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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Self-Storage Talk Moderators: What They Do, Why They Do It, How They're Chosen

By Gina Kudo Comments
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Editor's note: Gina Six Kudo, a Self-Storage Talk moderator with the username Gina6k, submitted the following blog entry.

Lately, the moderators for Self-Storage Talk, the largest online forum in the industry, have realized many people are unclear about what moderators do and why we do it. Because this misconception leads some to think we are super-powered and all-knowing, let me take this opportunity to set the record straight.

First of all, each of the forum moderators at varying times received an unsolicited invitation from the staff of Inside Self Storage. Though only the staff knows the exact criteria, I do know they consider helpfulness, quality of posts and information provided by each of us over a period of time before extending the offer to become moderators.

While I can't speak for the other moderators, I can tell you about my experience. I lurked about for a while from the very beginning of the site in 2008. It was interesting reading but fairly sparse. Then as things began to pick up a little bit and discussions began happening, it was getting more interesting. I finally joined and started posting in April of that year. Interestingly enough, I think my first post was a response to something Autodoc (also a moderator and long-time member), and I may have disagreed with him. Now, we're good friends because of the site.

As the forum began to grow, the ISS staff reached out for more help. Some of the earliest moderators are industry veterans such as Jim Chiswell, Mel Holsinger, John Roser, Jeffrey Greenberger and many others. Autodoc was the first non-owner, non-vendor, facility manager to join the moderator team. When ISS's Editorial Director Teri Lanza put out the call for new moderators, a discussion ensued and mine was one of the names that popped up. Along the way, some people have been invited and declined for various reasons, others of us naively said, "Sure, we’ll help," and the rest is history.

So, what do we do? We meet monthly by phone to discuss forum topics and problems and to share ideas on how to grow the forum. Call it cross-country brainstorming. All moderators volunteer their time and try to maintain a helpful, friendly, customer-service-oriented forum that everyone can enjoy. We are tasked with enforcing the forum rules, not because we’re anything special, but because all communities must have rules and it's a big job enforcing them. It takes a legion of knowledgeable members to make it happen. We try to engage, encourage or begin discussions while maintaining a pleasant atmosphere for all. Each of us tries to diffuse tension with humor, to enlighten while offering members an opportunity to engage and debate a topic all the while learning the various methods of obtaining the same end goals. With one exception (Jeffrey Greenberger), we aren’t attorneys, nor are we paid research assistants. We aren’t asked to provide all of the answers but rather to share experiences and encourage learning by all.

We hope you visit the site, register for free [http://wwww.selfstoragetalk.com/register.php], meet some new friends, share some experiences and learn a trick or two along the way. As fellow moderator Storman so aptly and astutely shared at a roundtable discussion, "For me, Self-Storage Talk is the Google of the self-storage industry.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

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