Compensating Moderators?

Discussion in 'Community Organization' started by pjk, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. pjk

    pjk Aspirant

    How do you guys handle moderators and compensation? I feel some of the mods have been around for awhile and I feel hesitant to monetize the site if I'm not compensating them somehow, since they keep the site afloat. How do you guys typically deal with this?

    By the way, I'm interested in networking/skyping with other forum owners who runs boards with 500k+ posts. Would be interested in sharing ideas/tips and connecting. Shoot me a PM if interested.

    Thanks guys.
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  2. ozzy47

    ozzy47 Tazmanian Veteran

    You could also do that on this site, since that is the purpose of it. :p
  3. pjk

    pjk Aspirant

    Haha, you're right, I guess I was referring to chatting on skype more.
  4. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Gifts here and then. Videogames mostly.

    There's also openings for higher opportunities like writing articles and otherwise shifting activities to content creation and joining an editorial team in generation. Originally unpaid, but consistent activity after qualification would open up paid positions (pretty much a symbolic stipend, mostly to keep them around and active, looking to improve their psotion further).
  5. pjk

    pjk Aspirant

    So do you ask for all their addresses via PM and tell them you want to send them something or what's the best way of going about that?
  6. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    If they use Steam (PC marketplace for games), you only need to email giftable copies to them. They can redeem them to any account they control.
    There's a lot of opportunities to acquire games dupercheap on Steam (like through Humble Bundle), and stock them up while they're at their cheapest (up to -75% in general), for later gifting.

    It's also a way to prop up gaming-centric communities, by ensuring that folks lacking the multiplayer-enabled games the rest own can also partake in fun times too and form/strengthen bonds outside the sites.
  7. pjk

    pjk Aspirant

    Our community isn't about games at all. Any other ideas? I suppose the best way would be to contact each moderator asking for their address and then send them a gift that way.
  8. LukeH

    LukeH Enthusiast

    I think it would depend on how well I know the individual. I would imagine if they had been a member for that long that I would be comfortable with them knowing my address and they'd be comfortable me know theirs. If not, then I'm sure there are ways to do it with an intermediary, I get a lot of stuff sent to my mum's work as there's always someone in to receive it - so you could use something like that.

    Down to the gifts, it would need to be something relevant to the forum or just find out their favorite tipple and send them a bottle. I would prefer gifts over cash as if you do it multiple times, they may start to expect it and be upset if it stops.

    When it comes to monetizing the forum - you should always aim to cover bills, not many people (but there are some), run forums to make a full-time profit, so be honest with the staff and come up with ideas of what to do with the extra cash - hold a competition of some sort with prizes, splash out on a custom style if you haven't already.
  9. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    What's your site about? There's still the course of 'free freebies', but general suggestions will not trump niche-relevant picks.

    A popular example back in the days was offering webspace on your site's or spare servers, for staff's personal use or in relation to your own projects. It keeps premium users locked into your ecosystem, albeit it can reduce their availability on the main site. It's not so interesting anymore now that hosting has become very cheap and online payments mainstream.

    Not everyone may be into games, but you can bet it's extremely likely your users own and use smartphones and/or tablets (only difference is wether they subscribe to Android or iOS). You could always give away popular paid apps to them which you either believe would be well appreciated in their use, or better yet apps you can secure deals for (like at a big discount for bulk purchases). With how cheap mobile apps are, a single expense of 15$ for each moderator could go a long way already, especially as the giveaways could be used to sell visibility to developpers (so it may be possible to even profit from giveaways this way, not just shelf all costs).

    Couple useful non-gaming suggestions:
    - Paid mobile apps: Moonreader+ (ebook reader), Minecraft, Flightradar24, fun camera apps like Camera360...
    - Udemy subscriptions (e-learning course about tons of subjects. Lots are regularly available at huge discounts - up to 90%). I'm increasingly appreciating this option, as its highly useful for folks after self-improvement opportunities who cannot dedicate scholar years to that pursuit.
    - cheap fitness tracker like Xiaomi's MiBand (about 20$). Even if they don't care about it, it'd still make a good (re)gift.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  10. LukeH

    LukeH Enthusiast

    I can vouch for Udemy - I'm currently taking one of the courses (The Complete Web Developers Course) in order to try and learn PHP/MySQL to play with forums more.

