4 ways to moderate and have the right people in your community

4 ways to moderate and have the right people in your community

You’ve built your community and new members are rolling in (woohoo!) but sometimes lots of people don’t necessarily mean they’re the right people.

That's where moderation comes into play. As a community manager, it’s your job to be the first line of defense in making sure all your community members are aligned with the type of community space you want to create.

If you’re wondering how to moderate your community, we’ve got you covered with our top tips.

1. Get your members involved

As much as we may want to be keeping an eye on our community 24/7, it’s virtually impossible. You have multiple plates to spin so it’s natural that some things may slip through the cracks, but we also know that those rare moments of dropping the ball could have detrimental consequences.

So, how do you solve this challenge? You encourage your members to moderate with you. You can start by asking them to report anything that breaks your code of conduct which also gives your member the opportunity of feeling a sense of ownership. Your members will also love knowing they can make a difference and you’ll be able to have some peace of mind that your community won’t spin out of control in those moments that you don’t have the time to focus on moderating.

Do you have model members who do everything right? If you haven’t considered it already, think about inviting them to become moderators for your community.

2. Have clear community guidelines and rules

As a community manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your community members are aware of how they should participate, behave and what consequences there will be if they step out of line.

Making sure you have clear guidelines and rules is key to ensuring that you’re creating the right environment and culture.

Where you place these guidelines and rules is also critical to ensuring your members are in the know. Here are some suggestions:

  • In your weekly welcome posts

  • In your welcome email

  • In replies to comments when someone goes against a guideline

  • In private messages to members who post something that goes against the guideline

  • In general guidelines and rules reminder posts every month for example

It’s important to note that highlighting good behaviour goes a long way, so when you see a member participating in the right way, make sure you give them recognition in a comment or event direct message to say thanks. You can also keep them in mind as a future moderator to join your team too.

3. Assess the privacy of your community

As we all know the internet is a very public place. You can search and find almost anything. On many community platforms, you can decide the privacy settings of your community based on your needs.

Generally, there are public (open for anyone to join and is searchable) and private/invite-only (closed and could require approval with a specific link to join which cannot be searched for).

If you’re deciding to go private with your community remember that your membership growth rate could slow down from say 100 new members a day to 10. The good part about this is the control you have over the people coming in and being able to ensure they’re the right fit for your community.

4. Keep on top of it

As a community leader, manager, or host it’s your responsibility to keep on top of what’s happening in your community both from a member-facing point of view and behind the scenes.

If you do not have the bandwidth for this, then it's highly recommended that you seek out help from your team, community members, or even existing moderators if you have them to delegate these tasks to.

Incorporating a daily check into your existing schedule will help form habits, reduce workload and reduce further situations such as posts or comments from people that may need to be removed.

Here is a quick checklist you can refer back to on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to weed out members who don’t align with your purpose and mission:

  • Scan new member lists and check for suspicious emails, usernames, and photos, and shadow ban and/or delete when necessary

  • Assess if answers to profile fields are acceptable and shadow ban and/or delete when necessary

  • Determine if posts and comments are within your guidelines and rules and unpublish, delete, turn off comments when necessary.