Guidelines For Online Community Moderators

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UPDATED May 24, 2022
Written By Merlene Leano

Online communities are rapidly growing with each passing day. Its growth has resulted in individuals worldwide becoming members of the community of their choice. However, as the community grows, someone must be willing to step in and guide the conversation when it veers off track.

That is where community moderators come in.

As communities keep emerging, so do the number of users on these digital platforms. As such, managing an expanding online community becomes challenging. While it may appear simple to others, it requires careful thought, a broader perspective, and patience. Communities of all sizes, large and small, must be familiar with the comprehensive community moderation guidelines.

Without moderation, individuals can say anything, resulting in hurt feelings and disputes between users and negative publicity for businesses. However, when done correctly, moderators act as traffic cops, ensuring that everyone stays on track.

A skilled moderator understands how to balance maintaining order among community members and ensuring they staying on topic during discussions. They help ensure that discussions continue. Your members will feel seen, and you will give them the freedom to express themselves. You do not want havoc, but you also do not want to stifle debates before they begin.

This article will help you understand the core role of an online community moderator, why community moderation is so important. You will also gain tips on how to moderate an online community. Let's dive into our complete guidelines for online community moderators.

Community Moderator: Who Is It?

Community moderators play a significant role in developing and implementing the specific moderation guidelines for community forums. They carefully read threads and discussions to ensure they adhere to your community's standards.

A community moderator's responsibilities include the following:

  • Encouraging lively and positive interaction among members.
  • Maintaining peaceful and on-topic discussions.
  • Preventing inappropriate content and user activity from hijacking an otherwise respectful online community.

When community or forum moderator guidelines are violated, there should be corresponding repercussions to keep other users from committing the same mistake. This could range from the deletion of posts to the banning of members. There must also be consistency in how these guidelines are enforced.

Also, moderators may have the ability to restrict who is allowed to join a community. The provisions for admitting or restricting a member from joining the community should be specified clearly within the guidelines.

Why Is Community and Forum Moderation Important?

Community and forum moderators are essential to thriving in the digital world.

These moderators ensure that barriers that hold members from joining discussions are removed while also ensuring that members remain cordial and respectful in their contributions.

When communities are well-moderated, they improve and develop. The process improves the quality of community conversations.

Increasing the population of a community increases the probability of conflict. Individuals from diverse backgrounds contribute to the community, and as a result, their perspectives and feelings on certain issues may differ. That is why it is critical to monitor how members interact. Moderators ensure that a community is friendly and that members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

Additionally, it is necessary to have community moderation rules that moderators adhere to filter the type of content posted on the community, flag irrelevant and rude comments, remove spam content, effectively deal with trolls, and establish appropriate rules and regulations for discussions.

How to Moderate Your Online Community

Community or forum moderator rules are critical in community management. Observing how members interact helps ensure that a community feels welcomed and that each member feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

The most effective way to ensure that members interact in a respectful and constructive manner is to establish fundamental community guidelines. There are specific guidelines for online group moderation to learn how to moderate online. Also, with the help of community and forum moderation services, you can ensure that only authentic members are engaging with your community.

Here are the seven ways to moderate an online community:

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1 .Create and enforce a community policy.

Rules must be applied uniformly to all participants to ensure fairness. One way to ensure consistency is to write clear steps on how different violations and user posts are addressed and handled so that new moderators have an idea when and when not to intervene.

For instance, if someone makes an inappropriate post, a moderator will remove it and explain why it was deleted. If an argument occurs between two community members, or if one person refuses to follow the established rules, then a moderator may intervene and mediate until both parties agree. Or, if you only allow diplomatic discussions within the platform, anyone who posts anything inappropriate or foul-mouthed may be banned.

Examples of general guidelines for online communities include:

  • Respect for our community's members, including their opinions and beliefs;
  • Maintain constructive conversations for the benefit of all parties;
  • Be courteous to one another;
  • There is no spamming, no personal information about another person being posted on the site without their permission, and so forth.

Certain businesses, such as the Girl Gamers' Alliance, set an excellent example of an effective community policy. Their rule is apparent and concise; it communicates what new members can expect when using the site. It maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of hostility whether it is directed toward another member of the community. All posts should be constructive rather than trolling and should encourage civil discourse among forum members.

2. Establish a team for community moderation.

Keeping an eye on user-generated content is not a one-man job. A dedicated team whose sole responsibility is community moderation enables you to reap the benefits, especially if you have a growing number of members.

