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Moderators - A Set Of Customizable Guidelines For Your Websites (G+)

Updated on January 3, 2016
Moderator Guidelines for your Google+ Community
Moderator Guidelines for your Google+ Community

The community features introduced in late 2012 have really enhanced Google+. People have regularly updating, interactive, engaging communities to exchange ideas, discussions, posts and links.

As a moderator of a large Google+ Community, I know how important it is to have clear guidelines on the type of behaviour that's appropriate. This article is an attempt to bring together some 'Best Practice' community moderation guidelines and make them available to anyone that wants to use them, in Google+ or any other online communities.

Although I wrote these guidelines for Google Plus, they can easily be adapted to other communities and I am happy for you to do so.

If you are a moderator, please feel free to either link to this article or use the content in your own posts or community, it's licensed under 'Creative Commons' (details at the end of the article.) Additionally, if you have any suggestions for how these guidelines could be improved, please do let me know.

If you are a regular Google+ Community Member (Not a moderator), you have probably been referred to this page as the set of guidelines for your community; these guidelines follow below:

Introduction & general approach

  • These Google+ Community and Moderation guidelines exist to make this community a safe, respectful and useful destination for all community members
  • By reading, posting and participating in this community, you agree to read these guidelines and act according to them
  • If you are interested in enhancing your experience in the Google+ Community, you might find this article on how to be a great G+ Community Member helpful
  • These guidelines may be updated at any time by the moderators of this community; any updates and the new version of the guidelines will be posted in the stream for this Google+ Community
  • Please use the predominant language of the community - It should be clear what language(s) are supported by this community; please ensure that you post in a language that most (>90%) of community members can understand
  • These guidelines exist alongside and do not replace Google’s Terms of Service:
  • You should consider information shared on this community to be in the ‘public domain’; information shared on this community may be indexed and searchable on Google and other search engines; details of Google’s privacy policy can be found here:

Google+ is now second in size to Facebook and will only continue to grow as it gets linked to more Google services and the whole concept of Google Authorship really takes off. It makes sense to have a presence there; it's easy to use, clutter free and has some fantastic communities.

You can also follow me on Google+ if you want to.

Its important to set out expectations of behavior for your online community
Its important to set out expectations of behavior for your online community | Source

Moderators and Moderation

  • This Google+ Community is moderated by one or more moderators; you can find a list of who they are at the right hand side of any Google+ Community page
  • Moderators will use their best judgement to apply these guidelines in a fair way and moderate activities appropriately to ensure the overall health of this community
  • Moderators may not have the time or inclination to explain their moderation decisions and are under no obligation to do so
  • Any activity, comments, posts or other interaction that you have with this community may be moderated by the moderators of this community, with or without explanation
  • Google has automated spam detection in place to identify unusual posting patterns, duplicate, low value and thin content; from time to time, 'false positives' are picked up by the spam filter and may be removed. This is unfortunate but cannot be avoided
  • Moderators have the final decision on what is and isn’t acceptable use of this community
  • If you are not sure if something you want to post will breach community guidelines, please contact a moderator privately before you post it an explain your concerns; they will let you know how to proceed
  • In the event that you have a disagreement with a moderator, please contact the appropriate moderator privately and enter into a discussion with them

Treatment of other community members

Our community needs to remain a safe, mutually beneficial and engaging place where members are treated with decency, courtesy and respect. This means:

  • Treat others as you would wish and expect to be treated yourself
  • Be tolerant towards other’s behaviour and accept that generally, other members of this community act in good faith
  • Give other community members the benefit of the doubt unless their behaviour shows otherwise
  • Treat others online as you would treat them in real life; this means behaving with common decency, common sense, courtesy and respect; you are not anonymous here!
  • Do not make personal attacks on other members of this community
  • Do not make defamatory or false statements against others
  • Do not reveal private or personal information about other users
  • Do not make prejudiced comments, remarks or other statements about members
  • Do not bully, make ‘trolling’ remarks or otherwise start trouble with other community members

Disagreeing with other community members

Whilst we need to ensure proper behaviour towards others in this community, we do not want to stifle discussion, debate, and, occasionally, disagreement. It is also important that members feel able to properly express their opinions on various topics when it is appropriate to do so.

If you are engaged in lively debate or disagreement with other people, please keep the following in mind:

  • In many cases, you will be arguing about ‘opinion’, and there may not be an objectively right or wrong answer
  • Remember that people are generally passionate about defending their beliefs and thoughts
  • Accept that other community members will have different thoughts and beliefs to you and respect that
  • Disagree with and discuss content and posts, not the people making them
  • Do not engage in personal attacks
  • If you are providing commentary, rebuttals or feedback please keep your comments positive and constructive
  • If you have a complaint about another community member, please initially take it up with them in a civil way via private message; if this doesn't work, please contact a moderator via private message

Most types of behavior in a responsible online community are OK
Most types of behavior in a responsible online community are OK | Source

Please feel free to re-use this content as needed

These guidelines are licensed under a Creative Commons 'Attribution-Share Alike' license. This means that you are free to use all or part of this content and can modify and tweak it to meet your needs.

