I have a Minecraft server and there's a very active group. Among others this is X. X is a moderator on my server but she doesn't really do a good job. Or let's be completely honest and say she doesn't do a good job at all.

I actually want to remove her rank, there it comes, but she can't 'manage' these kinds of things good, hence why she isn't a good moderator.

I have other staff too. One day, I removed ranks of moderators who are not good. In a Facebook chat I said

don't worry, you'll stay a staff member

and she replied

good, otherwise I'd freak out!

She is very active and without her as a member the server would definitely be less fun. But with her as a moderator, it's less fun, and that's the problem.

What should I do?

5 Answers 5


Make this a multi-step process. It sounds like they aren't doing anything egregious so the moderator powers don't need to be revoked immediately. You have time to work with this moderator to improve the situation. Additionally, you have time to work with all of your moderators to make them all better. The upshot of this is that you aren't specifically calling one moderator out for special attention. You mentioned you've already removed previous moderators. You don't want rumblings of special treatment to begin because you treated this one differently than previous ones.

What should you work on with your staff?

  • Identify areas where staff (not just this one) are lacking. Is it with enforcing specific rules? Is it with granting special powers on the game server? Is it with unjustified bans? Pick something that you feel all staff could use a refresher on. For the sake of argument, let's assume this moderator isn't enforcing specific rules and you've noticed that others are some what lax with rules too. Gather your staff for a brief meeting (or post it in a staff area on your community message board). Mention that you've noticed certain rules are not being enforced properly. Don't call out any one moderator, but do provide examples of situations you've seen. Explain that the community has rules and as moderators they are there to enforce them. It is probably a good idea to mention that other moderators have been removed for not fulfilling expectations. If someone is not able to perform the expectations any longer (because real life happens), they should step aside so that another can be put in the position for the betterment of the community. That's it. The meeting is short and simple. You've addressed the situation, provided examples showing that you do see what is going on, and are expecting them to address this problem in the future or remove themselves.
  • Follow up with this specific moderator if the behaviour continues. Provide a couple examples where the behaviour has not changed since the meeting. Again, explain that you are expecting moderation duties to be fulfilled.
  • If the behaviour continues still, now if where you should probably remove the moderator. Explain why this is occurring to the moderator, with specific incidents since the last meeting. Once you have told this moderator what you are going to do, do it. Don't allow them to sway you into "just one more chance" or you will find yourself being asked for "just one more chance" frequently. The rest of your moderation team needs to know that the position has been emptied and will be filled soon. I'd suggest not providing specific details.

With this type of approach you receive a few benefits:

  • Brief refresher meetings for your entire team. These are good times to get other business out of the way as well. Remember, your moderators are usually your liaisons to the community. Talk to them and learn what is going on. There are more of them than there are you, so they probably have seen "stuff" going on that you just were not around for. Not all of this is bad. For example, your moderation team should be encouraged to share good community news too ("Player1 beat the dragon all by themselves!") so that you can make this sort of information available to the community at large. Who doesn't like a little positive acknowledgement?
  • It provides the troubled moderators with two meetings to improve their problems. One of these is a direct one on one, so they know the issue being discussed relates directly to them. It wasn't just a vague "enforce the rules" from the powers that be.
  • Your moderation team and possibly the community at large, see that you are not a power tripping administrator. You are willing to work with moderators to get them to improve. Hopefully, this type of behaviour is being shown by your moderators to community members as well.

In regards to the "freaking out", if moderator powers are revoked, I'd say treat this as a threat but don't act on it just yet. Continue through the steps above and if you do get to the point of revoking powers, watch this moderator closely. If the "freaking out" turns to bad mouthing the community (or you directly), suspend them from the game servers and community message board for a period of time. Being worried about "freaking out" is a bad reason to keep someone around that should be a leader in your community.


You can do something better than removing her rank: trying to improve her job as moderator. You probably know what she does wrong, so you could explain that to her. If the other moderators/staff members agree with you, they can help you.

I would not just remove her rank, because you say she doesn't do a good job. Frankly, that might be considered power abuse by her or by the other moderators.

So, I'd say: first talk to her, and if she does not improve, you can talk to the other moderators about what to do next. But I would not remove her rank immediately.


It's not something I've ever managed to actually do, but I think the best solution is to change the problem entirely.

Instead of having to explicitly remove people, automatically remove them when a "term" (probably one year) expires, and let them seek reelection if they want. This does work better when moderators are elected rather than appointed, though.

  • 2
    I have my moderators fill out an application form every six months. Things and people change. Sometimes better people come forward. It works, and nobody complains.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 20:50

Be open and honest with her. Talk about what is going wrong and how it needs to change. Explain that if it can't change, then it might be necessary to alter her position. If possible, try to figure out what her strengths are and offer her a position that plays to her strengths while removing the responsibilities that she struggles with. She may be frustrated by the issues to or she may be completely unaware of them, either way, open communication, providing whatever assistance you can and being clear about any corrective actions you have to take is the best way to ensure that things go smoothly.

This is the same technique I've used with people who used to be active leaders but have strayed away from the game or community I'm working with. It isn't that they aren't valuable members of the community, they just aren't fitting the needs of the role and if they really value the community, they will understand and want what is best for the community. Just be open, honest, polite and open to alternate ideas for ways to fix it. (Even ask them if they have any ideas, in the most ideal cases, you can actually get them to give up the position willingly.)


I ran into this issue a number of times in the video game industry. It's not always easy, but here is a couple of ideas to consider.

Volunteers Should Manage Themselves

What this means is that you, the owner, do not manage the volunteer moderates. This is a tactic a large number of for profit corporations take in order to prevent issues down the road. I know that sounds a little much, but it's actually a good step even for instances where it's not a for profit organization.

Volunteers who manage each other can normally weave out the issues and bad apples. It dramatically reduces the weight on your shoulders as the owner while also allowing volunteers to basically empower themselves. All you need to do is find an exceptional leader, develop some guidelines and go from there.

Salvage First, Then Abandon If All Else Fails

Another common practice is to help improve someone first, then if all else fails, you have to go your separate ways.

Unfortunately, I am not a big believer in subtly hinting towards someone doing wrong and making the entire team pay for it by making them do additional training. It's better to come out and talk with the team member having a problem first, help train them to make them better and see what you have left over.

Therefore, I believe you should have an active dialog with this moderator and note any issues you have with his/her work. Be entirely open about those issues, but also reinforce that you want to help him/her do better because you WANT to keep them as a volunteer for as long as they like.

If they are a team player, they will be on board and hopefully excited you care enough to notice and willing to help them do better. If not, then it's likely not a risk you should be willing to take for someone who does not want to be a team player and improve.


After additional training, put the team member back into motion and have a review after a set amount of time. During this review, you should ensure to note any improvements in areas even if others don't improve. That way you can potentially assign the team member to only the areas they improved in so they can continue being a volunteer.

All Else Fails

If nothing has changed and if things have actually gotten worse, then you have to consider removing their volunteer status. Again be clear and open about the reasons why, thank them for their hard work and try to move on. Keeping them on board will likely only ignore the issues and potentially influence other volunteers to do the same. Acting on the issues and being a leader is more important to ensure a thriving robust community of players and of course volunteers.

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