The qualifications that were posted by the active mod were as follows:
1. An active member in this community... in other words, your name should ring a bell.
2. A Christian
3. Generally respected already by the community at large
4. At least have shown more maturity than me (which shouldn't be too hard)
I don't fit within any standard definition of the second requirement, and I don't really have a good read on whether I fit any of the other three -- but my interest was genuine. Despite how much I gripe about that com, I enjoy reading it, have several e-acquaintances from it, and learn a lot from the different perspectives on spirituality. Also, it's an exercise in tact and mutual respect in disagreement.
And to be honest, I thought I could ... well, help. The com suffers from a pretty bad reputation of members mistreating each other. Generally, it's Christians and non-Christians disagreeing as a result of hypersensitivity -- the most common pattern outside of an expicitly judgmental or rude comment is when someone makes a comment that someone else construes as an attack; this happens almost daily in the discussion threads. Of course, non-Christians disagree with each other, as do Christians.
It's understandable, really: matters of faith are different than matters of logic, and when someone is questioned about WHY they believe something, it's very easy to confuse an earnest inquiry with a setup for a written onslaught. And since matters of faith are intensely personal, it's also very easy to interpret questions of faith as personal attacks.
I know. I question a lot.
The main problem is simply that, for whatever reason, hardly anyone in there gives the benefit of the doubt to anyone else. Also, it's rare that anyone indicates consideration of a viewpoint other than their own.
I didn't have any illusion that adding me to the team would solve anything, but I think I could definitely have contributed to more civility in the discussions than I see there. Mods teach by example.
But to be honest, I didn't hold a hope that I'd be considered.
In the week following the post, three mods were appointed, one of whom I've never seen comment in there, and I heard no reply in regard to my own candidacy, despite two follow-up replies to the original post. Finally, just because I have a complete inability to ignore being ignored, I commented in response to the main mod in a completely unrelated discussion, and got a response via e-mail.
Essentially, I was told that I was not considered because I am not Christian. The mod also mentioned that the guy who started the com wanted it to be moderated by orthodox Christians.
Of course I replied with a bunch of things I asked him to consider ... not about me, but about the idea of having a non-Christian mod.
The com declares itself to be welcoming of non-Christians, although most of the non-Christians there believe this to be completely untrue. I figure having a non-Christian mod among the Christian mods would demonstrate unequivocally that this com -IS- welcoming to non-Christians. It would show that the Christian mods actually trust a non-Christian to help equitably run things, and that a non-Christian perspective is welcome.
Second, modding a com doesn't have a lot to do with the theme of the com. Restricting the modship to Christians is a little like starting a com on racial relations, but not allowing anyone of a particular race to join the mod team. Rather, it has to do with nonpartisanship and equitably resolving disputes, and keeping the peace fairly in a manner that generates the most positive discussion. Perhaps most importantly, mods should not consider themselves to be teachers of doctrine; but rather moderators of communication.
Third, the com has evolved, and is still evolving, from when it started. In the couple of years I've been reading, I've seen the userinfo expanded a couple of times to be open to non-Christians and for the topics of discussion to be broadened in scope. As the readership has expanded, the purpose of the com has changed, along with its character. There are now perhaps more non-Christian and non-orthodox Christian readers than ever before, and I think it's healthy for the mod team to reflect the diverse nature of the readership.
The mod's response was brief and impatient. I am not a Christian, end of story. Further, it included a warning against public discussion in the com about this.
Probably a good thing I wasn't approved.