Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blowing the Whistle on SI “Referees,” Redux: Who are SI's “Most Active Members?”

In October 2009 I posted Blowing the Whistle on the SI “Referees”
For example:
At Sharper Iron (SI) under the heading Volunteer Staff the following appears: SharperIron has a volunteer crew of Moderators who work to keep discussions respectful and edifying.

Then under What to expect from SI Moderators… (excerpt)
The Moderator role is not a “spiritual advisor” role, teacher role, or disciple-making role. These functions are far better supplied by your local church. When it comes to rules and moderating, the forums should work like a game of pick up basketball (or maybe a Chess tournament) where someone has the job of stepping into the role of referee when the need arises. So Moderators can and do join in the “game,” but mostly do a lot of watching.
The conclusion was:
In summation: It is obvious to any objective observer that far and away the most active voices in the discussion threads are coming from SI’s moderators. In many cases these men and women do not settle for “the role of referee” in a “game of pick up basketballl,” they become the game.

There is nothing inherently wrong with SI moderators taking very active roles in the threads. To portray their role, however, as that of a “referee” and then let them control the game, its direction and interject personal bias with impunity is inconsistent with SI’s stated role for its moderators.
Today I’d like to update on that issue with some current data from SI’s Foundry page. I’m doing so partially because one SI team leader contacted me to suggest that SI team members do not dominate the discussion threads. To suggest that SI team leaders are not the most “active members.”

Following are two recent samples from the pseudo- fundamentalist SI’s Foundry, under “Most Active Members” heading.
Most Active Members
Most active in the last week (accessed, 2/11/2010)
Jim Peet (40) Moderator
Aaron Blumer (22) Site Publisher
Jay C (15) SI Registrations
Anne Sokol (13)
RPittman (12)
Susan R (8) Moderator
Bob T. (7)
Larry (5) Moderator
Charlie (6)
Joseph (5)
90 of 133 total entries were posted by SI personnel. That is 68% of submitted comments coming from the SI admins and/or moderators.
Most Active Members
Most active in the last week (accessed, 2/17/10)
Jim Peet (50) Moderator
Aaron Blumer (25) Site Publisher
Jay C (19) SI Registrations
Larry (18) Moderator
Susan R (14) Moderator
RPittman (13)
Anne Sokol (10)
Charlie (8)
Joel Tetreau (7)
Ed Vasicek (6)

Of 170 comments- 126 were posted by SI personnel. That is 74% of submitted comments coming from the SI admins and/or moderators.

From SI’s own tracking data any objective observer will recognize:

1) On SI’s FAQ page to advertisers the claim of “over a thousand active members” is a hyper-inflated overstatement.

2) Apart from SI moderators populating the discussion threads- most would have almost no activity whatsoever.
The conclusion is simple: Claims of what to expect from SI’s moderators is window dressing. Do SI moderators, as claimed for them “mostly do a lot of watching?” Do they operate primarily as “referees?” Of course not!

That the SI team are the top posters and the most “active members” is understandable. With SI staff’s personal and/or site biases having alienated or driven off most every non-Calvinistic fundamentalist and/or person who does not embrace the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism there is virtually no one left at SI for what is left of *SI’s membership to engage in a reasonable discussion or debate.

In closing: SI intends to publish results from its recently concluded survey. A few weeks ago a sample of the results was published by site publisher Aaron Blumer. You can read samples at SI “Survey SAYS…”


*SI (2.0) once claimed 4,000 registered members. Today, SI (3.0) claims just over 1,000 members, quite obviously with very few “active members outside its admins and moderators.

SI is responding to the revelation of the issues being raised here. SI is revising it claims to members and potential advertisers that are detailed above. Please continue to, Gratifying Responsiveness of SI

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