Getting more from your moderators

by Martin Reed on 3 May 2007 in Snippets

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to recruit forum moderators. In this article I want to talk about how you can use moderators to add maximum benefit from your site.

When it comes to forum moderators, I am a great believer in inviting users to become moderators rather than encouraging applications. If your members know that moderators are chosen based on their commitment and the quality of their contributions then your site will benefit from a more captive audience who are posting good, quality content.

Your moderators are representatives of both yourself and your site’s brand. It is essential that you pick the right people. If you do, your site will benefit immensely and your community will flourish.

In order to get the most from your moderators, you should make their role clear to them right from the start. I have devised the following checklist which I would recommend you refer to when recruiting new moderators:

  • Make it clear how you expect your moderators to behave; light-hearted or serious and professional at all times?
  • Consider placing a minimum requirement on the numbers of new posts/threads you want to see your moderators contribute on a weekly basis.
  • Provide your moderators with a clear understanding on how you want them to deal with abusive members of your community.
  • Ensure your moderators are aware of how strictly you want them to enforce your site rules.

The clearer your moderators are on how you expect them to behave, the more you will get from them. Your relationship with your moderators is extremely important – making things clear from the start will result in more effective and consistent moderation for your site.

How do you get the most from your moderators? Have I missed anything from my checklist that you think is beneficial? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Chino Yray May 4, 2007 at 9:10 am

true. so true. we get forum moderators for our game forums just the way you said it.

Another thing is, having a code of conduct is the more efficient way on how the members and the moderators should behave.

Martin Reed May 4, 2007 at 11:34 am

Hi Chino – thanks for your comment. Having a code of conduct is an excellent idea. I have an ‘unwritten’ code of conduct for my staff, but think that having something written down for them to refer to would be a much better way of doing it.

linux operating system May 4, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Martin, Do you plan to have a forum here? when do you think is good to have a forum and when is not a good idea?

Martin Reed May 4, 2007 at 1:23 pm

I don’t plan on adding a forum here – the comments system is doing a good job on creating interaction at the moment. I think for a blog to add a forum successfully, it needs a lot more traffic than I am currently getting.

Additionally, adding a forum would create even more work for me (something I don’t have the time for at the moment) – blogging every day in addition to maintaining my other sites and going about my offline life make my days very busy as they are!

I think forums should only be added if you have the time and commitment to work on them non-stop. Creating a successful forum takes a lot of hard work. If you are able to commit to this, then go for it. Otherwise think of alternatives as the basis for your community.

dan May 10, 2008 at 12:36 am

“When it comes to forum moderators, I am a great believer in inviting users to become moderators rather than encouraging applications.” > On another site I read a statement I liked.. something like “When a member sends unsolicited application to become a moderator, it’s almost like an automatic NO to him”.. ie, when a member wants to be moderator, they might want some extra powers, or be more visible, or to have more authority – but all these are not the great primary characterstics of a good moderator :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 12, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Dan – Good potential forum moderators will sometimes be proactive and ask if there are any available positions; I don’t think they should be given an automatic rejection – who knows, they may have been one of the people you would have picked a week from now!

Shirley November 4, 2009 at 8:09 pm

I felt so tempted to send this article to my Admin. I am a moderator on a 30,000+ people forum and since Admin has too many responsibilities besides the forum he’s always too busy to deal with this stuff… although it’s so important. I’ve told him many times I want more clear guidelines since I’ve made mistakes and some decisions I’ve made have been taken back by Admin= now it’s getting harder to get respect/credibility from the members. I love my board and I’m truly committed to it, but I’m sad to think some day I will simply get tired and relinquish the job if this doesn’t change. :(
How could I possibly make him realize this?

Martin Reed - Community Manager November 5, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Shirley – Thanks for dropping by. Wow, this is a very old article – however, it is still important that moderators are well trained and always kept ‘in the loop’.

It sounds to me as though your manager needs to delegate a little more of his workload, or make time to communicate with his staff. If an action you take is reversed, you need to be told why – this helps you learn and get better at your job.

If your actions continue to be reversed, it makes you look irrelevant to the rest of the community (as you have found). Have you tried approaching your manager to express your frustration? Emphasise just how much you love the community and that you want to do the best job possible.

If he still doesn’t listen, maybe it’s time to give the job up. Good luck.