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AveryMaurice

Tips about being a good moderator?

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I recently got moderator status on a pretty popular forum (which I don't want to name because its pretty LOL worthy in my opinion since this is a DooM forum.) and I was wondering how to be a good moderator. I think I got the basics of cleaning up the forums, moving threads and such but how do I know when to do things like ban members? How do I know when they crossed the line? Also, dealing with trolls properly.

Lets just say the forum is gaining 50+ members daily and they needed an extra mod, since I was signed up since the beginning I got lucky enough to become one. Any tips are helpful!

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I'm not going to tell you how to do your job, just what to expect. I moderate three forums now, and two major chat rooms, so I've experienced a lot...

- Don't feed the trolls. Really, don't. This goes double, even triple for moderators, because trolls will likely go straight for management as far as targets. If somebody's shitting all over your forum, do what you can to get that person banned immediately. Snarky comments can be made AFTER the guy's been dealt with.

- Be prepared to put up with a lot of complaints if you take administrative action against any marginally respected user. Just stick to your guns, rules are rules, make sure your forum's actually got rules that you can quote to them if they're asking on what grounds a person was just banned.

- If your forum has a section where mods and admins can announce bannings, that section should likely not be used to insult the people you've just banned. A statement of how long they've been banned and for what reason will usually suffice. I mean, you're welcome to add some flavor to it, but you don't want to piss people off (deliberately).

- As a moderator, you'll encounter a LOT of conflicts of interest. Say somebody is working on a major project, something a bunch of people are looking forward to, but he decides it's a great idea to start posting child porn all over the Pokemon area or something. Don't be afraid to ban him if that stuff gets out of hand. It doesn't matter what projects or skills the guy has, he's a member like everyone else, meaning he's subject to the same rules as every other user.

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1. Ban anyone who disagrees with you
2. Ban anyone who insults you
3. Ban anyone who mentions someone you hate in a positive manner.
4. Ban a random person to show who's the boss around there
5. Create a list of banned members and insult each and every one of them
6. ?????
7. PROFIT!

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Basically it's all common sense, just simply moderating the forum. Bans are a rather harsh punishment which should only be taken if the user is unable or unwilling to learn from his mistakes.

Don't abuse your power; being a moderator does not give you superpowers when you happen to disagree with users. This isn't a hard rule across the Internet, but nearly all the popular forums will not have abusive staff. Aka, don't listen to Craigs.

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Also be sure to ban about 3 longtime members as soon as you get promoted. That will command respect.

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Bucket said:

Also be sure to ban about 3 longtime members as soon as you get promoted. That will command respect.


then make your real life friends half-mods, even if they aren't a part of the community.

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Csonicgo said:

then make your real life friends half-mods, even if they aren't a part of the community.

This.

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I suggest you talk a lot to the other administrators/moderators on the forum you're moderating about proper actions..

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Good stuff here already.

It's important to be consistent. Being able to concisely state a reason for anything you do is good -- even if you aren't in a position where you want to go around justifying your actions to others on the forums.

Communication with the other mods is important too. It helps overall consistency, makes things easier for you, and increases respect among everyone involved.

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Depends on the forum, really, however IMHO mod status and mingling with non-mod members are two incompatible things (just like command is incompatible with mingling with one's subordinates), no matter how permissive the forum might be.

By accepting mod status, you're placing yourself in another category, period, just like Officers vs NCOs vs conscripts. A mod is much like a policeman: a force of nature to be avoided whenever possible, and not to be crossed or approached.

Getting too friendly or appearing to be just an equal-among-equals forum member will sooner or later tempt you to drop the mask and play the "Surprise surprise, we're not exactly equals" and "ubi mayor, minor cessat" cards, and force you to take action. Commanding a distant, clinical, detached sense of respect, even if it means having a flashing red "ADMIN ON DECK, ATTEN-SHUN!" sign is much better, IMHO.

DW is non-typical in this aspect because mods are not clearly marked as such all the time (in the army we said to take a good look at one's collar before uttering a single word), but in other forums admins/mods are usually very clearly marked as such with pips, bells and whistles. Some keep mingling anyway (which is IMHO wrong), but at least it keeps others on their toes right away, even newcomers, so situations like the above are less probable.

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Phobus said:

Retire when you've had enough of herding the internet. Worked out well for me.


This.

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Craigs said:

1. Ban anyone who disagrees with you
2. Ban anyone who insults you
3. Ban anyone who mentions someone you hate in a positive manner.
4. Ban a random person to show who's the boss around there
5. Create a list of banned members and insult each and every one of them
6. ?????
7. PROFIT!


Are you the one that coached Phoebus?

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Well, there is a forum for Moderators and the two Admins, and the mods are all clearly marked. (Our title is Moderator) as well as our posts being marked differently.

Thanks for all the tips so far!

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I'm not going to make fun of you, but I am going to say that I did not enjoy Avatar. Story was horribly predictable. People say the effects make up for the bland story but honestly it felt like the whole place was stripped right out of World of Warcraft (he just picked the places no one goes to anymore so no one would notice). On the bright side, the final battle was pretty cool, and Michelle Rodriguez was in it (but they made her side with the tree-huggers. Ugh.)

