Should a Moderator be Moderate?

By Margaret Orem On March 25th, 2010 in business impact, employment, social media, social networks, social stuff /

Should a Moderator be Moderate?

Moderators are in an interesting position. A moderator is able to control who joins and who remains a member of a group, as well as who posts and what posts are permitted. Moderators also have the opportunity to post  and control members’ access at will. Many moderators take their work very seriously and do a great job at ensuring quality conversations and the membership of the group remains spam-free.

The designation of a moderator is an important key into the success of that group. A moderator is the individual charged with protecting you from inappropriate postings, shielding you from ill-intentioned individuals, and maintaining focus. Moderators reflect our humanity; they can be autocratic, democratic, or even laissez-faire. Sometimes, moderators will simply take the middle road by choosing not to enter into conflicts or limit their visible participation.  If you have been in groups where the main participant is the moderator, you may find that participation level stimulating or frustrating.

Should you be a moderator?

Before you decide to take on the role of moderator, you need to understand what you are willing to permit that might not be in line with your opinions or in the manner in which you express yourself. Do you want the group to take on the task of language if someone uses profanity in a posting or will you ignore it, handle it privately, or handle it publicly? Are you willing to alienate someone by denying membership into the group, removing him or her from the group, or deleting a posting? Will you permit the equivalent of spam postings or will you control them?  Will you permit individuals who are prolific to post significantly more than anyone else? Will you use the platform to promote your own interests using tools only available to moderators, such as email blasts? What is the level of commitment you are willing to make? Will you be online many times a day to check? Will you stick with the role for a certain period of time and secure a successor before giving up the role?

What type of moderator do you appreciate?

If you are a passive participant, you might want a moderator who is really hands-on and very active. The groups that you choose to join and remain as a member might be those whose moderators are active.

If you are an active participant, the level of a moderator becomes less significant because you are actively creating value for yourselves and others and are less dependent upon the moderator to fulfill that function.

Regardless of the quality or characteristics of a moderator, groups can and do survive with or without them. A group is only as good as its membership. What individuals choose to discuss or with whom they choose to interact will make the difference. An occasional inappropriate comment or perceived spam message is a small price to pay for the value which a solid and interactive group provides.  

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3 Responses to “Should a Moderator be Moderate?”

  1. cna training Says: March 28th, 2010 at 1:17 am

    nice post. thanks.

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