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Good Moderation RundownUseful for the forums I moderate


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#1 goliath imo

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:32 PM

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

Think before deleting forum posts

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.


I think this forum lacks all the positive points in this blog post.

#2 Guest_Loki_*

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:49 PM

or more so, as soon as moderation is criticized instantly all moderators stop listening, and suddenly they're the victims

#3 Renz Talk End

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 04:07 AM

I would like some key examples of how the moderation team has breached these guidelines.

I nearly always contact a member before deleting posts, unless it's just outright spam. Also, every time a member is warned, an e-mail/PM is sent to them in which there is an explanation of why the action was taken.

That isn't to say that we could all use these guidelines and follow them more. But I don't really think there's been a severe absence of thought in relation to things like this, either.

I can't speak for the other moderators, but I will admit to any failure you pin on me.

#4 Guest_Loki_*

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 10:22 AM

the way it is done now the member is warned after action has been taken. Ideally if you are warning the member concerned then they have an opportunity to take it down themselves before whatever in question is closed or removed.

#5 nardo

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:23 AM

the way it is done now the member is warned after action has been taken. Ideally if you are warning the member concerned then they have an opportunity to take it down themselves before whatever in question is closed or removed.

Are you talking about the warning level increase (which is done after action has been taken) or about general "warnings" via PM (which you're probably not even aware of seeing as they're private)? It's not always productive to wait for a member to take down e.g. offensive images. Posts are rarely deleted and if they "need to go" most of the time set to invisible in order to get the opinion of other mods on the subject - they'll be deleted if they're obviously nothing but spam.

Without any given examples I don't have anything to say to the first post in this topic.

#6 Seyon

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 04:53 PM

I would like some key examples of how the moderation team has breached these guidelines.

I nearly always contact a member before deleting posts, unless it's just outright spam. Also, every time a member is warned, an e-mail/PM is sent to them in which there is an explanation of why the action was taken.

That isn't to say that we could all use these guidelines and follow them more. But I don't really think there's been a severe absence of thought in relation to things like this, either.

I can't speak for the other moderators, but I will admit to any failure you pin on me.

I moderate in exactly the same way. The only deleted posts or closed threads I don't respond to are the ones that are blatantly ill-conceived and malicious.

Additionally, I think sean may not have taken into consideration that on top of these guidelines, the moderator's job is to make sure that the threads are on topic and in line with the forums they are created in, and are a productive use of the forum's time. I'm not going to allow new threads about Cedric's hair (there's threads for that already), or leave a philosophical dissertation on music labeling in the main forum (it will get moved to Drunkship or maybe Mumbling). I see no reason to allow threads that are unproductive in any way to continue to exist in their current state. Hence, they get moved, merged, or closed.

#7 firstrays123

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:45 PM

you guys agreed to their rules when signing up. the mods do a great job and if you saw from their perspective, you'd have more of a perception towards the boundaries of moderating.

#8 happyphantom

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:17 PM

well i should probably say something in here on behalf of thelonious monkship:

or more so, as soon as moderation is criticized instantly all moderators stop listening, and suddenly they're the victims


Well I know I do make errors of judgement sometimes, but in drunkship it's pretty difficult to discuss moderating without it turning into a polarised thing of either the mods don't do anything or the mods are fascists. and as i say each time i say something like this, not everyone does it, but enough do. hopefully that won't happen while this thread is in here.

i think that sometimes the mods can be a bit slow to getting round to explaining some of the 'bigger' stuff that goes on, but that's probably largely because not everyone is around often enough to really be able to. but then again, maybe not.

i don't generally ask people to edit their own posts if they're inappropriate, for the reasons nardo mentioned. but as a general rule, unless it's obvious why i've closed a thread then i'll either just post something before i closed it so people know it's me or I'll PM the person involved when i close a thread/delete a post/whatever. perhaps i need to be a bit more consistent, i don't know. personal attacks/bullying is a more difficult one to handle.

what does bug me is if i close a thread/delete a post/whatever, then on a number of occasions the person involved will say something like 'well so-and-so did THIS but you didn't do anything about it'...that pisses me off because for all the time i do spend in drunkship it's a little unfair to expect me to go round scrutinising every post and following every person's behaviour patterns. it's also pretty childish to try and defend yourself that way, in my opinion.

#9 whorepresents?

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:50 PM

you guys agreed to their rules when signing up. the mods do a great job and if you saw from their perspective, you'd have more of a perception towards the boundaries of moderating.


?

multiple personality disorder?

#10 Carruthers

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:36 AM

what does bug me is if i close a thread/delete a post/whatever, then on a number of occasions the person involved will say something like 'well so-and-so did THIS but you didn't do anything about it'...

whenever someone says something like that you should ask them why they didn't complain about it when it happened

rather than how they sat on it until they could use it to defend their own shitty posting

#11 happyphantom

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:36 PM

maybe i should, maybe i should.

#12 Baboon

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 02:27 PM

Is it worth bringing up the argument of;

"If you don't like it, go somewhere else."

There are already 45 000 members on the Coma.

And all we seem to be doing is paying more and more money for servers - not due to extended bootlegs/archives, but because there are thread after thread of spam.

Yes? No?

#13 firstrays123

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 06:55 AM

you guys agreed to their rules when signing up. the mods do a great job and if you saw from their perspective, you'd have more of a perception towards the boundaries of moderating.


?

multiple personality disorder?


