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GMRedline 02-19-2010 12:08 PM

Forum Moderation
 
The real purpose of forum moderators revealed | Community Building


As your forum becomes popular, you will inevitably need help administering it. Many forum owners understand the need for forum moderators but few understand what their real purpose is. This article will reveal what forum moderators should be used for – follow this advice and you will have an immediate head-start over your competitors.

Forum moderators are not police officers

The biggest mistake forum owners make when taking on forum moderators is expecting them to police the community. Many see the main role of moderators as enforcers of the site rules, as people who delete posts they don’t like and lock topics the moment they run off-course. If these are the priorities of your moderators, you are doing it all wrong.

As I have said before, you must never repress your community. You must ensure that you moderate your forum effectively – this means adopting a laissez-faire approach and allowing your members a large amount of freedom. If you or your moderators crack down on members the second they step out of line, you will be sending a negative signal to your community that free speech is not tolerated on your site. You will make people nervous and discourage them from getting involved – hardly the ingredients for a successful community!

Forum moderators should promote interaction

The primary role of a forum moderator should be to promote interaction. A forum moderator should be posting new threads and adding new content to the site. They should be helping out members with their queries and they should be keeping threads alive by asking questions.

I am not saying that forum moderators shouldn’t be allowed to delete or lock threads that are inappropriate – of course this should be one of their roles. What I am saying is this should never be their primary role.

When you take on forum moderators you need to make it clear exactly what you expect from them. Most moderators see themselves as forum police officers and will only edit/delete/lock content without creating any themselves. This is a mistake – make sure your moderators know that their primary role is to encourage interaction, to encourage member involvement, and to encourage a sense of community within your forum.

Your moderators

Do you have moderators on your forum? Have you made their role clear to them? Have you advised them that their primary role should be to create content and encourage member interaction? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.



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I am not going to focus on the negative porition of forum moderation because we all know what is going on here.

BUT

What I would like to talk about is the second half of this info.

RLFs does not have active moderators who promote interaction and information sharing. RLFs does not have active moderators who update "Stickied" threads. RLFs does not have active moderators who start threads to encourge discussion about the topics that RL owners care about.

Moderators should be a member first, a Moderator second.




Omega_5 02-19-2010 12:16 PM

Excellent article!
I think every moderator should take a good long read, and take it all in.

BTW... I like the last line of your post... :)

Administrator 02-19-2010 12:21 PM

So who would like to step up and become a moderator? I have asked the community before to little response, and the only suitably level headed individuals who answered are already mods here. You seem to be an expert on moderation and moderators GMredline. Who would you suggest buddy?

Nadeem

LittleMT 02-19-2010 12:22 PM

I have said in the past that there really isn't a 'forum moderating' handbook. Hmm, maybe there is... I'll read this article. But I will also point out that as a moderator we have more information about certian things that might be happening as oppose to regular members. Sometimes, tough decisions have to be made.

NCStateRedline 02-19-2010 12:28 PM

I nominate gmredline to be a moderator, if it's up for vote

Omega_5 02-19-2010 12:28 PM

To both of you... I've said it before, and I'll say it again; it's not a hard job... anyone can do it, with enough time and patience. You just need to set some ground rules, and not let the power get to them. Sometimes, even mods need a break at times.

I'm by no means new to the whole thing... as I've stated in the past, I run enough local forums to know how to deal with people on and off line. No one is a 'bad person' because they can. You can always avoid a banning. Even the trolls that come over to flame can be reasoned with, and eventually become good members.

As far as who I'd suggest; pick someone well known and respected in the community, who is knowledgeable about RL's, LSJ's, and is familiar with forums. Lay down some ground rules, and give them some communication reading to go over. Between the respect, and communication, the mod job will be relatively easy.
Now, I don't want to volunteer someone without them agreeing to it... but GMRedline would make an excellent mod... he fits the job description perfect. Just my 2cents.

LittleMT 02-19-2010 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omega_5 (Post 861295)
To both of you... I've said it before, and I'll say it again; it's not a hard job... anyone can do it, with enough time and patience. You just need to set some ground rules, and not let the power get to them. Sometimes, even mods need a break at times.

I'm by no means new to the whole thing... as I've stated in the past, I run enough local forums to know how to deal with people on and off line. No one is a 'bad person' because they can. You can always avoid a banning. Even the trolls that come over to flame can be reasoned with, and eventually become good members.

This isn't my first dance btw, I have 5 years of moderating experience from a few other forums. At times and most of the time it can be easy, but then sometimes things happen which require tough and unpopular decisions.

skatinboarding 02-19-2010 12:37 PM

Our stickies need to be updated...

Omega_5 02-19-2010 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LittleMT (Post 861297)
This isn't my first dance btw, I have 5 years of moderating experience from a few other forums. At times and most of the time it can be easy, but then sometimes things happen which require tough and unpopular decisions.

No offense... but maybe you need a break.

The second you became a mod, things 'changed'... and you said it yourself.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Benfica7 (Post 852309)
Funny how things change.... when your name is in bold red letters.

Quote:

Originally Posted by LittleMT (Post 852360)
yeah, they change.

There should be no change... a mod is a member.... and if they can't stick with the community, they will lose the trust and respect.

LittleMT 02-19-2010 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omega_5 (Post 861299)
No offense... but maybe you need a break.

The second you became a mod, things 'changed'... and you said it yourself.




There should be no change... a mod is a member.... and if they can't stick with the community, they will lose the trust and respect.

yes they do change, you go from being a member to having to uphold rules and boundries set forth by the Staff, which is exactly what I meant.


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