gogoblender submitted a new Article:
A mini mod team Handbook
Read more about this article here...
I like it...you've combined two elements that I'd previously kept separate: the job description and the protocol. If you like, I can PM you a copy of these... I've already c&p'd yours onto my hard drive.
Fantastic Yoga and thanks for the commentary.
I'd love to see your take on this as well.
Looking forward to your mod book
I like it, very useful.
I particularly like No 1 in Encouragements about welcoming new members.
Something I think is very important, it shows that you care.
Do I need to ask your permission to make and use a copy of your guide ?
If so, please may I ?
I'm happy someone else finds it useful. Have fun with it and use it in anyway you wish.
Spread the smiley!
way to go gogo...
Well done Gogo!
I find it concise and well focus..
hope you dont mind that i will apply most of it to my forum too
Mine is just about a month old and im having some problems too
but not with my moderators (they are very good)
but with something else,
neverthless i do know that this one
will come in handly once the need for it arises.
My rules and guidelines for my core team is pretty in general
and not that elaborate like yours..im not that really good in expressing
all my thoughts in words..most of my ideas were in bit and pieces that needs to be combined,
while yours can already stand on its own...
a very great help indeed to someone like me.
Thank you very much for sharing such great idea like this to us here.
I already included in my daily routine in being active here too, knowing there are priceless lessons and learning here that i can get from great people like you.. hope i can share some of mine too once i have them heheheheh.
Great! very concise. I can make my mods memorize it and take a quiz anytime I feel like it.
i'm thinking of applying this to my team. They've become lax as of late.
Brilliant Little Guide Thanks GoGoBlender
Nice job! Here's something I wrote up a couple of years ago--another take on the same issue.
Welcome to the staff of <my forum>!
You have been asked to be a member of the staff because you have been an active and valued member of the community. If you find that the duties of being a staff member are interfering with your ability to be an active community member, or diminishing your enjoyment of participation, please let me know--we will need to fix it.
What is your role?
Your role here is not that of sheriff--rather more like a combination of waiter, janitor, and host at a really good party. It is to ensure the members are comfortable when visiting the site, that they have a enjoyable and rewarding experience, and to stimulate conversation.
Your title is "Staff," my title is "Staff"—we all speak for the forum with the same moral authority. When necessary, I will use the title "Forum Manager," to assert my voice as the final authority. I will not do it often, and I will not do it lightly. Our task is to lead the members by example and persuasion, rather than by dictate.
All things in Moderation
The main activity in which all staff members participate is that of "message moderation." The technical parts of moderating messages is relatively easy. Learning how and when to do it in a way that doesn't create hurt feelings and turmoil is much harder. The key is to be moderate. Below are some specific examples:
Dealing with messages
Sometimes a member will start a thread on a topic that you feel would fit better in another section. It happens. Posting in the wrong section is NOT a violation of any forum rule, it is just an error. Sometimes people make mistakes, forget which section they are in, get excited about a topic, or just don't fully comprehend the nuances of our finely-tuned forum organization. Move the thread. Then reply, explaining that you moved it because you felt that their question would get a better/fuller response in the new section. Do NOT tell them that they were wrong to have posted in the original section, or that they have a responsibility to fully understand the parameters of each section before taking the liberty of asking a question.
Editing Thread Titles
The level of response that at posting gets is influenced by the quality of the thread title. If a member posts a message with a non-descript title (like "A quick question"), or a misleading one--then change it to a better one.
Editing Message Content
Don't! If a message contains something that violates forum rules or otherwise needs to be removed from public view, move the message. Move it to the "Contact the Staff" section where only the originator of the message and the staff can read it. Then reply to the message, letting the originator know why it was moved.
Sometimes, in the course of a conversation, messages wander off-topic. It happens. Thread Drift is NOT a violation of any forum rule, discussions are organic, they branch in different directions. While it is important that the content of the threads match the title, the answer is NOT to wade in yell at people to stay on topic. Split the thread. Clip out the diverging discussion to create a new thread with a different title. That way we have two interesting (and appropriately-named) threads.
Dealing with members
Let No Post Go Unanswered
It is not your job to be "the Answer Man." This is a forum, not a help desk--the idea is that the membership answers each other's questions. However, sometimes a post will go unanswered (because it is in the wrong section; because it has a poor title; because it is a poorly-worded or too-vaguely-framed question). This makes people (particularly first-time poster) feel ignored and unwelcome. If a post has had no response in 24-or-so hours, reply to it. If it needs to be moved or have the title changed, do that and post a reply saying so. If the question is vague or poorly-framed, ask some clarifying questions. "Bumping" one's own thread is NOT a violation of any forum rule--it is a sign that we are not being responsive-enough.
"We've already discussed that" is NOT an acceptable answer
Even if we have answered the same question a million times, you have not answered *their* question. Discussing things is what a forum is all about. Feel free to refer the poster to existing threads (providing a link, of course), but preface the referral with "You might find these discussions useful..." or "Perhaps you didn't see these discussions..." NOT "Learn to use the damned search function..."
Praise Publicly, Criticize Privately
Feel free to post messages like "Interesting post!," "Good Answer," "That was very helpful," "Welcome to the forum." as often as you like. If it becomes necessary to correct (NOT criticize) a member, you need to do so where the general membership can't see it. Move offending messages to the "Contact the Staff" forum, and do so from there. Do NOT do so in private messages--as I and other staff members cannot know what is going on when you do. Additionally, if you disagree with a policy decision here, you are free to express that disagreement in the staff forum. I encourage you to do so--it helps form better policy. NEVER express that disagreement publicly on the forum.
Don't "Pile On"
Once a staff member begins a discussion with a member about their behavior, all other staff members should stay out of the discussion. When more than one staff member joins such a discussion, one of only two possible outcome will occur. Either the staff members will agree, and the member will feel "ganged up on," or the staff members will disagree, and fail to present a consistent message to the member. Neither of these outcomes is desirable. If you wish to contribute to such a discussion, start another thread in the staff forum. If an issue needs to be escalated, I will step in (but never without consulting with the original staff member first) and the original staff person will step out.
I've done something similar and made it as a pdf for them to download too.
Darnoldy, I just saw your own version of your handbook, good job!
p.s. "all things in moderation" Excellent! err...mind if I swipe that
You can't swipe what was put out to be taken. I would be honored for you to use it.
This is all very helpful - thank you for putting this information out here! I'm in the process of developing a mod guide and it is so nice to not start from square one in the writing of it!
thanks for all your suggestions! you've been a great help!
I too would like to thank people as I am trying to get my admins and mods some rules and a handbook so I will be copying some of this if that is ok?
The mini handbook is here for anyone to copy and use with as they wish.
Good luck with your site!
My site is an anxiety/panic site so we have to be careful how we handle people!
Interesting ideas. Very interesting indeed.
Now here's an interesting question. I've been lately looking at very good members as new members of our mod team. But this manual has been hosted internally only for mod team, because at the time I wrote it, I just wanted a handbook for our current mods.
I'm trying to see if I can use it as a tool to let potential moderators know what our mod expectations are before they accept or consider a position.
Should this handbook be posted externally for the community to see? Or left internally? I ask about the latter because I'm thinking that community members, if they know what the mod handbook is could become mischevious and point fingers saying x isn't doing this or that...
Know what I mean?
Or... should the handbook just be made an external resource so that mods know that expectations have been made public and in this way keeps them aware of their role?
I've been tossing this question around for about two months now, and some lovely insight would be quite helpful.