Your Moderation Tactics

I’ve noticed recently there has been a bit of a split down the middle of thoughts on Moderation of Communities. On one side you’ve got people who like to have a laissez-faire approach, the other is very tight and rigid rules and guidelines.

I’m not here to tell you what is right or what is wrong for your community. I will however, express my opinion on both sides and how I feel about moderation, moderators and guidelines in online communities.

Obviously, both sides have their strongpoints and basis for argument and reason. The less strict communities believe that members should not be censored from saying most of what they’d like to say within reason, while the more strict communities believe that with a very extensive set of guidelines the users will get what they’re in their community for easier and in a much more presentable way.

Which side of the fence am I on? Well, I’m in the middle of course. Noticing both sides positives and negatives it’s very hard for me to choose one so I have a moderate (how Ironic) moderation technique. I believe that the need for guidelines is very important and without them, a site can just be a drastic disaster but having too many could also make members timid and second guess everything they post. This can make them feel awkward and become less involved or flat out leave your site.

My Positives and Negatives of Moderation:

Strict Positives:

  • Ability to funnel discussion into specific niche areas
  • Not many gray areas for moderators to make mistakes
  • More targeted content in most cases

Strict Negatives:

  • Users may feel lack of freedom
  • Users may think the site has a lack of personality
  • Timidness when attempting to post content

Lax Positives:

  • More personable staff and community
  • Users are more likely to “open up”
  • More attractive to new members than a book of guidelines

Lax Negatives:

  • Community can become off-topic
  • harder for staff to determine infractions and fairness
  • loss of etiquette/more user disagreements