Saturday, September 5, 2009

About Susan Polgar's Chess Discussion Forum

While I’ve lost interest in chess temporarily, I am still the Moderator at Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Blog (along with Paul Truong and Susan herself), so I think I ought to draw attention to this exchange.


I really can't comment on your own experiences with forum moderations. I will say that my experience with chess-discussion-moderators-not-named-Jack has occasionally been frustrating. See

Unfortunately, Chess Discussion has turned into Alt.rants.Zarathustra.silly, so I haven't had much cause to post there recently.

- From the USCF Politics Blog

Wick, I believe that you describe a problem that is all to frequent in discussion forums throughout the internet, not just chess forums, either. One, or a small group of very frequent individuals post lots of posts and give the impression that they “own” the site. Because of the frequency and ubiquitiousness of their posts, everybody else ends up dancing to their tune.

A specific problem is that you may begin a new topic on something and the next thing you know, they’ve posted a response. Due to the provocative nature of their response, you feel you must response to their response and then you’re off.

So, what is the rest of the public to do?

One solution is to abandon the field. The trouble is that the quality of discussion is lowered overall and the bad elements take over choice pieces of internet real-estate.

Another solution is to continue to post on topics that interest you and ignore them. I believe this to be a better solution to the problem.

As for moderator problems: Yes, the lawsuits have poisoned everything – and not just at Susan’s sites, either. For example, the USCF’s Moderators and their amen corner continually congratulate themselves on the great job they’re doing. I could offer stories that are every bit as bad as the one you offer above.

Unfortunately, I don’t see much improvement in this area – either at Susan’s site, the USCF’s site, or some of the rest. I have two suggestions:

  1. For USCF politics, how about people looking more towards Wick’s Blog? Also, contact Chessvine, too.

  2. There’s more to chess that USCF politics. The main thrust of Susan’s site as well as her main interest is pure chess: things like tournament news, strategy, tactics, openings – things like that. The source of problems and complaints have been near 100% on the USCF Politics section. How about people using Susan’s site more for those other things.

Finally, don’t forget the Chess Discussion Viewer – easily the best tool for chess discussion on the internet today. You can input games, positions, puzzles, together with variations and comments thereon and have that all visible from within the site. All that is needed for people to see the moves is to click the mouse – much as they maneuver through positions in ChessBase or Chess Assistant. They can then comment on it on the forum just like they can comment on politics. - Chess over politics – what a heresy!

1 comment:

  1. moderators crack me up. It's the "tone" they're concerned with (in my experience), not the content.

    For example, "tsawmiller" (aka "Moderator7") requested I edit one of my posts in the USCF forum because I said, "Sam Sloan lied...". He had an issue with the tone. When I changed it to "Sam Sloan has perpetuated falsehoods..." he had no objection.

    PC language has officially taken over. I didn't change what I said, I simply added three words to the main point. Less is NOT more, in other words. Seems descriptive language is only useful when you go the indirect, round-a-bout, multi-syllabic route.

    - Matt Nemmers