Tales of an Aspie Freedom Fighter

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Forum moderation do's and dont's

I have been foruming for a while and have seen many good forum moderator practices and many bad ones. So I put together a list of do's and dont's:

Do keep a set of clear forum rules and expectations. Most places have them but on those that don't it can be very anxious posting because you never sure what the moderator will consider appropriate. And such moderators are open to accusations of unfair treatment.

Don't expect anyone to read it! The rules link could occupy 75% of the screen on all pages and people will still not notice it!

Do explain your reasons for locking a topic. It may be obvious to you but to the other forumers they might not know(remember that unread rules page!).

Don't discuss bans on the public thread. Remember the person may still be reading the posts and that may be provocation for them to try to post again to defend themselves.

Do give a warning message to misbehaving members. They may not realize that there is something wrong with their behaviour (especially important with aspies).

Don't get too involved in heated argument. You might need to put on the moderator hat later on.

Do remember that the things you say and do tend to be seen as the views of the site owners or the forum.

Don't tease or make fun of people you ban. That's just an invitation for a troll to re-register later just to say fuck you.

Do be prepared to answer the accusation that your restricting the persons freedom of speech. Some people think that the constitution (or the equivalent) enables them the privilege of being a complete asshole. Well sure it can, but not on my site.

Do be prepared to apply the rules a little liberally. There are some trolls that manage to create trouble while staying just within the stated rules.

Don't listen too much to my advice. I have never been a moderator. :D