I'm speaking in general terms, they do a good job, unless you think moderating this many different personalities is easy.

#14 Guest_Loki_*

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 08:00 AM

you guys agreed to their rules when signing up. the mods do a great job and if you saw from their perspective, you'd have more of a perception towards the boundaries of moderating.

there is obviously room for improvement, and even if this were the best moderated forum on the internet, there would still be ways to make it better.

i don't generally ask people to edit their own posts if they're inappropriate, for the reasons nardo mentioned. but as a general rule, unless it's obvious why i've closed a thread then i'll either just post something before i closed it so people know it's me or I'll PM the person involved when i close a thread/delete a post/whatever. perhaps i need to be a bit more consistent, i don't know. personal attacks/bullying is a more difficult one to handle.

You're a fairly good mod. I liked it when you started posting links to threads that had already been touched on rather than just posting that terrible form that says to use the search function. I've seen mods, who for their sake I won't name, post that form in response to threads that were in fact original, or created because the original thread was deleted.

what does bug me is if i close a thread/delete a post/whatever, then on a number of occasions the person involved will say something like 'well so-and-so did THIS but you didn't do anything about it'...that pisses me off because for all the time i do spend in drunkship it's a little unfair to expect me to go round scrutinising every post and following every person's behaviour patterns. it's also pretty childish to try and defend yourself that way, in my opinion.

What happens is we see a mod get online (either by their closing of several threads or their appearing in the active user's list) and suddenly a great deal of rules that are rarely applied suddenly become pertinent. The status quo returns when that particular mod logs off.

For example I have noticed that Sara's 'rules' are quite different then say, agrajag's 'rules' and that they are relatively unevenly applied.

Are you talking about the warning level increase (which is done after action has been taken) or about general "warnings" via PM (which you're probably not even aware of seeing as they're private)? It's not always productive to wait for a member to take down e.g. offensive images. Posts are rarely deleted and if they "need to go" most of the time set to invisible in order to get the opinion of other mods on the subject - they'll be deleted if they're obviously nothing but spam.

Without any given examples I don't have anything to say to the first post in this topic.

In general my objections are in regards to before a thread is closed, a sig is changed (in the case of matilda) or a post is edited, there is little warning or even contact. Obviously gore is an exception.

#15 Guest_Space Vacations_*

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 05:04 PM

I remember one time I had a picture of a lion eating a zebra as my signature, and the next time I logged on it was replaced by a cutesy picture of two animals cuddling. without any message or reason. I mean, I laughed at that, but some members might have reacted differently.

Like Matilda, right?

#16 firstrays123

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 05:05 PM

lol, seriously?

#17 starla zero

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 05:23 PM

feeling the need to acknowledge it in some way but I am not sure how.



#18 firstrays123

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 05:30 PM

this is way off topic...that sig is fucking tight starla zero! where'd you find that at?

#19 happyphantom

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 06:11 PM

you guys agreed to their rules when signing up. the mods do a great job and if you saw from their perspective, you'd have more of a perception towards the boundaries of moderating.

there is obviously room for improvement, and even if this were the best moderated forum on the internet, there would still be ways to make it better.

i don't generally ask people to edit their own posts if they're inappropriate, for the reasons nardo mentioned. but as a general rule, unless it's obvious why i've closed a thread then i'll either just post something before i closed it so people know it's me or I'll PM the person involved when i close a thread/delete a post/whatever. perhaps i need to be a bit more consistent, i don't know. personal attacks/bullying is a more difficult one to handle.

You're a fairly good mod. I liked it when you started posting links to threads that had already been touched on rather than just posting that terrible form that says to use the search function. I've seen mods, who for their sake I won't name, post that form in response to threads that were in fact original, or created because the original thread was deleted.


I didn't 'start', I just feel that if I found the original thread easy to find then so can anyone else. TIn those cases I use the search function function (function), which I hope would hint to people to use it in future to save having to close threads and have them scattered around everywhere in the first place. If the title of the older/original thread is a bit more obscure, then I will link to it.


what does bug me is if i close a thread/delete a post/whatever, then on a number of occasions the person involved will say something like 'well so-and-so did THIS but you didn't do anything about it'...that pisses me off because for all the time i do spend in drunkship it's a little unfair to expect me to go round scrutinising every post and following every person's behaviour patterns. it's also pretty childish to try and defend yourself that way, in my opinion.

What happens is we see a mod get online (either by their closing of several threads or their appearing in the active user's list) and suddenly a great deal of rules that are rarely applied suddenly become pertinent. The status quo returns when that particular mod logs off.

For example I have noticed that Sara's 'rules' are quite different then say, agrajag's 'rules' and that they are relatively unevenly applied.


I'm repeating CLA a bit here...and I hate to break it to you Josh, (but I doubt it will come as much of a surprise), but every decision in life is a matter of judgement. In pretty much any situation that's a bit of a grey area, it's unlikely that two people will come to exactly the same conclusions. Maybe a little more consistency is required but I think that that's largely due to people not being around all the time, or perhaps being a little rushed and trying to deal with a situation as quickly as possible, which may not be the best way but often it's better than nothing.

As CLA said, it would probably be better if more people said what they thought should be done rather than what shouldn't. So far it's been established that people need more warnings and/or communication when their post/sig/whatever is altered, unless it's obvious that they're breaking the rules in which case they Should Know Better.

#20 firstrays123

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 06:32 PM

moderators ftw, just accept it already




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