The internet(s) is a powerful and terrible place. It is filled with every aspect that humanity has to offer. The hero. The troll. The king. The peon. Many of them trying to get along in peace and harmony with just as many trying to incite chaos and anarchy.
I’ve been online essentially since its inception. In 1996, I addictively got plugged in, but through all of my trials and tribulations online, I learned a great deal too. I taught myself HTML and graphic design. I learned how to network. And I learned how to spot good people in complete strangers.
When I developed the first dedication website to author Terry Brooks, I didn’t know what I would need in the future. I was ignorant then. But as the site began to grow and when it became the official web presence for Terry, I knew I needed help. The site and its content I could run but it was the message board and forum I knew I couldn’t handle 24/7. After all, I need to sleep at some point, right? And Terry has fans all of the world in all sorts of time zones I wouldn’t be able to monitor.
At the time I worked as a manager at Barnes & Noble. I received excellent training there. I knew I needed a small group of moderators to help me police the trolls who I knew would invariably come and I knew I would have to guide them in proper ways to handle these situations without flaming, without rancor, and with the best possible outcome for the forum community.
The moderators have come and gone over the years. Some move from being online; others can’t put the time in that is required by my whip-driving hand. The group I have right now are some of the best. They’ve been with me for a number of years now, I’ve trained them the best that I can, and when members on Terry’s forum get out of line—whether they be tenured or new—the moderators do their job to ensure the transgressors understand the Rules they have broken, how they can remedy it, and if they can’t there is the door after breaking it three times.
The moderators don’t get paid for this. But being Terry Brooks fans they get the next best thing. Every year Del Rey Books and Terry send them an Advance Reading Copy of the forthcoming Brooks book. It’s the least we can do.
I asked the moderators if I could highlight pictures of them here, with their ARCs, with my thanks. Here they are in their geeky glory:
The great thing is, when DragonCon 2011 happens later this summer, many of these moderators are making the trip to Atlanta. Why? Because Del Rey Books and Terry Brooks are being featured. Like a few years ago, Terry will meet with his moderators again face to face and it should make for a fun time had by all.
So the next time you go onto a message board and if those moderators are doing their job, let them know. They are often thankless yet they do a great deal of work to ensure the forum runs smoothly.
Thank you, Terry Brooks forum moderators, for your earnest and sincere work.
You deserve it.