Online communities are growing with each passing day. Its development means that people from all over the world are becoming members of a community of their choice. A community can have a lot of members and at times, it is difficult to manage all of them.
That is why, communities of all kinds, whether big or small, need a moderator.
Having more people in a community increases the chances of having a conflict. People from different parts contribute to the community and therefore their thoughts and feelings on certain matters may not match. This makes it necessary to have a person who moderates the type of content that is posted on the community, flag unnecessary and rude comments, remove content that is spam, deal with trolls and lastly, form acceptable rules and regulations for discussions.
The basic purpose of having a moderator in an online community is to help it function smoothly.
A moderator ensures that barriers (if any) to participation and discussions are removed while also ensuring that the members stay cordial and respectful while contributing their points.
Communities get better and develop when they have good moderation. The process increases the quality of conversations that take place in the community.
Moderators are essential to make a community successful in the digital world.
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Typically, a moderator of an online community can encounter the following issues:
1. Issues and fights between members.
2. Members not abiding by the guidelines and rules of the community.
3. Spam or unsuitable content being shared.
4. Inactive and dormant members.
5. Trolling and cyberbullying.
6. Inappropriate behaviors by members.
Qualities of an efficient moderator:
Moderators can be chosen on the basis of their personality. They should be outgoing, be good at balancing, be willing to learn, have excellent social skills and be able to guide others as per the requirement. Moderating is a challenging job and hence it needs a strong-willed person. Having a deep knowledge of the community they are supposed to moderate is also an important requirement.
Here are some reasons why having a moderator for your online community is essential:
1. Resolve conflicts:
An online community has no borders. It has members from all over the globe. This makes a place for a difference of opinion. People with different backgrounds may have different takes on topics and that might create an issue between members.
Here, moderators come into the picture. They try to solve an issue by listening to all sides of the conversation, remove bad content that finds its way on the website and regulate content on a daily basis as per the community guidelines.
They facilitate cooperation among members and collaborate with other members in a structured way. They act in a way that is not detrimental to the purpose of the community.
Moderation is not an easy job. Being diplomatic all the time may be hard but at the end of the day, it is done for the betterment of the community.
2. Encourage discussions:
To make a community successful, its members have to engage and participate in everyday activities. A moderator can find some ways to make this happen. They can encourage members to discuss various topics, take surveys, host competitions and post various information about new developments, thereby establishing a conversation.
Moderators give a voice to the members of the community.
To make things easier for new members, moderators can pin introductory and other important questions along with solutions to their main page. They can start discussions on various topics while warranting that their questions are not controversial. Various questions can be asked in the community and members can be persuaded to be responsive. A separate page can be created wherein members share their experiences that can help the community.
It is important for members and moderators to be a part of conversations. Everyone should be given a chance to put forth their opinion in a respectful manner. Moderators should allow a healthy exchange of views. The more people share, the more the whole community learns.
Lastly, moderators can also ask the community members for feedback. Upon receiving genuine feedback, they can change certain behaviors as per the needs of members. Coherent feedback helps the moderator to continuously improve and get better at their job.
3. Form guidelines:
The way a society cannot function without certain rules in place, an online community also needs guidelines to help it function more effectively.
Moderating is a difficult task. They have to come up with guidelines and other rules and ensure that their members abide by it. For this, they can ask for suggestions from members about their needs and expectations from the community.
Guidelines in an online community keep discussions friendly, spam-free, non-controversial and transparent. If anyone defies such guidelines over and over again, they can be given warnings and upon observing the same behavior, they can be eventually removed from the community.
Moderators take important and tough decisions for the smooth functioning of the community and that is why they have to remain active, objective and engage with members.
4. Add value:
Online communities cannot work without having short-term and long-term goals. Depending on the type of community, various goals can be set. For them to materialize, moderators formulate a clear and effective strategy that takes the community forward.
Making a place online and curating relevant information for its members are some of the ways in which members and the moderators can add value. A community should be of value to everyone who interacts with it. Information provided online can be of value when it is accurate and relevant. A moderator filters all information that is received on the community.
Without value, members do not have any incentive to be a part of the community.
In short, moderators ‘maintain’ a community.
A community without moderators will not fulfill any purpose and will have unorganized discussions that will not add any worth in the long term.
Does your community have a moderator? If not, ensure that you appoint one today! In fact, you can create your very own community and moderate it! Define your goals, steer and guide your community on the right path!