39

First, make sure you explain why the information is secret. If the community understands why certain information cannot be disclosed, they're a lot more willing to accept decisions based on that information, even if they're not allowed access to it. Second, make sure there is oversight. If one moderator's decision is questioned, bring in other moderators to ...


29

When a moderator has a personal relationship with the user, should you allow another moderator to take action? Almost always. In fact, ask another moderator to take care of it. Business + friends almost always == disaster. Some things that could go wrong: You might not give them enough punishment/be lenient on them. They could accuse you of giving them ...


21

Moderators wear many hats but their main role is to enforce community standards. That's not quite the same role as dispute mediator, because not every dispute between users is going to violate community standards. In the case that you describe, any intervention by the non-expert moderator should explicitly address the behaviors that violate community ...


20

Before there were web fora/Q&A sites/etc, there were mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups, some of which were (are) moderated. On a mailing list or newsgroup there's generally no way to automatically mark users' status; at best a moderator might identify himself in the signature block of his messages. This managed to work anyway, so it seems it could ...


17

The other 3 Founders need to speak with the problem founder. Depending on your dynamic, this can either be as a group or a simple one-on-one with a designated Founder to speak for you three. The one thing you want to avoid is having this look like a plot to band against Founder C. It makes it easier if they don't become defensive immediately. In this ...


15

I think this is going to come down to recognizing a change in the user's behavior. If a user is generally chatty and is now responding with terse comments, there's a good chance they don't care any more If a user is responding just to get in the last word (eg. "Ok.", "I get it.", "Ok thanks", "Thank you.", etc), there's a good chance they don't care any ...


15

It should mostly go like this: Reverse the call Apologize to the affected parties If necessary and possible, explain the reasons for your actions Moderate the backslash itself I think point 4 is pretty important, if non-obvious; you might not want to deal with complaints about moderation with more moderations. However, if your community is about X and the ...


15

The first and most important thing is communication. For starters, things should, ideally never escalate to a moderator calling a user names. Other moderators or staff members should be there to support him, and even remove him from the argument if things get personal. Second, if the suspension was wrongly placed, it should be lifted. The moderator should ...


15

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 ...


14

This boils down to community culture and possibly community tools. If your community has a way for you to post as non-moderator that is a great way to interact as a user. For example, Reddit allows you distinguish a post, marking it with an 'M'. This is a good way to show that it is a moderator speaking officially. If your tools don't allow this kind of ...


13

How can this be handled in a community that doesn't have that that extra level above moderators? It is difficult to imagine something like that. There is always a superstructure that gives the power to the moderators in the first place. That superstructure is the one that ultimately should deal with problems of the Moderators themself. To put a more ...


13

Offer to handle that user yourself Work double-plus hard to create positive interaction Point out the positive interactions to the other mods Offer to Handle the User If other mods can't keep a cool head when dealing with a user, do your best to keep them away from that user. If you are the one who can stay objective, then that means you should be the one ...


13

Explain the other admins/moderators why. If you (and the moderators who agree with you) take action without agreement of the others, it will be harder to become one union again, and you'll keep being separated which you don't want. Explain why it is bad, and make your reasons convincing. With unconvincing reasons such as "it is just bad", it will be harder ...


13

Don't worry about making him angry. If he can't deal with getting on board with helping the community and allowing competing views without getting angry and quitting, then he is not a good moderator, no matter how much of a resource he may be. Being a good resource and being a good moderator are NOT the same thing. A moderator needs to be able to deal ...


12

In a smaller forum, where moderators actively participate as users, and take moderator actions relatively rarely, we've added a special markup for "Moderator speech". As long as the moderator talks in "user mode", their opinions are to be treated as just that - opinions from a fellow user. You're free to disagree, dispute, oppose, discuss. If moderator ...


12

Think about all the commercials you see on television. All those new products that companies want you to buy. Just about anything nowadays will have a money-back guarantee, and will say something along the lines of "no risk or obligation." They say that to make people feel safe and comfortable. Because if you have nothing to lose, well, why not try it? The ...


12

The short answer is: It depends. The longer answer is that it depends on several factors of your community. There is not a golden moderator to user ratio that can be applied to all communities. The number of moderators you need depends on things like this short list of examples: What are the users' responsibilities? Do users gain (or lose) ...


12

On managing user expectations, I've seen a related problem on a site I moderate; with three moderators (who are active but all have "day jobs" too), flags can hang around for a few hours. We've had users request more moderators, but that really only shifts the problem -- ok, maybe by adding some moderators you get your spam-handling down from two hours to ...


12

It sounds like there are few areas to focus on here, but most of it boils down to communication between you and your team. Not participating in staff discussions Think about how your community is run for a second. Is moderator participation in these meetings necessary? Do you approach the team of moderators with a problem and ask for solutions, work ...


11

I put the following message in my user profile on Stack Overflow: Questions about moderator actions on Stack Overflow should still be posted on Meta Stack Overflow. This is right in the same paragraph as my contact information, so if a user contacts me off-site they really can't say they didn't see the message. This has really cut down on the number of ...


11

I'm elaborating on ChrisF's answer of building in moderation tools. This is important. But, that's not all there is to it. Every piece of forum software I've used has the ability for users to flag a post (usually for spam). Smaller sites, in general, don't use this feature that often. Why? I suspect, it's because moderation is taken care of for users. What ...


11

As the site administration, you reserve the right to not accept a moderator's nomination even when community consensus is achieved. After all, it is your community, and in addition to that of the community, it is your trust that must be earned. Moderators are delegates of the site's administration to handle the community. Personally, I wouldn't accept the ...


11

You have a few challenges: Re-earning the trust of your users: Your users are hurt and suspicious because of what happened. You've undone what you can, but there are lasting effects. As with any service that has had a major customer-relations problem, a top priority for you is to show them what you've done to mitigate against this happening again. What ...


11

You are talking about a situation where the problem behavior happens in public and during the meeting. So you risk embarrassment with the reprimand, but not by revealing the problem behavior -- everybody affected already knows that. The progression I have seen, and try to follow if I'm the one conducting the meeting, is: First occurrence: steer the ...


11

In my experience as an ordinary participant (not as a moderator or company representative) in technical communities, you've identified the main concerns. Technical communities tend to like it when company representatives: participate in general issues, so that most of their participation is not about their own product; are rarely the first in a thread to ...


11

Disclaimer: I have an answer on the linked question. I also run an automated process that at least partially prompted the comment that led to this question I do not believe the question posed regarding AIs or facsimiles was questioning whether all automated processes can be removed. Doing so would open a site to untold amounts of spam or abuse. I think the ...


11

There are many ways you can decide on who becomes a moderator on your site(s). Wait until the site has been up and running for a while and see which users have been the most helpful around the place, doing things like showing new users the ropes, flagging up questionable content, editing (if that's allowed) etc. Then approach these people to see if they ...


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