Mods are people too (confusingly) September 7, 2010 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Mods are mods, obviously--people with admin rights on the site. Mods are also users who sometimes toss in comments in threads speaking just as themselves. So say I want to send mail to a particular moderator as a mod--specifically, to request a cleanup that that particular mod's actions made more needful than it previously was. Mefi Mail? Not Mefi Mail?

If you try to send memial to a mod you get a very unambiguous notice that you should use the contact form for "administration requests." On the contact form there's a space only for an outside-mefi return address, with your profile address (a spamcatcher, in my case) auto-entered. The mail does not go to a specific mod, just whoever happens to be working.

Clarification? Which contact method is the least wrong for contacting a mod who really is more closely concerned than the others, but for what's definitely an administrative matter that could involve deleting comments, if not an entire thread?
posted by jfuller to Etiquette/Policy at 3:16 PM (61 comments total)

This is definitely a question for the Contact form.
posted by carsonb at 3:20 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clarification? Which contact method is the least wrong for contacting a mod who really is more closely concerned than the others, but for what's definitely an administrative matter that could involve deleting comments, if not an entire thread?

I'm sure you'll hear from Josh and/or Jessamyn, but I think we're pretty clear as you found out, routing all responses to the contact form whenever possible. That means every mod sees it, including the one you wanted to see it, and doesn't result in a possible hours-long delay that you might see if you directly MeFi Mailed one moderator who happened to be going to sleep or out to dinner or something.

There's really not much to clarify here, we say we prefer all administrative email to the contact form instead of directly contacting us because it lets us achieve much faster response times and therefore better customer service if you think of it as customer service.

Seriously, during US daylight hours the time from when you hit the contact form asking for a typo change or deletion to a thank you email from us telling you we completed the request is on the order of minutes, thanks to routing everything to the contact form where any one of the moderators can act upon it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 3:27 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The moderation request came from INSIDE THE HOUSE!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:28 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seriously, during US daylight hours the time from when you hit the contact form asking for a typo change or deletion to a thank you email from us telling you we completed the request is on the order of minutes, thanks to routing everything to the contact form where any one of the moderators can act upon it.

From experience, it's usually under 3 minutes. Team Mod is surprisingly fast.
posted by zarq at 3:29 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


So:

- The contact form reaches all of us. When you send something to that, me and Matt and Jess all get a copy, as does pb though if it's not a tech issue he pretty much ignores them entirely.

- Mefimail goes only to whichever person you're writing to.

And so, depending on what you want to accomplish, you could do either one to reach us; there's no hard and fast rule about it. But there's definitely reasons to go with one or the other. It breaks down pretty much like this:

- If you need something done administratively ASAP, write to the contact form. That'll have the shortest wait time, since whoever among us sees it first will be able to jump on it whereas as mefimail to one mod is banking on that specific person being around right at that moment.

- For admin heads-up stuff or conversation in general, contact form is preferable because then we all at least know what's up; mefimail with one of us means us having to tell each other what's going on if there's any sort of followup that needs context.

- If for some reason you really want a specific mod to look at or do something, mefimail or external email to that person is fine. That carries with it the extra potential lag time, though.

- If you want to talk about mod stuff regarding a specific mod's work on the site but you think it's an administrative feedback issue, the contact form is generally a better plan so that everyone is in the loop. Telling one of us directly that there's a problem with our work is your prerogative of course but if it's something where you think something Jessamyn or I have done needs addressing or consideration, Matt is our boss and it will pretty much have to go to him anyway if "I disagree" isn't enough closure for you.

- If you just want to sort of talk or vent about something specifically to one of us but don't desire any sort of administrative feedback, mefimail is fine.

That's the main stuff I can think of. Short answer: best to use the contact form for anything other than just-chattin' stuff that requires no action or team feedback. The three of us do much of our work as a team, and can deal with stuff for whoever's writing us more easily if we all know what's going on from the get-go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:31 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


As an addendum, I think I'm a little more okay with mefimail than Jess is, as far as preferences go, so modulate the above a bit to have her standing in the background shaking her head and waving her arms and mouthing the word "NO!" wherever I'm saying something like "mefimail is just fine".

Core idea remains, underscored by that: the contact form is really the way to go unless you have a specific reason not to use it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:37 PM on September 7, 2010


I have used the contact form and specified "bug for pb"* (or some phrase like that) in the subject line. Since using the contact form is the speediest, but you may want a particular mod to pay attention that that particular request, it seems like that would be a thing to do.

