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The Moderators' Bible

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The Moderators' Bible

Post by Administrator on Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:36 am

A forum moderator oversees the communication activity of an Internet forum. He monitors the interchange of contributors and makes decisions regarding content and the direction of threads. Moving discussions from one section to another to keep topics organized is also a common job for a forum moderator.

If the tone of a forum becomes hostile or starts to move in the direction of personal attacks, the forum moderator usually has the discretion to lock the discussion to prevent heated, interchanges. He may also be able to hide discussions he deems unworthy of further discussion. Conversely, topics he feels deserve further examination can be posted indefinitely by the moderator even if they garner no comments.

Moderator duties are as diverse as the forum topics themselves. Some moderators are virtually invisible; they surface only when situations arise that do not seem likely to resolve themselves. Other forum moderators are always there, ready to intercede at the smallest hint of discourse. Public forum moderators often have to enforce many rules of conduct and decorum, as public contributors tend to communicate without abandon, which can sometimes upset other forum members.

Moderators are encouraged to join in discussions, especially if they have expert experience or advice to contribute. Other forums prefer their moderators to remain totally objective and mainly serve as impartial enforcers. Occasionally a forum moderator will pose as a contributor to steer a discussion in another direction or offer input without fear of posing a conflict of interest.

In addition to acting as the parent or guardian of forum content, forum moderators are also responsible for maintaining the integrity of the forum in other ways. This requires knowledge of HTML and acuity at moving, merging, adding, and deleting text, graphics, and links. Contributors will often ask moderators to assist them with technical problems with site access and posting.

Supplementary duties of a forum moderator may include relocating discussions to more appropriate sections, closing or locking threads based on dwindling interest or lack of recent activity, editing posts for clarity or content, and deleting threads. Thread deletion can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the wishes of the forum moderator.

If an abusive contributor refuses to cease unacceptable behavior, the forum moderator usually has the discretion to ban the user. If the offender continues to post and eludes the ban, the moderator may opt to access the user's IP address. This enables the moderator to ban the address instead of banning the user by name or email address.

To sum it up... please be aware of the following moderator activities and responsibilities:

* Be a subject matter expert- You should be a subject matter expert in the area/category you are moderating.
* Engage and gain recognition- Engage the community with "Community Spirit" and provide constructive guidance.
* Familiarize yourself and others with TKC Rules of Engagement- Read the TKC Rules of Engagement, encourage all community members to follow them and as a moderator enforce them as well.
* Minimum of weekly presence on TKC- Regardless of the TKC medium (wikis, forums, blogs, etc) it is expected that you will be active at least once a week. Simply “showing some face” typically solves about half of the general misbehavior observed in un-moderated TKC areas and also gives you the opportunity to catch problems early.
* Check TKC moderators admin tools at least once a week- TKC provides various moderation tools to monitor / review / approve / edit contributions and content. Checking these tools for your area and medium(s) on a weekly basis is also expected as part of the moderator tasks.
* Keep TKC a friendly place- To keep TKC a friendly place, a general positive attitude towards contributors, both new and old, and fellow moderators is appreciated and encouraged. You should keep this spirit also when rejecting posts, asking authors to upgrade their blogs/wiki content. Subsequently or even alternately a bit of humor also helps a lot to defuse such issues.
* Respect fellow moderators- When engaging a fellow moderator, be open to constructive criticism and be sure to convey yours in a gentle manner. If you fail to reach an agreement on a specific topic with a fellow moderator, you should reach out to the collaboration team for assistance. Another outlet is raising it in the moderators forum .
* Remember you represent TKC- Being a TKC moderator also makes you an “Ambassador” of the TKC platform in your area and extension of the large team which keeps the platform running and improving. You should keep this in mind when performing your moderator tasks and even contributions, such as for example encouraging others to contribute quality content by helping them and giving others a chance to answer an interesting discussion topic instead of rushing in to answer it yourself. A moderator should also be a good observer.
* Be accessible- Users should be able to contact moderators (add yourself to the relevant moderators list, see below).
* Be yourself- Finally, you need to be yourself – moderation of a voluntary “on-line” community is something which you should also enjoy doing.

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