Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, modern life on a heathen path, community interaction, and general heathenry.

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Taking Over an Asatru Internet Forum part 1

Once again, as I did before when I became manager of the old MSN Asatru group, I've just taken over management of an Asatru internet forum. There are a few notable differences from the last time. Firstly, this time I'm fully prepared and qualified to run an internet forum. Secondly, this time I wanted the job. Thirdly, the internet is different than it was back then. Fourthly, MSN Asatru had about 200 members, and the American Asatru group on Facebook, formerly known as the American Asatru Association, has about 4,500.

With both groups, I inherited an established forum with its own established procedures and expectations. MSN Asatru was a free for all. I didn't screen members or moderate posts, excepts to remove commercial spam, and to remove posts that violated the terms of use of the MicroSoft Network, which meant I removed anything even vaguely pornographic, including any nude images. Images were not used on forums very often back then, because posting an image in one of the one MSN Groups required an image host site and some basic knowledge of html.

In 2001, online heathen forums didn't have the huge troll problem that they have today. A minimally moderated space could reasonably expect to have mostly non-troll posts on it. These days, trolls tend to take over any space from which they are not deliberately excluded. In the previous generation, trolls were generally considered harmless. Today, we know that some trolls cross from online harassment to offline violence, that trolls have the same psychological profile as serial killers and that they may escalate in violence over time.

My first step in taking over the forum was to recruit a big team of group moderators. I dubbed them Trollslayers. 

 

Image: public domain clip art depicting the internet connecting the world

 

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, American Celebration, and other books. She has been a sworn Priestess of Freya since 1989, is a Bride of the Ninefold Odin (Odin, Honir, Lodhur, Loki) and given to Sigyn. She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is the Acquisitions Editor at Caliburn Press. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is gythia of American Celebration Kindred.

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