    Also, thanks LeadCrow as that is definitely something I would compensate staff with.... they have frequent offers where courses are only £7-£10... so doesn't break the bank either.
  11. darnoldy

    darnoldy Curmudgeon

    I absolutely applaud this attitude.

    The first forum owner that i worked for distributed about 2/3 of his net revenues to forum staff in various ways.

    If you are just starting to monetize, you probably won't have a lot of money to distribute at first. Small gifts—remember their birthdays and something at Christmas—do wonders. A starbucks gift card, branded merchandise, something thoughtful. If your forum staff is regional, or if there is a big industry event that they are likely to attend, hosting a dinner is good—pick a decent restaurant—this also has the added benefit of allowing the staff to bond in person.

    As you make more revenue, for senior staff, at least, a monthly profit-sharing check is a wonderful thing.

    As for how to send it to them—I would not have a staff member that I did not trust with my real name, address and phone number; and who would not trust me with theirs. I have always had a staff contact list available to my staff.
  12. Reverie

    Reverie Aspirant

    Since we've been only around for a year and a half I haven't really quite rewarded my staff. Though for the members who have done a lot, I tend to make some great topics saying a big thank you to them and usually make a big deal out of their birthdays.

    I feel like maybe this upcoming year I might give presents for Christmas. Gifts I know that are given out are like Amazon Gift Cards, iTunes Gift Cards, PSN or Xbox Gift Cards, or like someone else mentioned there are Steam ones as well. Just get to know your staff and see what they generally like :D
  13. gog1970

    gog1970 Enthusiast

    I sent all Mods this year a christmas present and will be sending them something on the forums birthday
  14. gilmoreren

    gilmoreren Aspirant

    My forum has volunteer moderators and welcomers - it's support community for a charity so they all have a personal connection to the cause.Thinking about why people participate and what they gain out of participation is helpful, appreciation is as valuable as a gift. That said, we do pay for meet ups/meals and also send Christmas cards. I like the idea of finding a gift that is relevant for the person, knowing something of their interests.
  15. Bull

    Bull Aspirant

    Generally, staff members volunteer because they want to support your forum and enjoy working with the community they put so much time into building.

    In the past, I've gifted my staff members on the holidays and randomly with gift cards!
  16. vikvaliant

    vikvaliant Aspirant

    After having regular moderators for a while I started giving them gift cards every Christmas. And I'll ocassionally thank them in the moderator's forum.
  17. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Moderator

    I do wonder how a change from volunteer to getting a small pay would transform the motivation of moderators. As a volunteer one contributes their effort freely and invests is something worthwhile. As an employee it may feel as a slave labor for pennies and dimes.
  18. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Volunteers often feel underappreciated after moderate tenures. Giving them tokens of appreciations ensures their morale and satisfaction for serving does not decrease further, and ideally improves.

    Webmasters face impending trouble when volunteers start questioning why they dedicate their free time to a party that's the exclusive beneficary. Staff may be technically easy to replace, but disgruntled community leaders actively rejecting you when they leave or are removed from staff can sow discord in your forums. It can lead to serious problems since through their daily activity they're typically closer to members and powerusers than the main webmaster and better respected.
  19. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    Yup, I like to send mine things like gift cards at Christmas, free swag, stuff like that. Paying them would start a whole employee/employer thing and the legalities can become a problem as well. Taxes, etc.
  20. Mesca

    Mesca Aspirant

    You can organise a big event and send them invitations, a seminar.
    And you could get useful information, because they will give you feedback, they will not have online.

    BTW, moderators are happy to be part of your website. So ask their advices for any important change on your website and they will feel great.
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