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Forum Moderators: rogerd
I am a very new member - so thank you in advance for indulging me! I apologise if this is an issue you've all covered before but...
I run a parenting website which has a forum (it runs on phpBB). There's small core of highly committed members, and they've known each other for years. I am the sole moderator with lots of other responsibilities in the company I work for, and so I only get to look into the forum about once a day, and that only on weekdays - so quite often I'm not on the spot when something goes wrong. Members have asked that some of them be give some moderation powers - they particularly want to be able to ban or disable other users!
I'm in two minds - the members tend to fall into cliques and I'm worried about stirring up divisiveness. On the other hand, members are right to be feeling they could do with more moderation. Any experiences out there that might shed light?
Because it's a parenting forum, the issues discussed are often emotional - members tend to fall into habit patterns of old fights, if you know what I mean. And there are a couple who genuinely stir things up when there is no cause to. And a couple of seriously loopy ones who I suspect are registering under different usernames and then arguing with themselves! So the problem is there is no easily identifiable, black-and-white, ban-them abuse. Just unpleasantness. I guess this is why I don't want to go the route of self-moderation - but was wondering how other people had found it to work.
Forums only work if they are open and on topic.
My first 2 moderators suddenly left and one was even banned as a member. Imagine having to explain that to your other members when they start begging for answers. The 2 "voted in" replacements have been much better choices. One is opinionated but very admired by others and the other is very matter-of-fact and tends to stay in the shadows. It's a great combination, and, much better than the disaster that happened when I chose moderators because they were eager to do the job.
I better summarize... if you want your forum to be successful, it will require more than a peek at it each weekday. If you don't have time, find the right person who does.
I run a very similar forum, even I have made admins, weekly admins to promote and involve them. Now I have almost 10 hands and 5 heads.
As I said trust people they are really good :).
If there is someone there whom you think you can trust their judgement, then start with them and go from there. Beyond that, you just need to work with whomever you give powers to and explain to them carefully what you expect of them and what they should and should not be doing. Provide them TEMPORARY measures in case of a major problem so that you can come in and make a final decision.
IE they might be able to temporary suspend a user who is causing a big problem, but not ban them. Such an action would only be done by you.
They might be able to move a post to a private forum, but not actually delete it, leaving that for you. That kind of stuff.
Hi - just wanted to say thank you for all the help. Report back on what happened? I asked the forum members to make suggestions for moderators and they've come up with a list of names that I'm happy with. So now I'll start working on what they can and can't do and what our policies will be.