What Are the Duties of a Moderator?

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A moderator oversees an Internet or other computer bulletin board, discussion group, or other site where content is posted and responded to by readers. "Threads" are a specific series of posts responding to an original post. A moderator's main purpose is to keep the discussion threads running smoothly and productively.

Make Your Policies Clear

  • Include a link to the rules of board behavior on the site and specify what behavior will lead to posts being deleted or users being banned. Word your rules politely and professionally.

Keeping Users on Topic

  • If a topic is being derailed (sent in a direction other than the original topic), post a reminder as to the topic and ask users to help keep it on topic by putting non-topical discussion in its own discussion thread. You may want to move the off-topic posts into a new thread to encourage this behavior.

Promoting Discussion

  • If people are not posting, start some discussion. Ask a question or solicit advice about a topic relevant to the board's purpose. One useful way to encourage community discussion is to ask users to introduce themselves in a specific thread.

Maintaining the Mechanical Side

  • The moderator usually administers the board members by approving new users, removing spambots, and administering other policies.

Avoiding Flames and Personal Attacks

  • Sometimes users will attack each other verbally, through name-calling, personal attacks, or attempts to disrupt discussion. This behavior destroys productive communication. Make sure your rules include a definition of disruptive behavior and its consequences, then make sure those consequences are administered. People who consistently engage in these attacks are sometimes called "trolls."

References

  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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