Moderating a forum is very important because the moderators and site staff basically set the tone of the community/forum.
Let me say this again, the moderators set the tone of the forum.
What is the tone? The tone is the feeling that your forum gives off. Some are warm and friendly, some feel professional, some feel like anarchy and others have no feeling at all.
The tone of your board is SO important because once the tone is set, the members and new members will be people of that flavor.
So how do you moderate without being a moderator? You moderate by setting an example.
I will give you 3 examples:
1) Webmaster World: This board feels professional, and very rich in trustworthy content. Why? The mods/owner are professionals. They contribute to the site useful information, and over time repeat visitors HAVE to have realized that what they say is credible and usually correct.
The members who post at Webmaster World generally present useful information or logical questions that can globally help the webmaster community. Same with responsive posts.
2) Board X: The board I am using here I will keep anonymous but I have watched it since its inception. The mods attack 'stupid' members...Even goto the length of drawing cartoons of them. The site admins remove people's posts without warning, ban people for saying something negative about their staff and finally edit posts. I am not talking about <snip here and <snip there>, I mean that user posts are actually changed to false information.
Now the resulting community that has come about after 4 years is exactly the same. They have been raised that way and will continue in those patterns. People who try to conduct biz on this board get flamed and its all together just a dramatic board.
Basically a community and forum are the product of the administrative team. Its almost like a baby that has to be raised a certain way so that it can mature on its own.
When moderating a forum one needs to think this way and understand that his or her actions are watched and will in some ways be repeated and used as an example for how to act.
Here are a few pointers that will REALLY help you put together an awesome group of people:
-Edit posts ONLY when 100% necessary. People do NOT like to have their things messed with.
-When you take an authoritative stance at someone, do NOT publicly ridicule them, but instead publicly express the act that is in violation. Then take the time to contact the member and explain the situation in a friendly tone. If the offense was critical then of course remove the person and posts.
-Give the members freedom. What does this mean? The environment of a forum should be open and allow members to express their points, no matter what it maybe.
-Listen to members and react to their feed back. It really shows that you care when you consider someone else’s idea and act on it.
-Use a filtering system to create NEW forums and expand the community reach. For example, look at how the Forum Community Building area was developed. There were a lot of discussions popping up regarding forums, and BAM the area was created. When you do this it allows people to categorize their ideas and threads more accurately and shows that you are building the community and expanding.
If you have more, please add.