Interview: Kerry Oliver, Moderator for MCR.com and MCRmy.com

Kerry is a 21 year old Pet Specialist living in England with her boyfriend and cites her favourite things, along with MCR, as cats and chocolate.

When and how did you become an MCR fan?

I first heard about the band in 2005. I was sat in my drama class – it was full of popular girls, except me and one guy. The girls were teasing the guy for listening to this band called “My Chemical Romance”, saying how awful they were and did that mean he was… dun dun duuuuun… EMO?! A few weeks later, I was listening to the radio and a song I had never heard came on. I immediately loved this song, and I just knew it was MCR. I waited until the song finished and the presenter confirmed my thoughts. It turns out it was I’m Not Okay. That was when I knew this was the band for me.

What made you join in with the fanbase as opposed to just listening to the band?

I had heard about the MCRmy through general online shenanigans – at this time “MCRmy” referred primarily to the street team who promoted the band and were occasionally rewarded with private competitions and exclusive thank you messages (e.g. this). I loved the thought of being able to give something back to the band that gave me so much, so in 2007/8 I joined up.

What’s the story behind your becoming an official moderator?

The MCRmy used to be part of a website called TSN (The Street Network), which hosted several band’s street teams. This got shut down as the MCRmy was pretty much the only active street team on it, and shortly after with no warning, the MCRmy got shut down too. Many of us tried to stay in contact via Twitter or Facebook, but a lot of people lost contact. Shortly after this, the community section on mychemicalromance.com opened up, originally exclusively for those who had been members of the MCRmy. Then in 2011, we were finally given back our home; MCRmy.com.

The original moderators from the TSN MCRmy were invited to continue their role, as well as Cassie who is well known within the MCR world (hi Cassie!). These were people I kept in contact with via Twitter, so they were able to vouch for me. During the first couple of months of the MCRmy being open, I tried to be as helpful as I could to new members who were unfamiliar with the rules. I then took the plunge and emailed Tina, who ran MCR’s online community, asking if she would be interested in having another moderator. I think it was a couple of weeks before she replied, but the answer was yes! I think it was another couple of months before I became a moderator on mychemicalromance.com.

I’ve always got the impression that there’s a lot of moderator work that regular members don’t see. What exactly goes on in the MCRmy back rooms?!

It’s funny that you should refer to them as back rooms, as we actually have two back areas; the moderator control panel and the admin control panel. Generally, when we’re online and it says “viewing board index” [publicaly], we’re actually checking the control panels. Through the moderator CP we can view everything that has been reported and manage deleted or unapproved content. Through the admin CP we can manage members, change usernames, settings, ban or delete accounts, give warnings, delete spam. There’s probably much more we could do but there’s so many buttons, I don’t think I could possibly investigate them all!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done as a moderator?

Being a moderator has made me quite protective of MCR and their work. When Conventional Weapons was coming out, each one was being leaked and I took it upon myself to investigate with a few others who and how they were doing this. It was really strange because I got so deep into it that eventually I just had to take a break from it all as it was really getting to me. After I took a step back, I realised that it was out of my hands and that, if the record company weren’t going to do anything about it, then I couldn’t either. It’s not really that important in hindsight, especially as that person clearly just wanted attention, but at the time it felt like they were hurting MCR, which quite clearly is not cool!

Some fans can take out their frustrations about the band or their personal issues on moderators, while others struggle to communicate because of language barriers and most are just concerned with meeting like-minded MCR fans. Have you found it challenging working with such a variety of people from across the globe?

It has definitely been challenging at times. I’ve been insulted and called names countless times and I’ve even received death threats twice. I don’t take them seriously though… there’s not much a 13-year-old girl can do to me from several thousand miles away!

Part of the job is to step in to arguments and try to neutralise them. Sometimes, however, this can work by the two sides stopping arguing and instead yelling at me. It has ranged from small things like locking an inappropriate thread that broke the rules triggering the person to private message me and tell me what an awful person I am, to somebody pretending to be Frank’s sister (amongst a whole other package of lies) and when I warned people that she was not telling the truth and was spreading rumours about the band, she messaged me telling me that Frank hated me, she was going to have me banned from the website (lolwhut?!) and she was going to stab me. Got to be honest, that last one made me laugh!

In all seriousness though, it is a really rewarding role but also frustrating, especially when there are rumours going around that clearly aren’t true.

Do you have a favourite mod-related memory? Have you got a favourite part of being a moderator?

As I touched on before, it’s just been great being able to give something back to the band. It’s enabled me to meet so many fans and get to know a few people who work at Warner Brothers and know the band, and also it’s a great thing I can put on my CV! My favourite memory though is actually being asked to be a mod by Tina. It’s such an honour for me because I think the MCRmy probably means more to me than the band!

Have you noticed a change in MCRmy behaviour since MCR ended? Do you think the end of the band has changed the fan base in general?

I don’t think there’s been a massive change in behaviour; obviously a lot of people were surprised and upset, but the main thing that changed is the amount of people using the website! There’s a lovely regular bunch of people who post most days, but it’s still nice to have some new people. Just because the band have stopped making music doesn’t mean we have to stop talking about them, so join if you haven’t already!

If you could change one thing about the MCRmy, what would it be?

The believing-everything-you-hear-ness. Of course not everybody does this, but there are too many people (in every single fanbase, not just the MCRmy) that will hear something and not even consider that it might not be true. Lindsey cheated on Gerard? I doubt it. The band are getting back together? No they’re not (we can hope though I suppose). This goes for anything in life; always check the facts before making assumptions!

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