*NB: I have never sent an actual bug to pb, via the contact form or in any other way.
posted by rtha at 3:39 PM on September 7, 2010


I think for even dumb "hello I'm boo and I've just made a dumb typo" cleamups, the mods have a response time measured in minutes.

cortex: "have her standing in the background shaking her head and waving her arms and mouthing the word "NO!" wherever I'm saying something like "mefimail is just fine". "

And then when cortex turns his head, she's smiling, nodding and giving a thumbs-up.
posted by boo_radley at 3:45 PM on September 7, 2010


Wait, the mods will help with typos?

The edit button is people?
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:51 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just searched Gmail for some of the messages I've sent through the contact form to figure the response times:

Reporting a problem with disappearing FPPs: 5 minutes
Requesting a link fix in an FPP: 5 minutes
Reporting an inconsistent error message regarding profile pictures: 14 minutes
Requesting another fixed FPP link: 1 minute
Another link fixing request: 2 minutes
Request to add a link I forgot to an FPP: 7 minutes

Team Mod ♥
posted by Rhaomi at 3:52 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, the mods will help with typos?

We're nice like that, but the niceness depends a lot on people using enough restraint to try and keep their typo requests to the minimum high-water mark "this typo is problematic/embarrassing/misleading" stuff and not worry about a misplaced apostrophe or a stray "teh".
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:54 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


tehpostrophes are the worst.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:00 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wait, the mods will help with typos?

Over the years I've made a small number of truly idiotic mistakes when composing FPPs. cortex and jessamyn have very kindly corrected them upon request.

I try not to bother them with my grammatical errors, though.
posted by zarq at 4:01 PM on September 7, 2010


joe lisboa: "tehpostrophes are the worst."

It can definitely be a tehcastrophe.
posted by boo_radley at 4:03 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


OK, I feel like these answers are totally authoritative enough. Thank you!
posted by jfuller at 4:03 PM on September 7, 2010


OTOH, if you send some vague comment about the actions of one or more posters in a thread, they will ignore you.

Yes I've done this. I will stop now.
posted by Splunge at 4:04 PM on September 7, 2010


OK, I feel like these answers are totally authoritative enough. Thank you!

Our revels now are ended. These our mods,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great site itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a link behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
posted by zarq at 4:06 PM on September 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is my mod.
There are many like it,
But this one is mine.
posted by grouse at 4:08 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


NOTE: Sending smoke signals or signal fires DOES NOT WORK.
posted by nomadicink at 4:16 PM on September 7, 2010


The mods are awesome. I just had a small thought, which was:
"I wonder how much time off they get?"

Seems to me like MeFi is a 24/7 job.

Perhaps the site could be put in read-only mode (disable the contact form) on Thanksgiving, so that Team Mod could collectively put its feet up and not have to worry about any potential shitstorms brewing in any absence.

Not Thanksgiving-ist, but I figure it's a good way for MeFites to give thanks to their favourite mods. By giving them a worry-free break.
posted by djgh at 4:25 PM on September 7, 2010


And by contact form I meant comment form. God dammit!
posted by djgh at 4:25 PM on September 7, 2010


Can I get an edit?
posted by djgh at 4:26 PM on September 7, 2010


Can I get an edit?

Have you tried the contact form?
posted by jedicus at 4:43 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


mods are people too
they have their ups and downs
and sometimes they get good and sick
of dealing with you clowns
but they're mostly friendly
they're mostly always nice
even to the knuckleheads
who ask the same thing twice
they help folks with their problems
they zotz the dumbest posts
you'll find them to be, i would say,
accomodating hosts
their moods are mostly positive
their hearts are mostly warm
but please, friend, when you write them
just use the contact form
that's right, you heard me, asshole,
just use the contact form
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:48 PM on September 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


I once contacted cortex by gmail chat.

I promise to never do it again.
posted by zizzle at 4:49 PM on September 7, 2010


This is my mod.
There are many like it,
But this one is mine.


This is one's for fighting,
This one's for OH MY GOD IS THAT A CHICKEN!?
posted by loquacious at 4:52 PM on September 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


What should we do if we are trapped in a library with only a banjo and a bicycle? If that memail or contact form? Can you fix that typo I made? "If" is supposed to be "Is" thanks!
posted by fuq at 5:09 PM on September 7, 2010


> What should we do if we are trapped in a library with only a banjo and a bicycle?

