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Treat your members well

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A forum is established to serve a community of people who have an interest in a particular area, it is a place for people to exchange ideas, thoughts and comments and a place where people can discuss things which they find interesting or important.

As an admin or moderator of a community your primary responsibility is to facilitate the conversation, to moderate the conversation and to keep a watchful eye out. For the sake of this post I will be using admin or moderator interchangeably. As a moderator it is important that you always remember that the site you are moderating is only as good as the people that use it. The whole reason for you being a moderator is due to the demand on the site by the members.

I have all too often been to sites which are moderated by megalomaniacs, people who think that having the status of administrator or moderator immediately makes them better than everyone else. It is important to embed a friendly ethos within your site and to make it an open place where moderators are seen as people who are there not only to enforce rules but to facilitate the general conversation and to participate openly in the conversation. As a moderator your postings do carry extra weight, it is important that you set the example for which you want your community to adhere to.

A moderator or an administrator should always approach a member with an open mind. If you have set out rules which have not been followed then yes it is your responsibility to enforce these, but you must remember to do so in a positive manner. Approach your members in a friendly way. Remember to explain the reasons for you contacting them, if you must edit a post leave a polite reason. Never publicly humiliate a member of your community.

Every member, be it a regular user or a moderator is entitled to their opinions, a strong debate in the forums is a good thing, but there is a fine line between a strong debate and a heated argument. A moderator must recognise the difference. Whenever giving out any warnings, whenever moderating any member always be discrete. It is never a good idea to make an example of a member.

Remember to always be helpful, specifically when it comes to new members. A new member has joined your community for a reason and it is likely that they will make mistakes to begin with. Be patient with them; be there to guide them and to direct them. If a member posts in the wrong area, don’t grill them for it but move the topic and leave a link in the old forum. This allows the new member to discover the correct places to post. Leave a reply in the moved topic explaining, politely, why you moved it but ensure you come across as an open and friendly person.

I started with it and I will finish with it, remember that your members are the reason for your site’s existence. They are the forum’s most important asset and it is vital that you treat them that way.

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This is advice a lot of older forums could use. All too often moderators and administrators become jaded, tired, and apathetic. Answers become no, members are treated as if they're not welcome there or wanted, and rules get tighter on simple things.

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It is a shame when a mod takes advantage of his postion,,...I have seen it on some site's and even the admin.......sometime's even they need to sit back breath...and never post in anger.....just statin a fact

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I have to agree with the OP on this. When I created my site back in 2004, I created my site for anime and manga fans online and have always taken the OP's approach to dealing with my community. While there are times I have to use a heavy hand when dealing when spammers and trolls, but that I rarely have to step in because the majority of the members on my community respect one another and they receive that same respect in return.

In the past nine years that I have been running and managing my community, this is a common trait among all members on my site and I rarely have any problems. But, I have to admit that many administrators on some of the larger community websites seem to be become too jaded or become too "my rules are set in stone" and take a hardline approach when dealing with someone who violates a forum rule.

I rarely have some who violates the forum rules on my forums and when they do, they are usually given a verbal warning first and then we also take a "case-by-case" basis, depending on the forum rule being violated. Long as you respect your members and maintain control on your community in an "open-hand" kind of way, your members will respect your community and the administrator running that community.

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