The principles and challenges of moderation


Jan 2, 2006
hari submitted a new Article:

The principles and challenges of moderation

Forum dynamics vary from one community to another. But there is always one common factor which binds nearly all communities - moderators. Nearly every medium to large community depends on moderators to perform a variety of tasks right from nurturing the community, managing member issues to policing the forum.

What makes the task of a moderator particularly challenging is that no two communities have the same idea of what a moderator is supposed to be. Every administrator or community owner has their own expections of what tasks a moderator should perform. Some admins would think of moderators as nearly equals or as junior administrators and give them a great deal of power and responsibility. Others might consider moderators as just "hatchet-men" to perform the menial jobs of cleaning up spam and keeping the forums tidy. Yet another administrator might think that moderators should be there to shield the admins from direct criticism by letting them take the heat for all issues that arise on the forum.

The best administrators usually are the ones who give their moderators the necessary freedom to interpret the forum policy and rules and implement them on a daily basis without much interference. The best admins also know when to stand up and defend their moderators in public and when to override their decisions - doing so as tactfully and as painlessly as possible. The best admins allow moderators to perform efficiently without giving them the impression that they're always looking over their shoulders.

So what does it take to be a moderator? Here are the challenges a new moderator will face in any community.

Seniority/juniority issues

A problem that any member newly appointed as a moderator will face is in adjusting to the "senior/junior" problem. How does a moderator who's been one of the boys now start enforcing with authority on the forum? There might be other members who've been around as long or longer than the moderator on the forum and they might definitely intimidate the new moderator. The older members of the forum would definitely take time to adjust to the fact that a certain member might have been promoted ahead of them.

In such instances, the new moderator needs a lot of support and backup from the admin. If you, as a newly appointed moderator don't feel that you're getting the moral support from your fellow moderators, you probably need to discuss a strategy in private on how to deal with the senior members who...

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Where is the God?
Jul 30, 2005
A very matured piece of article, Hari.:cgleam: This is another of your articles that has taken a permanent refuge in my HDD :)


Jul 20, 2006
Yup, really interesting article, mostly are policies that I apply as mod or admin, but there are points i didnt consider and now i better do, :thumb: good job mate