On the first trip you take two cannibals, three missionaries, one sack of grain, both geese, and the librarian. Then (here's the trick) you bring back two of the cannibals, one goose, and the librarian. After that the problem basically solves itself, as i'm sure you see.
posted by jfuller at 5:22 PM on September 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I've gotten badly-formatted comments deleted faster via the contact form than it took me to get the register dude at Wendy's to understand my order. A+++ WOULD MISUSE <PRE> TAG AGAIN
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:22 PM on September 7, 2010


zotz as a verb is pretty good. As a candy, it used to be better.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:46 PM on September 7, 2010


I emailed the mods for the first time EVER today. Just sayin'.
posted by unSane at 5:50 PM on September 7, 2010


I made pigs in a blanket tonight. And I used vegetarian hotdogs. They were great. Even my mom had two. This is not a recipe. Deal with it.
posted by Splunge at 5:57 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I emailed the mods for the first time EVER today. Just sayin'.

The only reason we didn't email you back in under two minutes is because I saw it first and didn't know the answer. But pb got to it pretty speedily. Glad it's all worked out though.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:05 PM on September 7, 2010


I swear I just saw a cannibal ride by, playing a banjo.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:07 PM on September 7, 2010


Five string? Four string? Tension-lug head or tack-head? Maybe a banjolele?

You don't have to tell me what he was eating...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:10 PM on September 7, 2010


I'm so confused.
posted by nevercalm at 6:10 PM on September 7, 2010


so modulate the above a bit to have her standing in the background shaking her head and waving her arms and mouthing the word "NO!" wherever I'm saying something like "mefimail is just fine".

I pretty much like to use MeMail for quickie little stuff and nothing that requires inline replying or any other sort of back and forth conversationalism. I also check it last [after gmail and maybe Twitter and IMing] if I'm travelling or otherwise not home, so if you have something that's time sensitive and send it only to me and only to MeMail I'll get to it when I get to it, but then feel terribly bad that I was... sleeping or eating or something besides attending to your very important typo. So, if you see the note that says don't send admin stuff to MeMail but then you send it anyhow, you take your chances. If you send crazymail to only one of us via MeMail, we'll probably send it around the list anyhow, just so you know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2010


The only reason we didn't email you back in under two minutes is because I saw it first and didn't know the answer.

The response was still about ten times faster than I expected...
posted by unSane at 6:20 PM on September 7, 2010


I just want to know which one is Lepidus...
Heh
posted by clavdivs at 6:41 PM on September 7, 2010


Five string? Four string? Tension-lug head or tack-head? Maybe a banjolele?

I really couldn't tell -- I was being attacked by a goose.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:43 PM on September 7, 2010


If you send crazymail to only one of us via MeMail, we'll probably send it around the list anyhow, just so you know.

*adjusts evil doomsday plan*
posted by nomadicink at 7:46 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Can I get an edit?"

Take out the part
that breaks my heart
makes me sound uncaring

(I know, I know, the lead-in is different, but the damn song's stuck in my head.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:47 PM on September 7, 2010


> I swear I just saw a cannibal ride by, playing a banjo.

And his hair was perfect.
posted by ardgedee at 7:50 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


And his hair was perfect.

Good job, there was a key in his hair. The key doesn't fit in any of the locks in the library.
posted by fuq at 8:26 PM on September 7, 2010


None of the doors at least.
posted by fuq at 8:27 PM on September 7, 2010


I had a little contact form,
I'd send it round and round,
And when the mod team saw it
They made a cheerful sound.

But then I sent a memail,
She got much louder then,
And I had to turn my grar down
To make her soft again.

Today for edit windows
I'm as eager as can be.
Count me among the faithful fans
Of fixability...

Fixability!
Typos, they fluster me.
With a careless paste
My amazing wit
Is reduced to incoherent shit.

Five minutes to change
Or something in that range.
All my clever jokes would stop falling flat,
Not that they're really all of that;
Still, I might score a favorite from Languagehat
With my fixability.

Who coded this website up for you, anyway? You bought it in a shop? Ooh, what a terrible job. You've got your administrative feedback coupled in with your cortex input/output. Take that across through your Reddit pickup to your twitter, you're modding way too late - you're going to get WoW on your toplist. Try to take that down through a nastygram to your user, what do you get?

Johnson's gaping bottom!
posted by flabdablet at 8:44 PM on September 7, 2010


Is it Paragraph Day on the gray or something?
posted by phunniemee at 9:15 PM on September 7, 2010


If you send crazymail to only one of us via MeMail, we'll probably send it around the list anyhow, just so you know.

