear.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:54 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone asked upthread about being a moderator vs being a regular commenter and the biggest issue for me was that I had to really stuff some of my own personal issues and concerns away in order to work with people who had perspectives and feelings radically opposed to my own. That is difficult.

You did a good job, thank you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:57 AM on December 10, 2015 [11 favorites]


kalessin: "I'm not touchy about it, but I would like to note that "overthink" is often a codeword for trivializing someone else's concerns, especially vis a vis social justice and other pro-minority social movements."

I think the "overthink" comment was directed at me, not at you.
posted by Bugbread at 3:06 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think my remarks apply no matter whom the term was directed at. I do not wish anyone's opinions to be dismissed, even those we disagree with.
posted by kalessin at 4:40 PM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a story relating to my grandfather. He was a senior management for Michigan Bell. (1926-1964) I found a picture, a promotional picture with gramps and another dude. I asked who it was. It was the first African American manager in the companies history. Circa, 1962. I read the captions/ new release and signed photos and asked "who's decision was this"

"Does it matter?"

And that is the difference, the social need to not overthink why especially in these matters.

So I asked some more.
posted by clavdivs at 6:09 PM on December 10, 2015


It totally seems like it could matter, I don't get it.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:37 PM on December 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


The best moderator will be someone that no one has noticed, but who has been quietly commenting, listening, saying good things, and flagging the right stuff.

And also once applied to an astronaut job opening on USAJobs found from a post on MetaFilter. Ok, I'll do it.
posted by ctmf at 9:00 PM on December 11, 2015


Ooof. I would do this if you needed a moderator for more the Godforsaken hours that would be awful to fill. As much of a goober as I seem to be, I have moderated before and have some professional experience that would come in handy.

If you are ever hiring for hours that nobody in their right mind would evereverever work, I'm your mustachio. I have to sleep sometime, though, and that time is "day."
posted by louche mustachio at 1:54 AM on December 12, 2015


> hours that nobody in their right mind would evereverever work

I don't think such hours exist in an international community.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:04 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a little surprised no-one has said that this is Metafilter, where we can overthink overthinking a plate of beans.
posted by gadge emeritus at 4:28 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stop overthinking it...
posted by disclaimer at 10:37 PM on December 12, 2015


The process is complete; come say hello to new part-time mod Eyebrows McGee!
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:45 PM on December 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


AW YEAH!
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:46 PM on December 23, 2015


Awesome choice!
posted by desjardins at 4:16 PM on December 23, 2015


YES!
posted by infini at 9:31 PM on December 23, 2015


Whoa, great pick!
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:41 AM on December 24, 2015


Apropos of nothing, I note that Eyebrows McGee never actually commented in this thread despite my assumption that she surely had.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:03 PM on December 24, 2015


Got deleted, surely!
posted by Namlit at 2:22 PM on December 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


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