tangor - 1:51 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
On boards where ordinary civility is iffy, any mod needs to be a leader by example and also thick skinned, with sufficient authority to can members for a timeout or to boot off the forum. Lacking that, you've got a cheerleader, great to improve some parts of the forum conversation, but insufficient to demand it. These potential moderators can be found, and will be found in their participation... but once given moderator status two things to observe, their effectiveness over at least a three month to one year period and/or see if "power" goes to their head making them even more obnoxious than the list members. There's a large difference between firm and heavy-handed.
What really needs be done is for the site owner to lay down simple and ordinary rules first. A notice posted on forum rules, a link in place to remind users of the rules so a mod doesn't burn out typing the same thing over and over... Truth is, however, once a forum gets out of hand, it is extremely difficult to regain control, and when that control is asserted, unruly members will desert, and some members will desert because of "freedom of speech".
That second part goes only so far.... on my forums I remind folks they are visiting My House of Topic and I don't allow pissing on the floor, swearing without good reason, or ad hominen attacks, ie. respect the House.
Decide what you want your forum to achieve, then build your members, and moderators, toward that goal.