How to run a successful forum: Staff
By: Shawn J. Gossman (Forum Owner, Moderator)

Sorry for not having this article out sooner but life has hit me with all sorts of new goals and chores. This article is about having a successful staff team on your forum. This article is one of many I plan to include in this series of articles. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to link it off-site as long as my credit above stays in tact and you provide a link to this page as well.

Choosing your staff team and when to do it:
Its good to have a staff team on a forum. You can not do it yourself especially as you grow larger in size and members. You eventually will need to hire new staff. It is better to hire from within your forum. Look for members who are active and contribute a lot to your forum. Then send them a PM or email asking if they would like to be staff on your forum. Only choose new staff members when your forum really needs more. Like for example, when you first start out, you and another member is all they staff you need. Make sure you have more members than staff or some members may feel threatened by an increasing volume of staff members. Make sure favoritism and pride does not get in the way when you are hiring staff from within.

Calm staff is the way to go:
Make sure your staff members are laid back, calm but quick to moderate when it comes down to it. I have always been laid back to the point where if a user was violating a little minor infraction and no one seemed to be bothered, I would let it slip past me. If it became abusive, then I would step in. Make sure your staff warn people in private, doing so in public may embarrass the member and that could cause them to retaliate against that staff member bringing more drama and offenses to your forum. Staff members need to be mature and not fight with people. I have been a member of forums where moderators would call me names because I was not a part of their political party and when I reported them, they threaten to ban me. That is not a good thing and will scare most from joining your community as well as attract those who want to fight and cause drama. People can have their opinions, fine but when they use it against other members of your forum, then it will become a problem, I promise!

Active Staff Only:
Make sure your staff remain active. Have them try to get more members and make new posts. One of my main staff requirements is that all staff members have to be regular members too meaning they must post new topics and replies related to our forum's niche. Have them tell you anytime they will be absent for long periods of time. Make sure you, as the root admin is active as well because they (staff and members alike) will look for that. If regular members see an active staff group, it seems to make them more active and keeps the drama and trouble away.

Helpful staff:
Make sure you staff are helpful to other members. If they help them when needed, are friendly and even joke with them (not against them), then your members will feel more comfortable in your forum environment. Make sure your staff never pick on people because they are "new". Make sure they don't leave support requests unattended for too long and make them understand that it is hard to judge emotions on the internet and easy to take things the wrong way. It is good to be prepared for that sort of thing.

I hope you have enjoyed my article on staff. Please leave your comments addressing other ways to have a successful staff team. Thank you for reading and I will make another article in this series soon, about getting more members and posts.