There’s a lull in proceedings at present so I’ve been analysing my Blog stats and the search engine terms people use before finding me. Fascinating reading it makes too. The searches range from ‘fugitive nuns on the run in France’ via ‘do I have to declare that I’ve been removed from the NMC register if I apply for a job as a nurse in a care home?’ to ’what is a stalking horse?’ and ‘what’s it like to work for the Alzheimer’s Society forum?’. With a sprinkling of the obvious essay questions such as ‘describe how issues of public concern have altered public views of the care sector’ and ‘what does vicarious liability mean in nursing?’.
I’ve written a few words about all of the above - yes, even Nuns on the run- the alternative to residential care - but I don’t seem to have mentioned what it must be like to work for the Alzheimer’s Society forum. So here goes, and I confess here and now that I can only comment on the qualities you may need, Dear Searcher, rather than the reality of the life of a moderator or administrator on the Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point forum.
This selection of posts by moderators may give you an idea of the heartless, cruel person you need to become, if you are to succeed.
Moderator 1 starts a thread with: “Do not feed the troll. …. because they are cowards …. they never write over (sic!) their own name and often reveal their trolliness (sic!) in the chosen ID. ….. Trolls rarely answer a direct question - they cannot, if asked to justify their twaddle – so they develop a fine line of missing the point.” ( Mod 1 then cites Wikipedia as the source of her wisdom, so you had better change your thinking, Dear Searcher, and acknowledge Wiki as a source of wisdom.)
Moderator 2: “Thank you … we learn something every day …. …. and here was I thinking a troll lived under a bridge.” (Sarcasm is a requirement for a successful application, Dear Searcher.)
Member interrupts this indelicate and immoderate session: “I’m just about to send you a PM (Private Message).” (You will soon learn the power of the PM system, used and abused by Moderators galore, as they spread their message to their fan-club.)
Moderator 3: “It is my belief we currently have a troll posting to Talking Point. This is a person who has mental health issues …. Our troll’s aim is destruction, pure and simple. …. Make no mistake, they don’t even recognize they have a problem. Sad but true.” (So, Dear Searcher, you will also need to be as cruel as this moderator can be, even when she has declared openly that she has been taking medication for years for her depression. Hardly surprising – she spends her whole life moderating the forum immoderately. Perhaps that is another part of the job description.)
Moderator 1: “I agree with every single point you have made. That’s why I started this thread.” (Never disagree with Moderator 3 – that is not allowed.)
Moderator 4: “Thank you …. and thanks for starting this thread. It’s reassuring to know the facts about trolls.” (By now, Dear Searcher, you will realise that you need to demonstrate that you have the inner qualities of a dog, the kind of dog used for hunting foxes, now banned as a recreational pastime in the UK.)
Moderator 5: “It’s not me!”
Moderator 3 snaps rudely at a member who has a seriously ill husband and who is upset by this thread but who doesn’t know how to do quotes: “Can I ask something, B, … because I’ve been wondering? Do you not know how to do quotes or can’t you be bothered?” (Rudeness is a requirement.)
Member replies to Moderator 3: “It might have escaped your notice but we, (husband) and I need help. As do lots of others who are not so verbal as you are. …. You do not listen!’
Moderator 3 replies to same distressed TP member: “Look, …. We have a person posting on the board who the moderators have good reason to believe is not trustworthy. In the past, members have exchanged email addresses with this person only to be harassed by them.”
NB. I have it on good authority that was a lie from Moderator 3, and that the person in question had never harassed anyone by PM or by email. Moderator 3 then went on to tell more lies. but that’s what Moderator 3 has a nasty habit of doing, all in her own best interests, of course.
This unsavoury and tasteless exchange of posts, largely by moderators but with a few normal interjections by normal TP members, went on for some 70 posts or so, with mention being made by an administrator of the police almost having been called in to deal with this person’s allegedly threatening emails and PMs. (Telling outrageous untruths is another requirement. But of course, once you become an Alzheimer’s Society appointed moderator, you will be beyond challenge. You will be allowed to get away with virtual murder, and there’s nothing the normal membership can do about that. You will soon adapt to the slaughterhouse that is called Talking Point.)
These are just a few of the qualities you may need, Dear Searcher, if you are to want to apply to work on the Alzheimer’s Society’s online forum. Surely the Alzheimer’s Society cannot be proud of allowing its moderators and administrators to post like that on what is supposed to be a forum providing support and care for its members. The Alzheimer’s Society ignores totally the voice of the members.
But fear not, Dear Searcher, the Alzheimer’s Society received a big fat donation of more than £670,000 from Santander in 2011 to fund the online forum Talking Point for 3 years. It pays for an annual gathering in London of the moderators, the one living in the US, the one living in Canada, and all the others in the UK, all expenses paid, of course.
Compare and contrast that £670,000 being squandered on a sometimes sad and feeble chat-room, dominated by Moderator 3, with the fact that the Alzheimer’s Society is now planning to charge dementia sufferers £10 to receive a befriending visit from a Volunteer Befriender. That’s £10 per visit. The Alzheimer’s Society says that dementia sufferers can apply for and use a Personal Budget from their local authority to pay for the visit. That decision is not being received well be the Alzheimer’s Society’s online forum supporters. They are voicing their objections here.
Funny way to run a charity.