monitoring a forum

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BWFrancie Posts : 70 Registered: 11/11/09
monitoring a forum
Posted: May 1, 2010 5:56 PM

I will be monitoring a bridal forum as administrator and I am just hoping some of my wise friends can offer me some advice/suggestions prior to my endeavor. What is the role you think a good monitor should play in forum discussions? Should she participate or just monitor? Since I am coming from a professional viewpoint, I would like to be part of the discussions if it is appropriate. Also, when do you think a monitor should intervene in a discussion? I would love some thoughts from my wise friends. Thanks!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: monitoring a forum
Posted: May 1, 2010 6:30 PM Go to message in response to: BWFrancie

dear Francie,

Forums vary a lot, and it's best to do what the other moderators are doing. I am a moderator on a legal/financial site.

Here's what I do.

First, I delete ads right away. No one likes coming to a message board and finding something that looks like Craigslist. If they want Craigslist, they'll go to Craigslist. We get TONS of "work at home", "chain letter" and "get rich quick" type spam.

Second, I answer messages where I have the specific info the person wants.

Third, in consultation with the other mods, I lock people out if necessary. Usually it's for posting ads, but people get locked out for foul language, even "thinly disguised" foul language. Message writers think that message boards are screened by computer automatic dirty words detectors, so writing "f***" will get past the machine screeners. Sorry, but real people are moderators and real people delete or edit messages with even disguised foul language.

Finally, I avoid "seeders". I actually hate seeders. These are threads started by moderators in order to stimulate a discussion. What often happens is that the seeder writer actually has no interest in the subject, but is just trying to stimulate discussion and build board traffic. So, they think that a giant thread will result from their seeder and they can just walk away. I find that really annoying, so I avoid it. On "my" board, we have one notorious "seeder starter". I just avoid message threads when I see that person is the initiator. My complaints to the board owner have fallen on deaf ears, so I just ignore them.

If I initiate a message thread, it's because I have a genuine interest in the subject and want others' opinions. I come back and participate.

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BWFrancie Posts : 70 Registered: 11/11/09
Re: monitoring a forum
Posted: May 2, 2010 5:10 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Thank you so much Aunt! I am a little nervous about it, especially since the message boards on this website failed once because there was no moderator. How often do you check the boards?

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: monitoring a forum
Posted: May 2, 2010 5:16 PM Go to message in response to: BWFrancie

Dear Francie,

How often? As often as necessary.

On a busy board, that could mean a team of moderators each checking several times a day.

You want to be really proactive in removing the advertising spam. That is a real turn-off to board members.

If you are the only moderator, you need to check at least once or twice a day.

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hljanes Posts : 57 Registered: 12/31/09
Re: monitoring a forum
Posted: May 4, 2010 2:35 PM Go to message in response to: BWFrancie

Francie,

I was a moderator on a fan web site (Star Wars). We were a fairly small board membership wise but we had plenty of activity.

I think the best moderators participate in the discussion. That may be starting conversations (that you're interested in) when activity is lacking (but not just abandoning the thread after you make the first post), or when you find something relevant to talk about, or chiming in with your two cents when someone posts about something you can contribute to. Overall, post as you would if you were just a participant on the forum.

Definitely, as AOTB said, delete ads and delete/close spam/porn threads - God only knows how, but the pornbots found our teensy tiny board. Ban people who curse or violate the rules - and forums differ on rules regarding language. Some allow cursing, some allow partially starred curses. Don't be too heavy handed - often the forum participants will deal with troublemakers and trolls on their own, but some will get out of hand.

Check in when you can, as often as necessary for the activity level of the forum, and make sure to communicate with other moderators so you know when there will be plenty of people around and you know when someone needs to make the time to check in. Respond timely when people ask questions - I know, as a mod, people viewed us as resources first and foremost.

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