Being the administrator on Bikeforums.net certainly has its challenges. One of them is trying to please most of the members. I gave up a long time ago trying to please them all. Now that we’re over 80,000, it’s just not possible.
One of the biggest issues is the fact that while cyclists as a whole are represented by both sexes fairly evenly in the real world, it’s much different online. I would estimate that less than 10% of participants on the forums are women, with only about 1% of the entire membership having access to the Women’s Cycling forum. And they’re the ones that really count. They represent all the people that browse the forums, but haven’t joined, as for whatever reason, they have chosen not to participate.
While some people might think that such a small minority shouldn’t have much of a voice in how the forum is run, I see it the other way around. Until we make the forums a place where anyone can feel comfortable posting, I’m not doing my job. It doesn’t matter if you’re a roadie, a fat-tire MTB rider, a commuter, or a parent looking for advice on what to get your kid. Everyone should feel like they can participate, and they should not be subjected to offensive language, posts, or images.
I’ve never felt that it was best to be heavy-handed with the moderation, but some members just don’t know where to draw the line, leaving it up to us to step in. It shouldn’t have to be that way.
Some days, I’d rather go dig weeds out of my lawn than be on the forums.