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[IPS News] Up your community moderation game with these quick tips

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There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to moderating/guiding an online community. Each digital world includes its own series of hurdles to overcome. As a community gains momentum and the registration count climbs higher, community moderators are presented with new challenges. These tasks become inherently more complex as a result, siphoning precious resources and oftentimes paint moderators into a corner. Take back the brush and illustrate a new scene with these supportive tips on how to better engage with your community. These pro-moderation tactics aim to foster a greater sense of togetherness and unity while also acknowledging individual members for their contributions. Clear and concise community guidelines. These are the building blocks for a solid foundation. Community guidance is less about different means of restriction and more about the ability to express one’s thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. All communities will inevitably run into toxic trolls, but instead of exerting energy on the negative, give praise and accolades to the positive. As we mentioned in a previous blog post about community guidance, show your community in the guidelines how you want them to post by contributing that way yourself. That sets a precedent. From there, you'll notice other community members participating in a way that is similar to you (TL;DR lead by example). Curate member content. Curating member content is the secret sauce to accelerated growth when it comes to community building. Featuring your members' posts publicly demonstrates your desire to embrace participating members. It’s one thing to comment on members’ topics, it’s another to feature and promote them for all to see. It gives added depth to your community by amplifying differing opinions, builds trust and encourages others to partake. It’ll take extra effort on your end to manually curate content (be selective regarding what topics you want to represent your community); establishing multiple authorities in your community builds momentum. Remember, people come for the content, but stay for the community. Give them both! Moderate on the offense. Moderating has a bad rap. Generally speaking, most view it as a prohibitive tool. A member posts profanity? Moderate! A topic goes live in the wrong section? Moderate! A spam bot infiltrates the latest blog entry? Moderate, moderate, moderate! That aspect of community building will always exist, but setting up automations will save you time and money. More importantly, it creates an elevated user experience because your attention is spent engaging with your members. We have some powerful tools at your disposal to help, including a designated ‘automatic moderation’ section in your Admin Control Panel. Here, community leaders can set up rules that will trigger automatic content moderation. For example, you could create a rule that automatically hides content when it receives three or more user-submitted reports. If your members collectively agree another member’s post is problematic, and three or more of them report it, the post is hidden from public view until a moderator has a chance to review it. Moderation doesn’t have to be a dirty word. And if it does, we have an automatic moderation tool for that, too. Publicly recognizing members. Members who refuse to follow your community guidelines likely won’t fall in line with a public reprimand. Either privately message them your concerns or issue a warning only the moderation team can see. Instead, focus your attention on recognizing and rewarding contributing members. There’s a number of ways you can energize morale, including responding to members’ positive posts, manually or automatically awarding badges with our Achievements system, highlighting engaged members in a sidebar block, showcasing Leaderboard champs or even interviewing your MVPs. The idea is to approach community guidance with open arms – not a closed fist. Team work makes the dream work. There’s a reason it’s cliché. Organizing then empowering a moderation team is essential. Once on the same page in terms of expectations and processes, a community leader is then faced with the daunting task of relinquishing control as their team gears up to congratulate and moderate. Your moderation team is only one moving part of a well-oiled machine. There are times, especially in the early days of a community where, as the community leader, you’re doing most of the heavy lifting. However, there will come a time when the community supports you in return and shares the weight. It’s important to recognize those instances and publicly acknowledge them! The world has enough doom and gloom; be an inspiration to your community and in return they’ll inspire you. Do you have a community management tip to share? Drop it into the comments. We’d love to hear from you! Header photo: Unsplash

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