The only condition is that you link back and attribute the original creation to me, preferably as some variation of the following: 'Derived from an original guidelines on HubPages by Paul Maplesden.' In any event, please include a link to this URL:

Of course, if you do use it, I'd be grateful to know where and what the reception has been like.


My thanks to Rob Gordon, Peter G McDermott and other moderators on Google Plus; I have built upon their guidelines, my observations and common sense in creating these guidelines.

Posting general content - Things to do

Our aim is to ensure the posting of high quality posts and comments in this community. You can help us to achieve this by:

  • Thinking before you post - This is the golden rule; think about your content before you post it, is it something the community is going to care about?
  • Staying On Topic - Please bear in mind the title and reason for this community's existence and post with that in mind
  • Posting content in the right subtopics - Please pay attention to the subtopic list on the left hand side of this community, underneath the picture and settings icons and post your content in the appropriate place; this helps to keep the community organised and means your content can be found more easily by others
  • Posting content that is informative, educational, entertaining or encourages discussion - We want content posted here to be engaging. If what you are going to post does not meet that criteria, it is unlikely to be of value to our community members
  • Post 'for' the community, not 'at' the community - Remember your audience here; try to post content that will be relevant to them, take time to learn about the content that does (and doesn't) do well and post with that in mind

Posting general content - Things Not to do

In adiditon to the guidelines above, please avoid this behaviour:

  • Posting questionable, obscene, illegal, confrontational or defamatory content - Please keep your postings to appropriate topics and discussions
  • Plagiarising, breaching copyright or failing to attribute - Please attribute content appropriately, respect copyright and do not steal other's content
  • Posting invitations to other communities - Please do not post invitations to other communities unless invited to do so by a moderator; this is considered very rude!
  • Posting too often - Please keep your posting frequency to a reasonable level; please do not make back-to-back posts and do not post just for the sake of it
  • Posting from a 'page' rather than your personal profile - Please engage with this community from your personal G+ profile, rather than a business page or brand

Posting links

In addition to the guidelines above for general content, please also take the following into account when posting links to other online content.

  • Providing an introduction to your link and reasons that others would find it useful - Please provide a context, description and introduction to any links that you post; tell the community why you found it useful or what they will notice if they click on the link
  • Do not post 'naked' links (links without context or introductions) - Naked links are often irrelevant to the community and should be avoided; always post links that are appropriate
  • Do not post spam links / cross posting - Please do not post links here that you have recently shared elsewhere in other communities
  • Do not post purely promotional / advertising links - Avoid links that purely promote businesses, services, products or other areas; again, links must provide value to community members. Promotional links will be removed
  • Do not post the same link repeatedly - You generally only need to post each link once; in some cases it is acceptable to post a link again if some time has passed (at least a month)
  • Tell the community if you are involved with the link - Declare any interests that you have in the link that is posted

Link posting guidelines

Use an appropriate headline
Let people know why its useful
Don't cross-post to lots of places
Include a description
Don't post naked links
Don't post purely promotional links
Include context
Don't spam lots of links
Tell the community if you have self-interest

Actions that may be taken if these guidelines are breached

By taking part in this community, you agree to abide by these guidelines. If you do not do so, the following actions may be taken against you or your posts (in ascending order)

Note that in some cases, a moderator may decide to apply a higher level action against your or your posts immediately, without prior notice or warning.

  • A request from a moderator to post appropriately in the community
  • A warning from a moderator
  • Removal of your post
  • Your removal from the community (you may be able to rejoin the community later; contact a moderator to find out why you were removed before joining again)
  • Your banning from the community (you will not be able to rejoin the community without permission and approval from a moderator)
  • In some cases, activities within this community or against other members may be reported to Google

As always, if you are unsure about any part of these community guidelines, please contact a moderator before posting your content, they can advise you.

Please note that these guidelines are not endorsed by Google or Google+ and exist as a separate framework entirely; they are produced and intended to be used in good faith. They do not replace any announcements by moderators in any Google+ Community and should be read alongside Google's official terms of service and privacy policy. Sharing, use, implementation and adherence to these guidelines is on an entirely voluntary basis. These guidelines are not intended to infringe on any Google products, services or trademarks.

Do you have anything to add to these community guidelines or comments on them? If so, please let us know in the comments.

Facebook moderation tips (also applies to Google Plus)

Other Google Plus articles that I've written


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