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A day or three in the life of a forum moderator.

The Forum Moderator.

Mournful violin starts: Unloved by most, hated by some, ignored by others. Mournful violin ends abruptly to sound of needle being scratched across a record*.

*This is what a record looks like

Though I believe now they’re coming into vogue again. No, not that vogue.

A sometimes wildly inaccurate, often incoherent and perhaps untruthful diary of an ABAP moderator.  May contain nuts.

I mean – who’d do it?  What kind of narscissitic megalomaniac

would step forward and say “Yes” when asked to be a forum moderator?    You spend hours looking at abuse reports.  You see the worst of the community.

Occasionally you get to help some poor lost soul  out, even more rarely you get thanked.  But most of the time, you’re seen as a pedantic, soulless kill-joy, caring only about the minutae of the regulations being adhered to.  Nasty horrible bully.  Anyway, that’s why I do it.

In order to set the record wrong about matters I consider important, I’ve decided to break ranks and tell you what’s really going on in the moderator clique.  How we hatch plans designed to break the spirit of all but the strongest wills.  What goes on in the secret forum?  Who is “Princess Leia” or the even more mysterious “Zarniwoop”?  Maybe I’ll reveal these and even more disturbing half-truths about the enforcers.  Or maybe not.

I though I’d start off with a gentle introduction to a typical moderator day.

btw – moderator originates from the same root word as “modest”.  Originally, it was “modesterator”.  But then the French got their hands on it, and it became “Modêterator”.  Which was hard to say, so became “Moderator”.  This is not true.



( Note also the over use of exclamation marks.  Terry Pratchett says more than three is indication of insanity!!!! ).

I got up at 5am, and logged onto SDN (SCN – why does the name change, I can’t handle change. EDIT 2018 – I don’t even know what it’s called anymore).  Bleary eyed, I peer at the abuse reports…

You know when you click on (EDIT 2018) massive great button marked “Alert Moderator” that used to be a little triangle with an exclamation mark in it? When you spot someone who’s CAPS key is stuck – or missing?  That produces an entry in a little list we mods can see.  I say little.  But sometimes it’s a huge long list.

EDIT 2018 – not so big now that we have these tag thingies. Now we only see those that are relevant to our speciality. 

Hey look – someone is posting links to buy cheap Nike shoes.  Maybe SAP have gone into a joint venture but I doubt it.  Nah.  This must be spam.  So … I log into SDN, find all the post by that user.  Yup – he was created today, and all his posts are promoting nike knock-offs.  So, I charge my trusty deletoblaster, and BANG, ZZIP.  boingoingoing… the spam has been fried.  Quick message to the “Terminator” (aka, Zarniwoop), who fires up the ultimate weapon – the guestificator.  Also known as a the dodoizer.  A few hours later the Nike Spammer is pushing up the daises.

>Edit – exclusive here (and the rest of the world), a rare picture of Zarniwoop. With his guestificatoratoriser

> Edit 2 – the rare picture of Zarniwoop has disappeared. I think he took it with him when he went for an intergalatic cruise in his office.

There’s a few Smartform and SAPScript questions in ABAP General.  Form Printing forum  So I move them over to the correct forum with a little note asking the posters to use the right forum next time. EDIT 2018 – this is old. It’s all tags now. I remember when it was spaces. And before then…

A few issues here and there.  An email address posted.  A request for points(!).  A copy and paste of someone else’s material – you can get guestificated for that.   Two posts by the same user, in different forums – apparently the same content.  But a closer look reveals they are sufficiently distinct.  Gradually each raised abuse report is dealt with.

So, onto the forums.  And before I can start being helpful and answering queries- MORE MODERATION ISSUES.  How can people be so selfish…  *sob*.  It makes me want to cry: Crying baby

Oh well. Quickly clean up the offending posts.  Then, at last, I can start to make a constructive contribution to the community.  Then off to my day job…

…come evening, and back into the secret forum where we begin to discuss our on-going plan to… what? well yes…  but I promised to reveal all… how about some?  No…  Oh grief – not Leia again…  You want to mix it with WHAT!!!…  Well, no.  Who does like gumpo?……..

Me, I never wanted to be a lumberjack – just a rock and roll superstar.

EDIT 2018:

Not so many folk asking for points now. Though it does appeal to my sense of humour when people ask for an upvote and as a result get a downvote. But the work continues…

I gave up on my dream of rock and roll super stardom, and became a theatre director. Here’s a little from my last production, Aladdin. Aladdin and his brother Alcor decide they’ll go back to Basel to defeat the evil Zodiac the Zürcher who’s taken over. They enlist the help the Martini (like a Gini but not as strong), who produces a magical sword of heat, that looks suspiciously like a light sabre.

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  • More often than not, the abuse reports list is empty in the Moderator Console. I must admit it is near real time moderation. I have been onboard for about 2 weeks and rarely had to use my Sheriff's badge.
  • I would also like to thank everyone who uses the Abuse Report button!

    As Matt has said (somewhere around 6:30 A.M.) we do also comb and contribute to our forums as well, but the Abuse Reports log is a huge help to zap in on both misuse and misunderstandings quickly, before they become habit (or a flame war :-).

