As regular readers will be aware, I have often written about the importance of moderation. Articles I have already written on this subject include ‘The importance of speedy moderation‘, ‘Responding to a community revolt‘ and ‘Personal advice – abusive members‘.
In this article I want to be a little more specific and write about the most effective way of moderating your forum.
Why forum moderation is necessary
If you don’t moderate your forum, it is likely to be overwhelmed with spam – this is the primary reason why I ensure all the forums I run have some degree of moderation.
Many feel moderation is in place to prevent arguments and abuse between members – I don’t disagree with this view; I feel it’s an important role but one that should come secondary to dealing with forum spammers.
Spam and abusive posts are detrimental to your online community – you must moderate your forums to prevent irreversible damage from taking place.
Why moderation should be taken seriously
Many forum administrators will often delete comments they disagree with, or members they suspect of spamming, then think nothing else of it. This is a mistake.
Forum moderation, if done incorrectly, can be worse than having no moderation at all. Over-zealous moderation can result in members ending up feeling alienated and angry when they find their posts or accounts deleted for no understandable reason.
A community relies on its members – before you take decisive action against yours, make sure you are making the right decision.
How to avoid conflict when moderating
As I have said before, it is essential that your online community has a set of rules or guidelines for your members to follow.
Before you have to take action against a member, you should always contact them and try to get them to remove or edit the post themselves by referring them to the rule you feel they have broken.
In this way, you are making your site user feel far more valued on a personal level – this is far preferable to the member simply returning one day to find their post(s) or account deleted.
The key to effective forum moderation
In my opinion, the key to effective forum moderation is the ‘laissez-faire‘ approach. You should only edit the accounts or posts of your members as a last resort.
If you are unhappy with any content they have created, speak directly and confidentially to that person.
This way, you will not end up alienating your community – they will respect you far more as a moderator and will feel far more valued as a member of your community.