Our community moderation system works pretty well. Even now, almost all of the content on the site which is removed is done so through user flags. But it's not perfect, it's not even great. For several years we'd had a struggle keeping up with trolls, spammers, and also just keeping the quality of the conversation on the blogs generally civil. Monomaniacs and attention seekers could easily hijack an otherwise civil conversation quite easily.
Last September I decided to try an experiment and give a few members of the community the power to ban members from the blogs, both permanently and temporarily. These members were given a very strict set of rules dictating where these bans could be applied and how they could be applied. Every action they take is logged, monitored, and can be reversed by an administrator. Being members of the community themselves, they understand the ins and outs of the community, the personalities involved and the history of this place.
At the same time we've been lifting restrictions and pardoning permabans from the past at a higher rate. We've been trying to strike a balance between keeping order and making this a place where interesting and entertaining discussion can take place.
The experiment has been an unqualified success. The tone and content of the blogs has improved. Blogging around major weather events has been much more sober in tone and far more civil, but spirited discussions can still take place. Between the quick flagging of individual community members and the watchful eyes of the moderators, troll attacks are now generally short lived. We even survived a United States Presidential election cycle without a tremendous amount of drama. The next logical step is to go public with this change. My hand was forced in this a bit, but I am more than happy to make the change public at this point.
Moderators who choose to comment in the blogs will be publicly marked with a (Mod) badge. Please continue to use the community flags, as this is where the real moderation is happening. Do not bombard the moderators with requests to handle problems. Our internal admin group here is also growing, and I'll be announcing new team additions soon.
The goal here is and always will be to make the blogs more fun as well as more open. Thanks for making this a great place to discuss weather, we'll try to stay out of your way, and keep the trolls out of your way as well.
Please feel free to discuss this change in this blog, but keep it out of the featured blogs.