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Forum Moderating Thoughts and Tips

by Martina Wormuth on October 26, 2012

I’ve shared before that I love games. Computer games, board games, you name it, I probably enjoy it. Some games I love so much that I’m involved in communities that talk about games. Some of these communities are very generic; others focus on certain companies or even particular games. Usually in these communities are some sort of communication, usually in the form of a forum.

I have been involved with one community in particular for several years, and about 3 years ago, they added a new sub-board and asked me to become the moderator for it. I was hesitant, but I accepted the task and am still a moderator to this day.

To be honest, I do really like moderating. I moderate what is equivalent to a politics and religion board; we call it open discussion but it’s basically debates and difficult questions. It was something that our community needed for a long time before the board’s creation in 2008.

Now, it’s not easy. I know some of you here have online communities, whether on Twitter, Facebook, or an outside forum tool. Sometimes, we don’t know what in the world to do with the people that cross your path every day via these online communities. Here are some things that I abide by as a forum moderator.

Give second chances. Okay, so I’m a little too gracious sometimes. For example, I let this one guy walk all over me for awhile, until I finally asked for him to be blocked from my section of the forum. Eventually, due to the issues he caused, he was banned from the forums, which, in our community, takes a lot. Anyway, be gracious. My process is usually a private warning, a public warning, then I advise one of our global mods to take away that person’s right to the forum I moderate. Showing too much grace makes you a pushover; show too little and people won’t want to post anything.

Eliminate bias as much as you can. If someone rubs you the wrong way, don’t go looking for one reason to ban them. If you are involved in a conversation, be gentle. Just because you’re the moderator doesn’t mean that the forum revolves around you. Give pertinent information; forums are a great marketing tool if you use them correctly.

Ask for help if you need it. If you’re a global moderator, find a couple people you can trust to moderate different sections of the forum. If you’re a moderator under a global moderator, like I am, don’t be afraid to ask the “higher-ups” for help when something gets out of control. No matter what your endeavor is, don’t do it alone. It makes it more of a headache than a tool, eliminating the forum’s usefulness.

Like I said, being a member of a forum community is something that I really enjoy. Whether its a forum, Facebook page, or Twitter feed, use your community as a method of getting the word out. Have a great weekend!



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