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Moderating Made Simple: Top Tips for Moderating Your Online Forum

Posted on the 11 September 2012 by Visakh1234
Moderating Made Simple: Top Tips for Moderating your Online Forum Online forums are a great way to build a community. You might want to set one up to make a home on the web for your hobby or compatriots, a place where you can all get together to share advice and information that is relevant to you. Alternatively, you might see a forum as an extension of your online business, serving as a great way to draw in traffic and increase your market and advertising revenues.
Regardless of the purpose of your forum, one thing you are going to have to deal with is moderation of the content that is posted. Use these tips to make moderating your forum as pain-free as possible.
Have Clear Rules and Apply them Fairly
If your users don't know what kind of behavior you expect, then it's hard to blame them when things get out of hand. We all seem to have some innate sense of fairness, and nothing will turn people away from your forum more quickly than a sense you are playing favorites or otherwise unevenly applying the rules.
Make sure your rules are clearly displayed and you have laid out the disciplinary actions or punishments that users can expect for breaking them. Ideally, if you need to ban a user or otherwise punish them for breaking the rules you would keep a public record of your reasons so there is no confusion.
Consult With Your Userbase
When you set up a forum it can be easy to think of it as your baby and nobody else could possibly understand how to run it. However, this can lead to you becoming out-of-touch with your userbase, ignoring problems that are turning people away and causing them to leave.
Having a special sub-forum or thread for suggestions and questions will help your users give their opinions on how to make the site better. Make sure not to have a knee-jerk response to criticism. Rather, carefully consider the suggestions given, and if you decide not to put them into practice, give out your reasons so users know you took the time to give their ideas consideration.
If you agree to ideas users will expect fulfillment of those promises, so make sure to assess workability before you commit!
Don't be Afraid to Stand your Ground
There may well be some issues where you draw a line in the sand. For example, postings that could cause you legal problems, harassment of other users or posts that contain racism or sexism. In some cases, banning users for these infractions can lead to complaints from them or their friends.
While it is important to listen to your users, you do have the final word, and if these policies were included in your rules to start with then you are justified in expecting users to abide by them.

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