Do-it Programme Manager Olly B moderates the work, study and volunteering forums while secretly harbouring dreams to be become a funeral director...or not.
What's been your most memorable experience as a moderator?
I moderated another popular board a few years back. They used to have meet ups and I went to one; it was very odd seeing the people behind the usernames. One guy turned up in a wheelchair, which given we had booked an upstairs room of a pub was a problem, so we all ended up moving downstairs and spent the night in the public bar. It reminded me never to make assumptions about who our users are.
Do you ever have any difficulty balancing TheSite.org's editorial line with your own personal beliefs, how do you deal with this?
I've worked in broadcast media since I graduated so I'm used to remaining impartial. I don't think I have any really strong beliefs that I'd have major disagreements with.
What do you do other than moderating?
I'm the Do-it Programme Manager, so that means I'm responsible for developing TheSite.org's sister website about volunteering, Do-it.
If you had to be locked in a lift with another person who would it be and why?
I have quite a thing for foreign correspondents, so I could listen to the stories of John Simpson or Kate Aide for hours (actually I once waited for a taxi for 45 minutes with Kate Aide). Most journalists I find fascinating; from Dennis Murray who covered Northern Ireland through the troubles to Andrew Marr and his knowledge of contemporary British politics.
Other than that, Steven Fry because, well, let's face it you wouldn't get bored. And for eye-candy I wouldn't be desperate to be rescued if I was stuck in a lift with the Sugababes [the original lineup].
If you could change peoples' opinions on one subject, what would it be and why?
I think "don't underestimate the power you actually have". People convince themselves that they can't do anything to make things change; they have no influence or control. And then guess what, nothing changes.
"Be the one who kicks up a fuss, be the one who asks the difficult question. And then you'll discover that actually doors open and people want to hear what you have to say."
Be the one who kicks up a fuss, be the one who asks the difficult question. And then you'll discover that actually doors open and people want to hear what you have to say.
Do you learn from the posters' experiences?
Certainly. Professionally we're always interested in what people are posting about as it reflects what we put on the rest of the site. But I also think being open to the opinions of other people helps me to develop as an individual.
If you could set up one new forum what would it be?
A forum where people can post about what's right with the world. Every other forum seems to be about what's wrong with it; surely it's time for a little balance.
How does being a moderator fit with your career aims, if at all?
If I had to put my moderating on a CV I'd say: "I engaged, supported, promoted and motivated site users to realise their aspirations and potential." In reality I just press the big fat delete button and take the mickey out of ***Helen***.
What's your favourite thread?
Just like my favourite book or film it is the one I have yet to see.
If I was... I'd be a... because....
If I was to listen to what others told me, I'd be a funeral director because that is what the careers computer that we had a school told me I should be. I really struggle to see me as a funeral director somehow.