Moderation feels a bit like an outdated term created pre-social media, but it stuck. We’d like to re-frame your thinking in terms of guiding your community versus moderating it.
Guidance is an essential component to any thriving community because it creates structure and boundaries for the community.
Oftentimes, people think community guidance is about restriction, but in reality it allows your community to express itself in a healthy way.
All communities run into issues unless there are clear guidelines laid out for all members. It only takes a couple of toxic trolls to bring down an entire community of thousands of members.
As a community leader, it's important to find the balance between allowing freedom of speech and restricting what people can and can't say.
An Internet troll tends to want to see what they can get away with and push the boundaries to the brink. They’ll claim that they are not allowed to speak their mind, but I want to stress the importance this:
Freedom of speech has some limitations.
For instance, you can't just shout ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded room because you believe you have the right to freedom of speech (though some would argue you can, which is why guidance is imperative). There are certain rules that everyone needs to follow in order for an online community to function.
The first thing you'll want to do when guiding your community is... to create community guidelines.
These guidelines must be visible and easy to access. There, you can lay out all the nitty-gritty rules you want, but essentially it should boil down to this:
Treat people with respect when posting and remember that there’s a person behind the user name. It's important not to hide behind anonymity just because you can.
Being a part of the community means that all members must abide by these guidelines.
Now what happens if someone "breaks the rules” or ignores these guidelines? As your community’s leader how do you proceed?
You do so by creating actionable rules that can adversely affect a member’s standing in your community if they break them.
I know that sounds kind of threatening, but it's important to establish to your community that you're there for them and that your priority is to hear them out, but at the same time you must take action to keep the peace.
Invision Community has automatic moderation tools and a warning system section baked into the software. Below is a snapshot of Invision Community's administration panel where community leaders may set up custom automatic moderation rules:
Tap here for more specific information on how to implement community guidance/moderation to your community.
One important component to these rules is that you enforce them across-the-board to all members and do so consistently.
If you leave the door open for one member and not another, it's going to create an unwanted hierarchy and instigate chaos.
One of the best ways to be consistent is by walking the walk.
Show your community how you want them to post by posting and contributing that way yourself. What that does is it sets a visible precedent.
From there, you'll begin to notice other community members contributing in a way that is similar to you (lead by example).
This is a great opportunity to consider them to join a new moderators team. Whether they are paid moderators or are volunteering their time, you still want them to be mini leaders inside your community. It's important that you are a positive role model for them.
Watch the video up top, then drop us a line in the comments! And hey, while I've got you... check out what our own community has to say about moderation (aka community guidance 😉).
Remember, guiding your community starts from the top (a.k.a. you!). Now get out there and moder-... guide!
Stay tuned for more Invision Community video content coming soon!