I tend to be more discrete, so rest assured that your crazy rantings are safe with me.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:19 AM on September 8, 2010


In cleanly partitioned integer chunks, one presumes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:19 AM on September 8, 2010


I refuse to tow your linguistic line, that's just how free and out there I am.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:49 AM on September 8, 2010


Wow, now I feel really uncool. I MeMailed jessamyn somewhat recently about submitting a comment anonymously in AskMe; it was the first time I've ever made contact with a mod for administrative reasons, and I don't recall any sort of warning notice or barrier...huh. Oops. Come to think of it, why didn't I think to use the contact form first? D'oh.
posted by ifjuly at 8:18 AM on September 8, 2010


For stuff where people maybe don't want the whole Mod Team knowing their business, we're fine with people MeMailing us, we're just not always on top of MeMail the same way we're on top of email and so it's not so great for "please do this quicklike" sorts of requests. Don't worry about it ifjuly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2010


OK, update, and I see I only asked half my question. I did use the contact form and I did hear back from the particular mod I thought was most directly concerned. And it was a very fast response (thanks, c*rt*x.)

But I didn't actually see the reply until 5 hours later because sho'nuff it went to my profile address--which I mentioned up above is a spamcatcher--and got diverted into the auto-detect-spam folder and by the time I thought to look for it there it was it was 300 messages deep in the you-may-already-be-a-wiener. (U. Phoenix Online PhDs? Thank you, I've already got one from the Close Cover Before Striking Institute.)

Thinking about this, I don't really have a good reply-to address for mefi stuff, except memail. I've got my work address (where I get regular use-only-for-work-related-mail-we're-not-kidding notices) and a bunch of others that are all overwhelmed with spammy goodness--a side effect of having been online for so long. So the second half of the question: when using the contact form is there any way to put jfuller's memail in the reply-to slot? Or is it acceptable to put "reply by memail please" in the body of the message? Or are contact form exchanges limited to standard email in both directions?
posted by jfuller at 9:59 AM on September 8, 2010


You don't really have to worry about getting spammed via the email address in your profile -- thats only shown to logged-in users, and profile pages aren't indexed by search engines. But if you still don't want to make your main email public in this way, you can always add it to your profile using your Preferences page, hook it into MeMail ("Forward MeFi Mail to email?"), then block it from being shown ("Display email to other members?"). That way, all your MeMail will show up in your main email account, as will responses from the contact form, but only the mods will be able to see your address.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:09 AM on September 8, 2010


when using the contact form is there any way to put jfuller's memail in the reply-to slot?

Oddly enough, we just talked about that about a week ago, so give that a read if you want details. Short answer is, no, replies to contact form messages will go to the email address provided (which if you're logged in is by default the email address currently on file) and that's pretty much how it works period.

If you really, really need a mefimail reply, send a mefimail in the first place keeping the various caveats in mind. If you toss "please reply by mefimail" into a contact form message it's not impossible that we'll get back to you that way but (a) we might miss it and (b) it's sort of an extra pain in the ass for us to do and breaks our reply-all style of keeping the whole team in the loop.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 AM on September 8, 2010


OK, so be it. Thanks all 'round.
posted by jfuller at 11:32 AM on September 8, 2010


In the interests of keeping identities separate, the reply-to-MeMail option would be nice to have.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:00 PM on September 8, 2010


Can you elaborate? I'm not sure what your use case is here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:08 PM on September 8, 2010


In the interests of keeping identities separate, don't use an email address in your profile (whether it's shown or now) that you don't want associated with your MeFi account.

Gmail works freakin' great for this because you can open up as many addresses as you want there and have them all sent to one inbox. (Does that Priority Inbox link I haven't clicked yet change this at all, btw?) All 803 of my sockpuppets have separate emails listed but every response ends up in my main account's inbox—I only have to remember to switch the 'reply-as' field before responding, should that become necessary.
posted by carsonb at 3:39 PM on September 8, 2010


carsonb is right, of course, generally speaking. (Except that those addresses are linked within Google somehow, or at least I assume so.) If you want to be really paranoid you have to be really motivated and learn all the ins-and-outs of these security issues; it's not trivial.

What I mainly meant, cortex, is that I don't want to have stuff about Crabby in my non-Crabby mailbox. That way, if someone gets into my non-Crabby mailbox, they don't also find out about Crabby. That's all. (And it could be that I'm missing something obvious; it's not as if I've thought this through very carefully.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:51 PM on September 8, 2010


Ah. I see what you mean, but that's a managing-multiple-email-accounts-on-your-end thing at that point—one that you use for mefi stuff, one you don't use for mefi stuff—and not so much something metafilter is going to be managing for you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:54 PM on September 8, 2010


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