How to Moderate an Online Community

An online community, whether a forum, chat room, or social networking site, needs moderators to police the forums and help people out. Being a moderator takes some work, but it's a fun and rewarding job, regardless of if you get paid. This article will teach you the basics of moderating a forum.


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    First, you'll actually need to be a moderator. If you aren't, try to find out if any of the sites you are a member on are hiring. If they are, check out the jobs. If not, search around, you may have to wait a while but a position is almost certain to open eventually. On some forums, a respectful member will be upgraded if they wish.
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    Next, make sure you're familiar with the software you will be using. If you want to practice, try to get the owner of your site to make a sandbox area for you to practice in. If they don't want to, set up your own copy of the software in use on the site, or try out one of the live demos usually available on the publishers website. If the software your site is using is custom, you're probably out of luck, but try asking the other staff members for some help, if necessary.
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    Be extra sure you're familiar with the rules of the community, and even if you think you know them by heart, read them through a few more times. It can't hurt.
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    Now, make sure you're involved in the community. Members like to know who the staff members are, and they like it even better if you're nice and do more than moderate.
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    Be sure and check in frequently on the areas you're responsible for. If you go to school, log in if you get the chance. If you have a job, check out the site on your break or lunch time.
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    Have fun! Yes, it seems cheesy, but it's true. Try to have fun on the job. As was stated previously, make sure to maintain a presence on the site. For example, if you work on a forum, post often, and post well. If you help out on a social network, keep your profile up to date (if you're comfortable doing so, of course). Moderators that are involved know more about the communities that they work in, which can help out a lot.


  • Some sites have special rules just for staff members. It's a good practice to keep up to date on these, to avoid breaking them.
  • Check in on the forum often. Moderators who don't pay attention to the site will probably be demoted.
  • Try to get a job moderating at a site that you're interested in. For example, if you're into punk rock, try to find a community that focuses on that. If you're good with PCs, try to get a job on a forum dedicated to Windows computers.


  • Directly asking the administrators will most likely not get you to be a moderator. Instead, don't ask at all and look for applications, check the news section and keep an eye on your PM box.

Article Info

Categories: Internet Forums and Message Boards