Now we come to what the Chat Room Managers and Moderators (CMs) have to say about their particular online experiences while working. I have looked around at CM dedicated sites, social networks, and spoke to a few I know. Here's a mix of their stories, and occasional grumbles. Bear in mind that they would not exist without you, so the experiences they recount are thanks to the online bingo community!
Most say that every day is different, and that while some people are quite loyal to certain chat rooms on certain sites at certain times, there is always something or someone new to fix the mix and make the CMs laugh and enjoy getting stuck in to the banter and chat. Some tell me that they have had genuinely moving experiences in chatting and encouraging and supporting players online, particularly those who have suffered low self-esteem, or some personal tragedy or issue. It seems that Bingo can be therapeutic and that CMs (and other players) can be very good non-judgmental counsellors! Most say that they feel refreshed after a good chat room session… sometimes even inspired.
A couple of chat room moderators have realised that they have a real bent, a real talent, for comedy and for relating to other people, even those they've never met face-to-face. One now is now on the comedy circuit and plans to go to the Edinburgh fringe next year, while the other is now studying to become a professional counsellor.
But let's get real. It's not a total honeymoon when you're moderating. There are downsides expressed, mostly far and few between. The main one seems to be encountering a person who has joined a site who is there either deliberately to wind up other players-Troll, Spam and tout their goods or services, or just be unpleasant to everyone. Most CMs have had one or two experiences of this, and say that most of the time it's quite clear what's going on and how to act. The more difficult ones are those that are sly and slip in negative comments or suggestions now and then and gradually build them up until they are generating bad vibes all over the Chat Room. One of the most difficult things of all, I've been told, is when a good friend or long-standing player suddenly takes a dislike to a new player and gives vent to their views to everyone else". However like most playground disputes, a skilful moderator can steer people to be sensible, and bring things back to the light and the laugh. Believe me all CMs hate to have to go to the extreme of banning a player. A rare occurrence thank Bingo!
Every CM has their favourite story. One, Frankie, was being chatted up for days on end up by a lady player who didn't realise she was female, to the amusement of the other Roomies. She saw the funny side of it afterwards!
One new to the game player had been told that all the CMs were in fact programmed robots with programmed responses. No matter what the CM tried to do to convince this player that her responses were human, the player countered by saying this was just a very sophisticated programme running!
Finally we have our transatlantic friends who come over and CM on British sites. I probably don't need to spell out some of the misunderstandings of language that can and does occur in chat rooms, except to record and remind people that the following words have very different meanings across the Pond: Pants, Shorts, Faggots, Hood and Trunk. The mind Bingo-Boggles!