God-Modding and Other Forum Diseases

Since the first creation of the social platform known as a ‘forum,’ there have been problems.  God-modding, trolling, attention whoring, vote manipulation, and rigged competitions are just a few of the many annoyances that have driven members from the many pages of the networking forum.  Today I will discuss a select few of these forum ‘diseases’ and their repercussions on the forum and its members as a whole.

1.  God-Modding:  No matter what the forum was created for, it is going to need someone to watch over it and help keep the members in line and make certain the rules get followed.  The more members and activity that the forum sees, the more moderators it is going to need.  To quote Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  In the 21st century, however, ‘power’ has become the drug of choice for many.  Becoming a forum moderator is often a great way for a person to gain instant power and respect.  Unfortunately, that power is often misused and abused, creating the ever unpopular “god-mod.”

A “god-mod” is someone who not only likes the power that has been given them, but also gets intense enjoyment out of using that power to hurt some members while protecting others.  Examples would be some members getting banned for breaking some unmentioned rule, or get banned without warning for breaking a rule while other members, often ‘friends’ of the mod or members of the elite ‘click’ group on the forum, will either not get banned for breaking that unmentioned rule or will get repeated warnings when they do break a rule rather than actually getting banned for it.  Sometimes a member will be told that they don’t ban a member for breaking rule X but will actually ban another member for breaking rule X after a ‘friend’ of the moderator complains.  Other examples include rigged competitions, removing threads or posts to remove evidence of their biased behavior, railroading members into voting a specific way in a contest or asking ‘friends’ to vote a certain way in contests or in order to manipulate ratings on the forum, railroad or threaten ‘friends’ if they do not do what is asked, and make requests to the administrators for rules or regulations based on what he/she wants rather than what the majority want.

God-modding can potentially cost a forum hundreds of active members.  A networking site is only good if people feel comfortable, accepted, and welcome.  If a god-mod is abusing their power and making biased decisions, it can create the opposite atmosphere in a forum.  If members feel that they maybe openly attacked, belittled, threatened, or even banned from a forum for voicing their opinions, many members will either stop participating or even leave the forum completely.  A god-mod often sets the tone of a forum, and oftentimes members will attack other members out of fear of being attacked or banned themselves.  Worse-case scenario is that an otherwise active forum dies slowly with members leaving for forums that do not tolerate biased behavior from abusers of power.

2.  Attention-whoring and Trolling:  Attention whores and trolls come in all shapes and forms.  Attention whores can be trolls and vice versa, or they can be a pure attention whore or a pure troll.  Attention whores just want someone to pay attention to them and usually do this by giving some sob story.  They often create useless threads about nothing, or make some sob announcement, or any variety of other threads.   The sole purpose is to get as many people commenting on the thread as possible.  The difference between a pure attention whore and a pure troll is that trolls are attention whores whose motives are often malevolent in nature.

While a pure attention whore often gets attention by otherwise benign means, a troll gains attention by posting conflicting and oftentimes unpopular ideas.  They get attention by stirring in the proverbial pot of shit, creating conflict among forum members to get them to argue with each other.  It often leads to some extremely volatile arguments and can cause threats to be made by members, lost tempers, and an otherwise unwelcome feeling amongst the members.  Their purpose is to create discord amongst the members, to create conflict, and have a normally functioning forum erupt into a large mass of bickering members.  Such fights can break apart on-line friendships, can create a pack mentality against certain members who then may decide to leave the forum after being verbally attacked.

3.  Vote manipulation, rating manipulation, and rigged contests:  These types of biased actions can be the result of god-mod interventions and/or sock accounts.  Anytime it is suspected that members are manipulating contests, ratings, and votes, it can often result in declined forum participation, activity, and, in some cases, members will become so disgusted by the constant biased actions that they leave the forum completely.  Such problems with outcome manipulation can lead to members railroading against those who have spoken out against the unfair act, lead to public attacks on said members, and, if there is a god-mod involved, can lead to said member being banned, ostracized from the forum and, in extreme cases, can lead to the member(s) not being allowed to participate in any additional contests.  When dealing with ratings, some members will become discouraged by the constant negativity to the point where they will no longer frequent the forum, sometimes taking their activity to another site.

In the event of these diseases, members that leave the unwelcoming and unfair forum will often tell their tales of woe to the members of the new forum, encouraging members to not visit the forum that has fallen out of favor.  In this way, the disliked forum can lose even more members and potential members through word of mouth.  Allowing such diseases to continue to plague a forum can greatly impact its popularity, its activity, and its member population.

God Complex: My World, My Rules


As a fiction writer, I find the thought of having to write ‘real world’ stories to not only be boring, but, in a sense, a bit scary.  To write a story based in this reality, I would have to play by the rules of this world, bound by its physics, science, and the simple truths that most of us take for granted.  But when it’s my own world, my own creation, I am no longer playing by the tried and true rules that bind mere mortals to this plane.  It is for this reason that I choose to create my own worlds, put my own twist on commonplace other-worldly creatures.  When you step out of this realm and into one that you have created, you are no longer playing by anyone’s rules but your own.  You are no longer just a mere writer, but a creator of something much larger and uniquely yours.  And it is for this reason that many people are just as scared of trying their hand at creating something outside of the normal realm as I am of trying to create something that ties me to this universal existence.

Creating your own world can be a very challenging but richly rewarding exercise into creativity.  While it takes a large amount of creativity to create characters and a good storyline in this reality, creating an entire universe and the physics behind that universe takes a whole new mind-set and, in its own way, a whole new creative level.  Think of it this way:  even if you create a superhero that exists in this reality, you will have to create a whole new set of laws that govern his existence.  What happens when this character jumps up, gets wet, goes out into the sunlight, or gets shot?  Now take this entire scenario and put it on some distance world that no one knows anything about.  Suddenly you are the one playing god, creating the physics, the rules, the laws that govern not only the world you have created, but how the creatures and characters in that world act, react, and interact.  It not only takes a lot of creativity, but it also takes someone who is very detail-oriented, someone who does not mind doing countless hours of research to see how they can intertwine this reality’s physics and science into something new and unique.  It takes someone who can not only see the storyline and characters that they are creating for this storyline, but all the possibilities that could come for future novels, for future characters, and for future events.

Creating worlds, for me at least, works much like the intricate root system of a tree.  It often comes in sparkling bursts, seeing the small plotline that I have created suddenly erupt and scatter out like the delicate tendrils of a spider web.  That one idea snakes out, building atop itself, mingling and intertwining in and amongst itself until that single storyline has fanned out into so many interlocking scenarios and characters that the sheer beauty of the whole series could make one weep with joy.  It is simplistic in its design yet so uniquely complicated at times that the whole process amazes me.

It is not only this love of complexity but also the love of creating worlds not known by mankind, memorable characters and eye-popping scenes that keeps me grounded in a reality that I have created.  It is the love of the creative process, the love of making up my own laws of physics and science that keeps me digging around in my brain for ways to make even the most clichéd storyline seem new and exciting.  After all, when you write fiction, you are stepping out of the normal realm and into a reality that is uniquely your own.  And if you are going to write, wouldn’t you rather write by your own rules?