Tue, 07 Aug 2001 13:57:03 -0400
First, a short intro:
I co-moderate two Bible translation lists, one public, the other
private for those involved professionally in Bible translation (people
like SIL/Wcyliffe, New Tribes Mission, etc). Also, I've had Linux up
and running since the .98 days in '93-'94 (or there abouts), I know C,
a little C++, and some Java. I'm currently an amateur linguist.
Now, regarding moderation of forums. What I've found works really
well is to allow any subscriber to post without moderation with the
exception of the first post or two. That does two things: it weeds
out spam and it also allows the moderator(s) to assess whether the
person has tuned into the list charter and vision or whether they
misunderstand the basic intent. If the new poster is slightly off the
mark then the moderator can instruct by pointing to specifics in the
list charter. If the person doesn't want to conform to the rules,
then no harm has been done to the list. I've found that most people
need no instruction, some need some clarification, a few need to know
that the rules are quite serious, and then there is the
The ability to turn moderation on and off for specific individuals is
also important. When you get right down to it, you don't want to
moderate the postings, you want to moderate people. As in-your-face
as that might sound, it gives great freedom to those who play within
the rules and helps the moderator(s) manage the list.
Also, as I alluded to, you will need a list charter. This list should
require a professional, respectful tone to all postings. It should
make it clear that different people have different opinions, and THAT
is OK, but disparaging or derogatory remarks regarding translators,
translations, or theology, should not be allowed. Also, you need to
clearly define what topics are allowed. This can't be so specific
that people feel their keyboards are straight-jackets, but nor should
they be so broad that people can't determine whether they would be
interested in the list.
One reason for the list charter is so the moderator(s) can point to an
objective rule, quote it, and say, "What you did is not allowed." The
list charter, in effect, holds the moderator(s) accountable to the
subscribers and vice-versa. It is, in effect, a way to "submit to one
another" (Eph. 5:21).
When it comes to Bible translation the issues run deep and wide, so
without moderation, the thing will blow up in your faces. However,
you do want liberty so a community can form.
Hope that helps. God bless.
BTW, if you are interested in the public Bible translation list,
send a message to:
"The first one last wins."
"A net of highly cohesive details reveals the truth."