Staff: Choosing Moderators


Tazmanian Veteran
Jan 1, 2004
Kathy submitted a new Article:

Staff: Choosing Moderators

As you spend your time, energy and money building your forums, adding content, contacting search engines and working on building your traffic, at some point you will need to consider hiring help with your community. In most cases, unless your site is a commercial site funded from within an existing corporation, your staff will be volunteers/unpaid moderators.

Considering the time, energy, money you have spent on your forum project, its important to understand that the moderators/staff that you select will represent you and your website to visitors and ultimately your members. Selecting your staff without consideration could lead your site down the wrong path instead of enhancing what you have taken the time and passion to build.

When do you need moderators?

When building a website around a forum, its important to hesitate slightly and not "hire" right away. Unless you are so busy with traffic from the very moment you open up your forums that you can't moderate it yourself, you should sit back and nuture your community.

For most forum software you can set up your forum to notify you when new members join and post new messages. Use it to stay on top of the activity of your community. Nip off-topic discussions and keep your newly opened forums on-topic. Your forum is in its infancy and needs careful attention to the tone and the organization of the forums.

You should provide this for your forum as you keep a tight handle on the growing community. When you find that the membership is growing at a rate you can't monitor yourself and the members are posting at a rate that doesn't allow you to moderate consistency, its time to consider finding some help.

Where do you find moderators?

Watch as you monitor your forum's growth, paying attention to its regular members. Watch for passion on the topic. Watch for appropriate grammar and language usage. Watch for others who are helpful to your members. These are probably your future moderators. They aren't necessarily your favorite members with the cleverist remarks. They aren't the ones that stir up trouble. They aren't your best friends.

They visit the forums regularly and post messages that are worded well and friendly to the community. You view their participation as an asset to your community and their presence in your forums as a help to you and your members. In short, they are already doing the job of "moderating" without the software tools nor the...

Read more about this article here...
Last edited by a moderator:


Jan 17, 2004
[Article] The process of selecting staff members

Kathy, your article got posted on (with your permission) and we expended it with an article we were working on. So, I hope you are ok with us sharing it here with you - so it is synced. If not, then just soft delete it :)

Great stuff Kathy and hopefully our little contribution helps :)

Author: Rn_evil & Floris @

Selecting staff members is not an easy task especially if you need another administrator or super moderator for your board. This guide is going to make it easier for you, it will show you what to consider when choosing staff members.

For all the positions below, past experience is needed, especially for the administrators and super moderators - who need to know how to use the Moderator Control Panel and Admin Control Panel and admin/staff tools, if they have access.​

In all staff positions I advice a month 'trial' and at least some basic guidelines on how to handle situations and what goes and doesn't go. As Kathy stated above, explain to them when you invite them what position they get, what is expected and what is not expected. It could save you quite some hassle.​

Choosing Administrators can be a tough job. You need to know the user you're going go give administrator powers to, but sometimes this is not enough. That user needs to know how to work with vBulletin's Admin Control Panel. If he/she doesn't know much about how to use it and what tasks he has to do, you'll need to save some time to train that user in using the admin/moderator tools. In most cases people don't promote to Administrators users that don't know what vBulletin is, don't know their tasks, guidelines, etc.​

Remember to give that user limited priveledges at first. Give him/her a trial period. (Usually one month)​

If he/she behaves nicely and doesn't cause any problems you can make him permanent administrator and give him/her more priveledges, at least until the next staff evaluation.​

Super Moderators should also be chosen carefully, not by the level of activity, but by the knowledge regarding staff policies, guidelines and vBulletin. Super Moderators are also a great alternative to giving moderators control panel access without upgrading their status from moderator to administrator. Keep in mind that super moderators have access to all the forums instead of just one, but that you can still limit their access through the permission system. On many forums super moderators are also assigned to keep an eye on the moderators and forums, rather then just the members and a specific forum. It comes with greater responsibility and more priveledges.​

Moderators should be selected by the level of activity, as well as by his knowledge of the forum software. They should know the guidelings and rules, and either apply them themselves, or report back to the other staff members.​

Even though a newly picked moderator is required to have some basic knowledge on how to operate a board and manage users, threads and posts - keep in mind that giving them a chance to learn is also a great value for both you and them.​

A None Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is something you could request your future staff members to sign. Especially commercial or more 'serious' web sites might find it usefull, specificly those who will get access to files and other privacy related or personal information. Snail mail a contract and have it signed and mailed back; Return a signed copy.​

In situations where you actually 'hire' a staff for a certain position, I strongly advice them to sign a contract which states what they are hired for and what pay will be returned, together with a none disclosure agreement. This could cover both them and you for any issues and could be used to settle disputes.

Show Forum Leaders. For members who want to know who represent a board, on vBulletin software you can always goto the showgroups.php file which will display each staff usergroup with contact details. The link is usually below the listed forums on the forumhome (index.php) page.


Aequitas - Veritas
Mar 1, 2007
I love this post! I'm just setting up a mod guide now, I didn't realize it was that important.


Aug 24, 2008
Great article on mods. I never realized how important they were until I started my first forum years ago. Forums require a lot of upkeep that most are completely unaware of and this is an excellent guide to help! thanks


Jul 14, 2006
Very nice Article. I will consider these things when I think about getting some mods on my website.


Jul 3, 2008
One thing i wanted to ask that,how can we trust the one who moderates the forum?


Dec 26, 2008
Being a non paid moderator at Digitalpoint I can see exactly what this thread talks about.

You really need to trust the people you let be a moderator. On big forums that is even more important.

Finding them is also really tough. Just need to keep your eye out for people that get along with everyone, doesnt start crap, and always tries to help to board out.


Aug 17, 2009
I just signed up a couple of hours ago on this forum. It's people like you who made me want to comment :). Great job! :chicken:


Nov 15, 2009
Yes, this forum is very informative.

I was previously a mod for my personal forum on a bigger board, there were some things that were going on that me and quite a few members did not agree with, I decided the best thing was to start a board to the community could feel comfortable posting at.

Administrating a site is a lot different them just modding a forum, I never realized how much there was to do. I'm learning a lot here, and I wanted to thank the creator of this board, and the members who help run it, you guys are doing a fantastic job.


Nov 11, 2009
Thanks a tone Kathy, amazing article and will definitely use this when deciding my moderators next time and thanks to vB Floris for posting that extra little bit very helpful