After a thread earlier in the week I began thinking about good forum design and moderation. I want to keep this abstract, because attacks on this particular forum will go down a road to nothing we haven’t seen before.
Interface-wise, conversation threading seems a good idea. On other forums, they sometimes allow the public to upvote posts, witch has the effect of filtering out the signal-to-noise but in an underinclusive way, especially for posts made a bit later. I’m not really up on ideas beyond threading and voting, but I’m sure some of y’all are!
Moderation wise, I’ve been to forums that are heavily moderated, non-moderated, and everything in between. I find heavily moderated has resulted the most rewarding conversations, but of course that requires someone with a dedication to Internet babysitting that is rare and nigh impossible to scale. But the rewards are pretty impressive.
If given the choice, I’d choose unmoderated versus lightly moderated. Lightly moderated is like the worst of all worlds – you have refs to complain to/about which creates an everpresent conversational tumor, but it doesn’t do very much to curate a community.