Typically, communities are active 24 hours a day, and online discussions can quickly spiral out of control. It would be best to divide the work schedule of moderators throughout the day. Activate notifications for when members post new content to the community so that content checkers are always in the loop.

Some businesses hire a third-party moderator, while others look for community members who are active and frequent participants. Some create a community job posting in order to recruit additional people to strengthen the platform’s existing content police.

If your community is already flourishing, try promoting existing members to moderator positions. By increasing the number of community moderators, you can keep a closer eye on each participant’s activity.

Is your budget limited that you cannot accommodate hiring full-time? Your customer support and social media marketing staff could alternatively assist in boosting your content moderation service.

3. Members should be treated with respect.

It is essential to remain neutral. It does not matter whether your content checking team agrees or disagrees with a community member. A violation is a violation. All group members should have the same opportunity to share and contribute to a discussion that piques their interest without feeling devalued. Address every user and issue with respect and professionalism. Remain calm at all times, whether it be directing the group member's attention to the community guidelines or politely requesting that they edit their post.

4. Establish the tone and allow well-behaved members to set the example.

As a community manager, you are a walking and talking embodiment of the rules you are enforcing. In that manner, members can turn to you for advice whenever they are unsure about initiating a conversation, joining a discussion, or reporting a post.

A dependable online forum moderator cultivates a community that eventually moderates itself, allowing community members to feel a sense of pride in their work.

Allow the comment to sit for a few minutes or hours before intervening— provided it is not overly inflammatory. In some instances, your community can initiate the content checking process either by flagging inappropriate posts or directly responding with the troll. If no one takes action, that’s when you take action and serve as a role model for calling out the inappropriate behavior.

5. Keep an eye out for any potential cyberbullying, spamming, or other harmful behavior

Cyberbullying is a significant issue that several online communities face. This can be accomplished by sending someone hurtful or threatening messages, as well as leaving inappropriate comments on their social media account. Therefore, if this occurs in your community, it is critical that you delete the offending post(s) and prevent the user from accessing your group further.

Apart from instilling a sense of belonging in members, an active moderation team protects groups from malicious users. When dealing with trolls, the best strategy is to avoid feeding them attention.

The best policy is that something can remain in a discussion only if no other moderators or members object to its content. If another member reports someone for abuse, issue a warning immediately and if they continue to violate other members, block the reported user account and delete their offending posts.

When individuals are aware that they are about to be apprehended, they will abstain from committing violations. Monitor posts with offensive content, and if you notice a pattern of similar behavior from that user, it's time to intervene.

It is absolutely essential to respond promptly to members who inquire about their safety or security in your group.

6. Make the rules accessible and easy to find within the group.

Once you've created your code of conduct, it must be accessible to all members. Otherwise, how can you implement rules and restrictions that members have not seen or have a hard time finding?

Restrict further access to other forums for new members unless they go through the guidelines first. To do this, your community application form should be structured in such a way that it directs new sign-ups to a page containing your community's guidelines and asks them to indicate their agreement with the rules.

Another option is to send an automated welcome email to new members, including community guidelines.

Make it easy for current members to access your rules. Create a post within your ‘About’ section to ensure that anyone in your community has access to the rules at all times.

7. Encourage community members to exercise self-moderation.

Sifting through posts to identify and remove spam, typos, and minor infractions tend to be time-consuming. While increasing the number of moderators can address this issue, an even better solution would be to enable peer-to-peer moderation.

It empowers other group members who want to have a say in how their groups operate while also relieving overworked staff. This step is an excellent way to teach people how to moderate.

Additionally, you can incorporate gamification elements into your community by awarding badges to members who moderate other members and allowing them to display their badges on their profiles.


Maintaining your online community's safety and credibility is an enormous responsibility, especially if your community has thousands of members. That is why the role of community moderators is critical today. Given their sensitive job, community moderator guidelines are indeed a big help for them to do their work more efficiently. Remember that moderation helps online forums grow in value while keeping things safe and secure for your users.

While we're at it, our company would like to offer our services.

Chekkee operates globally and specializes in human and AI-powered community moderation services. We keep comments, reviews, images, blogs, and other types of UGC in check. We are also well-versed in select industries, which enables our team to effectively handle varying levels of disputes and violations across platforms and communities.

As a result, Chekkee helps empower online groups and communities.

Grow your community by working with us to implement moderation solutions to create a safe, trusted environment for users.

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