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Try to beat Crendowing's "modded to banned in one day" record. You might win a medal or something.

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While Maes is right to note that mods exist in a different social category than the common forum browser, I think he places too much importance upon that caste system. Feel free to get chummy with the locals. Just remember that you have to administer impartially when issues arise.

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Ralphis said:

If you have to ask how to moderate you were probably a bad choice for a moderator!


Hey, just because I know how to moderated I just want a little feedback. ; )

Its not so hard, just want to do it as best as I can.

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Craigs said:

1. Ban anyone who disagrees with you
2. Ban anyone who insults you
3. Ban anyone who mentions someone you hate in a positive manner.
4. Ban a random person to show who's the boss around there
5. Create a list of banned members and insult each and every one of them
6. ?????
7. PROFIT!


8. Go to rival websites, note down all the usernames, pre-ban anybody who might register with those usernames in advance
8a. "Rival" websites are any and all websites on the same subject as yours.
9. Ban discussion of those websites
10. Ban anybody who discusses somebody being banned for mentioning those websites
11. Start charging people a registration fee to use your forum. This ensures your dedicated members will respect you even more and will not in any way kill off your site overnight.

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Maes is horribly wrong. Whether mods can mingle seems entirely dependent on the forum culture and the mods themselves. Doom Dude is good at that and people always respect the stuff he does. It doesn't matter much now that ND is on its deathbed, but it mattered a lot before.

Big sites tend to have more strict rules and official sites for stuff tend to have very strict rules. It can make the mods seem like dicks sometimes, but if they're tactful it's all good and some of them still do a fine job posting among the commoners.

I wish more sites had a moderation system like Slashdot, but maybe that only works on sites with non-censorship (of even most illegal things) as an ideology.

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Phobus said:

Retire when you've had enough of herding the internet. Worked out well for me.

Ditto. :p

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Aliotroph? said:

Doom Dude is good at that and people always respect the stuff he does. It doesn't matter much now that ND is on its deathbed, but it mattered a lot before.

I'm not sure if NewDoom is a great example of good forum moderation, knowing that its administrator banned people for bringing up topics he didn't agree with.

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User behavior and subsequent punishment is easy to deal with; just play by the rules. Pruning memes when they become derivative and banning mediocre-to-shit posters is far more complicated.

Don't be afraid to have a shadow government of "elites" that give you tips or advice on trolls/idiots. You can't waste your time away manually scouting everything. Just apply judgement, it's not rocket science.

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Aliotroph? is horribly wrong. Admin/mod power, like every sort of authority, easily corrupts and can degenerate, if there aren't rules regulating its application and who it's handed over to.

There's a reason why e.g. superior officers, policemen, wardens etc. are discouraged (if not prohibited) to mingle with those they command/supervise/protect/guard etc. On the one side, there's the risk that you'll lose all respect and authority, if you let people gain too much familiarity, to the point of paying with your position/life (but that's unlikely in online forums).

The other, more likely thing is that authority itself may degenerate and be perceived as "cheap" by all sides: certain people may -quite literally- be consistently playing the dozens with an admin yet get away with it because they're his buddies, while a poor random-ass bastard that made one snarky remark too much gets banned cold turkey. Or, a mod makes a "yo mama" joke at someone, feigning an apparent "equality", yet won't stand for the joke being returned to him on the ground that they "are not equals". In both cases there's abuse of power, excessive mingling, and an effective inability to draw a line that shouldn't have been crossed, unless you want to deal with moral dilemmas.

In the real world, when there's a formal hierarchy, superiors are required to be models-examples for their subordinates, and thus e.g. a Colonel would not verbally provoke a Private knowing that the consequences are asymmetrical (insults are equally punishable both ways by the military law). If that doesn't hold true, then you're more in front of a bully/gangstah/warlord "calling the shots", rather than having a person holding an office of responsibility and authority.

But perhaps I'm just too idealistic about it. If there's one place where anyone can be anything within his very own little petty castle, it's the Internet, and so the same standards set for RL officers/commanders/managers etc. can't be expected,

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Nuxius is horribly wrong. Ditto looks like this:

     Ditto
	
      /~\_.-~-._,--.._
     |                ~-.._   
      |     .     .        \
      |                    /  Amw 
      |     --....,       | \ 
      /                      \
     |                        |
     |                        \
     /                         |
     \_.-._  __...___.._______/
           ~~

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Maes said:
There's a reason why e.g. superior officers, policemen, wardens etc. are discouraged (if not prohibited) to mingle with those they command/supervise/protect/guard etc. On the one side, there's the risk that you'll lose all respect and authority, if you let people gain too much familiarity, to the point of paying with your position/life (but that's unlikely in online forums).

One the job, law enforcers are required to stay clear of the people they administer or work on, but that doesn't mean they can't relate with the community in other ways. In any case, as you speculate by the end of your post, real life and internet forums often require different rules. One is serious business, the other a hobby.

In forum moderating, not mingling can bring you another problem. Since you aren't always paying attention to the details by not participating much, your sudden responses may come off as harsh or off the mark.

If a mod does mingle, then he'll benefit from being particularly communicative when doing mod duties. The good news there is that if you're good at chatting with people, you can be good at sorting out issues by talking.

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