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Tips: Being a successful Moderator

How to moderate without moderating.



10:10 pm on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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.


4:26 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Great points, zigx. I think we've all been to forums where the mods fight with the members, and it's never conducive to building a stable community. (I kind of like the cartoon idea, though. ;))

>>BAM the area was created

Hmmm, though forums appear with a bang, there may be months (or longer) of discussion before a decision is made. Every new forum is a tradeoff - it allows a sharp focus for special interest, but it spreads the community thinner; of course, it may grow the community, too, by pulling in new members with that focus.

Another good thread on the topic started by Marcia: Mary Poppins Moderating [webmasterworld.com]

Automan Empire

2:52 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Great post, Zig. What was your third example, though? You're killing me!

Moderating IS a special role... not unlike parenting. You can't be an effective parent if you try to be a "buddy" with your children... it IS possible in the moderator role, but takes a high level of self-discipline... especially when some of the members start actually acting like spoiled children, which always happens sooner or later whatever the forum!


3:11 pm on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'd like to stress the value of moderator posts. With good, active moderators you have a steady stream of high quality posts from a credible source. You can't just be an enforcer of rules, you have to be a contributer as well.

As far as moderation goes, zigx is right on the ball, the tone of your forum is absolutely dictated by the tone of the moderation.


4:02 am on Feb 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I agree with chad - a mod who is an active and well-respected poster will be more successful than someone who is primarly seen as the forum police.


10:31 pm on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

lol that was a tYPo! =(

There were going to be three examples, but the third would have basically identified the board and i just do not want to go there. I don't like to bad mouth people, (doesnt set a good vibe haha) so i will not be doing anything like that.

Thank youf or your comments guys.


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