Keeping message boards and groups clean of toxic comments or posts isn’t easy. A significant debate between moderators flows across the web regarding what should be banned and what shouldn’t. Fortunately, there are many great tech blogs out there that can help you understand these nuances. Finally, here are seven guidelines that you can follow that will help you moderate your message forums.
Understanding Acceptable Behavior
You will first need to understand what acceptable behavior is at first. Identifying positive conversation topics is crucial to know what to avoid accidentally penalizing the wrong people. Some common topics that you can find acceptable are:
- Talking about how their day went
- Something good that happened to them
- Generally positive posts
Creating a Plan When Content Becomes Toxic
You will need to make a plan of attack whenever someone begins posting unacceptable content on your website. Content removal, penalizing, and more are required to properly ensure that you take the right measures to keep your message boards clean of negative behavior.
There should always be a section of your website that talks about the rules of conversation in your message boards. This information is crucial in reminding people how to behave on your website.
Moderating After the Content Has Gone Out
Moderators who act preemptively can find themselves in a precarious position. The idea of a message board is to allow users to talk freely about their interests and their lives. However, taking proactive action against a user before they have even had a chance to say anything can cause community friction. Allow the conversation to flow first before acting against an individual who has posted something that breaks community guidelines.
Understanding Your Niche
Different interests call for various measures. Some message boards with niche interests require very little moderation. However, some message boards and groups focus upon emotional topics can get heated quickly. Political forums are an example where a moderator needs to be active often. Understand your community to prepare yourself for how much involvement you will need to provide.
Utilizing Automation and The Human Touch
It is impossible for a human moderator to get to all the comments that come into your message boards. That is why you will need to utilize automation to help you sift through the comments that are automatically breaking guidelines. Automation tools can help you ban individuals who say specific keywords in their posts.
Relying on The Community
Some moderators will not be able to understand all the nuances of a community. You will want to ask the community to flag specific slang that is meant to cause harm. This will allow your moderators to understand the culture better and take proactive action. This is called “community flagging,” and it has done wonders for dozens of groups of people online.