How to be a Moderator or Administrator for a Forum
Forums are everywhere!
Every topic has a forum, or a thousand. Most forums need administrators and moderators to help the forum run smoothly. When a spot opens up, you may be interested in trying to get it. But not just anyone can be a moderator, administrators are looking for certain types of people to moderate their forums. If you're starting your own forum, you should be prepared to handle many of the issues that arise. Poor forum management by staff can really destroy a forum and its popularity.
You need to maintain good presence within the forum community. A good POSITIVE presence. You want the community to respect you, but also preferably to like you. This can help you resolve issues very quickly if a flaming war starts to break out. Your presence in the community is a good background before you even do any moderator or administrator work.
You cannot fall victim to your own temper! You are a moderator/administrator, you are not on the same standard as normal users. You cannot engage in arguments, you need to stop and prevent them, even if they are attacking you. This can be difficult, but being an administrators/moderator is about resolving conflicts in the community and promoting a good environment, not about proving yourself or engaging in ego battles. Be careful with users who like to test and poke at moderators. Their aim is to fluster and upset you, don't fall victim to it. You need to be able to bite your tongue.
Always ensure your forum contains quality posts (except for in the designated spam section, if there is one). Warn and stop users from spamming too much as it lowers the quality of the forum, irritates people and often prevents them from further posting, and can be a sign of a disingenuous user. This also means make sure your own posts are of good quality. This further helps creating a posting environment with good material.
Forums always require a team to work with. Be sure other moderators/administrators are all on the same page about conflicts and expectations. Bad communication can lead to poor forum management and troubles within the staff. All staff members should know how to respond to conflicts and what is expected of them.
Keep a hidden forum for moving conflict threads that need to be removed to. Do not delete them! They may be needed for evidence. Hide them away in a designated location in case the staff needs to properly punish individuals. Some threads can just be locked and left, but other ones need to be hidden. Use your judgment based on the thread content.
Never Abuse Your Power:
Do not ever use your power in an inappropriate way, even if it's just for jokes. It can really upset people and drive them away from the forum. Always keep in mind that if a user is upset with the forum staff they will surely not be visiting that forum often. You need to keep relationships with users positive. Users can dislike other users, that is fine, but never the staff.
I think that covers a lot of what is required to be an admin/mod on a forum. Try to think about your position and now about yourself when it comes time to play your role. The biggest mistake people make is to let it go to their head. You have to be able to put the forum and the community before yourself as it's very easy to get carried away on the internet.
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