I, and others it seems, were under the impression that Moderators were well informed Leaders in our Industry, highly skilled in their respective areas of Aviation. They were Commissioned Officers if you will, leading us, the unwashed masses.
I do love this site and it is the foremost technical Aviation website in Canada. And while I can imagine that editing, or Monitoring, this site must be a hideously time consuming job, the title which is associated with certain people could lead newbees and the general public to give more credence to these people’s opinions than would otherwise be the case. I know it has with me.
This is potentially dangerous for our Industry in the Press, and could possibly lead our newest members of the Aviation Community astray.
As such, in the spirit of professionalization, perhaps a new “labeling” process could be considered.
1) A person with editing powers but without specific formal training and extremely well rounded technical knowledge in some field of Aviation would be a “Monitor”. They would be roughly akin to a playground monitor at school. They are empowered to discipline, but not to teach.
2) A person with editing powers who has the above technical experience would be a “Moderator”. Their word would carry more weight and they would continue to have the power to discipline what at times seems like a bunch of kindergarten kids on this site.
3) A person that has demonstrated exceptional knowledge in a certain area of Aviation but without editing rights could be tagged a “Mentor”. Mentors will have shown moderation, patience and exemplary conduct in explaining things in their posting history. They would necessarily be, or have been, working professionals in their respective area of expertise.
The Mentor forum was a good idea but it has been woefully under accessed. “Tagging” these highly trained posters could help the newbees separate the wheat from the chaff and perhaps stimulate these professionals to post more, thereby raising the overall level of this site.
I post on no other site so I have no idea of the protocol involved to be a “Mod”. I do know however that the level on this site has been decreasing for some time, and that we are fast losing the very members we most need. Those being “The Newbees”.
BTW I think this site is better than ever since the mods started cracking down on the posters who were only intersted in insults and flame wars.
A "moderator" is widely acknowledged as being that schoolyard monitor. Actually, I prefer to view it more as being a sports referee. They monitor what's going on, step in if someone is getting out of hand, and enforce the rules. Period, end of story. Their opinions on a topic should hold no more sway than any other active forum member.
In order for this, or any forum, to acknowledge someone as being any kind of a technical expert, would require some form of checking of credentials ... and this is after all, an anonymous forum.
Lurking and/or participating on the forum for any amount of time will give an individual user a pretty good picture of whose opinions are worth reading, who is here purely to entertain themselves, and who is a troll, etc.
Just my 2 cents.
BPF - I like your idea of having a forum rank of "crusty curmudgeon". I can think of a half dozen of you who would probably enjoy having that. Perhaps the powers that be could be convinced to add that (phpBB has a 'special rank' feature), for those of you who would choose to identify yourselves as such.
Moderator is not a term instituted for aviation forums. It is the term used by most internet forums to denote someone with the ability to delete, move, and edit posts. The engine behind this board has nothing to do with aviation, and it is this engine that uses the term Moderator.