    Special thanks to all who help the mods keep the forums usable, searchable and "Expert Forums"!


  • Hi Matt,
    Your blog was a great pleasure to read. I'll think twice if I'm ever asked to moderate a forum. 🙂 Seriously, I think the moderators are doing a great job. If they do their job very well, it goes mostly unnoticed. It's hard behind-the-scenes work but it's necessary to keep the forums a sane place you can enjoy visiting. Without moderation they would probably look like a drug-infested railway station toilet (more often :)).
  • Matt,

    All these times I was wondering where should I fire for dismissing my blogs! At last I found you!!!

    Cheers Matt. You guys are doing a fantastic job to keep this place neat clean and reliable.

    Thanks heaps

  • After enjoying your blog immensely and laughing myself silly over your writing style and also sharing a picture I had of you ( Matt at TechEd Berlin ) with our Israeli cohorts here on my visit, I wondered a number of things about you.
    Why no blog picture of Matt?
    Why no second name for Matt?
    Is the name Yireh a code name? (it means shooting in Hebrew so I wondered if that is secretly linked to terminator)
    All joking aside you moderator guys and gals are my heroines and heroes and although I don't wish for you endless moderating work, I wish for all of us your endless enthusiasm.
    "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "The Wisdom of the Sands"
    French writer (1900 - 1944)
    • >Why no blog picture of Matt?
      I've not worked out how!
      > Why no second name for Matt?
      I got called Abrechnungsschinken.  Also, Matt Billingham get's abbreviated in the forums to Matt Billing.  Also, when I was going to change it, I couldn't.  And I just haven't got around to asking Zarniwoop to do it for me.  And it would be my fourth name - I've another 2 in between...
      >Is the name Yireh a code name?
      It comes from the first book of Moses,  22:14.  "G.d has seen to it" or "G.d will provide". The word "provide" or "seen", is "Yireh" - biblical Hebrew rather than modern, I guess.  Anyway, it seemed like a good name for my company, which aims to provide good service.  But shooting is good.  Troubleshooting.  Apparently, the Greek word is Eidos.  But the Lara Croft creators already had that...
  • Hello, thank you for the blog. If there are some more like yours, maybe you can reference them here? If there are not any like this one, you could write some more:)) Thank you, Otto
    • Thanks Otto. It's nice to be appreciated.

      I write blogs as and when inspiration strikes. And when I have the time.

      Sadly (or fortunately, depending on perspective) it doesn't often happen. Anyway, all my inspirational brain cells are working on the lyrics to my next theatrical endeavour.

  • What a great blog, I literally laughed out loud! This should be moved out to the About SCN space, so that everyone could enjoy. What a treat!

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! (this is totally worth being crazy about 🙂 )

  • Not the worlds fastest reader of SCN stuff these days, just wanted to second Jelena's commenmt.

    (will this get moderated as a 'me too' post ? or does that only happen if I agree with someone who comments badly on a moderator's blog ?)

        • I think some very badly run companies are powered by points. Incredibly, annual appraisals/targets are linked to how many points the individual accrues. Thankfully, being a freelancer, I don't have annual appraisals, so I don't suffer from such lunacy.

          • fair point and makes sense with some of the posts I have seen. The advise is repetitious and adds no additional value to what someone else has already suggested but worded slightly differently.

        • Points give a sense of power or achievement.

          Zynga created Farmville and other games, and it was all about points.

          For points, players performed tasks, referred game to all the friends, polluted the wall with updates...

          Another game called Cow Clicker was created by an individual to parody such social games, and it was a hit.

          • Hi Manish

            I got that... does that mean SCN starts up a profit centre and start selling points like Zynga does? They can even have half price sales 😉

            My point was more around members asking for the points.



          • Even Zynga made people ask their friends to join the game for referral bonus, and give/take virtual gifts to increase the collection of badges. Badges... are also part of this gamification.

          • I think I might add that to my comments to points hunters.

            "SCN is supposed to be about voluntarily helping one another. If you're only interested in points, try Farmville".

    • Thanks.

      Mostly it's fine. But you do, unfortunately, end up dealing with people who cannot comprehend that they are not the centre of the universe, from time to time. People who get so upset when they feel disrespected, but are not willing to show anyone else any respect.

  • Matthew, just came across this old gem of yours (thanks to Jelena for pointing it out), and all I can say is... brilliant!

    Ok, I could say quite a bit more, but I'll restrain myself. The tools may have changed, but the situations encountered remain pretty much the same eight years later.

    • I've just re-read it. Not much has changed. We even still see posts asking for rewards... though admittedly not as often.


      I deleted the blog of someone who, despite repeated requests to remove his Bio information from the blog, didn't do it.

      I deleted a couple of program specifications - where people are expecting others to do their job for them.

      I deleted a few FAQs. Jelena helpfully pointed out in the mod report comments exactly how many hits on google they got. In fact, with Jelena's reports, I generally copy her comments, and then agree with the report. If this carries on she might end up being press-ganged... 😀