One of my main responsibilities as a Professional Internet (Editor’s Note: no it’s not a typo – it says that on Patrick’s business cards – long story) is to consult with clients about best practises and methods for running their community. These meetings are rarely with the moderators of the forum, but are normally with the project managers who are responsible for the oversight of the project. Needless to say, they aren’t in the trenches of the community themselves, but I can normally tell a lot about them from the way they speak about their moderators, and the tools that they use to manage them.
It’s not uncommon for a manager to want the specifics of how to remove as much power from moderators as they can. Specifically, they want to ensure that moderators can’t delete posts, edit content or ban users. They also want to use analytics to monitor exactly how much each moderator is doing, to ensure that they’re pulling their weight. The frequency of these requests raises three questions for me. Firstly; if a moderator can’t ban a user or edit content, what specific use does the manager expect to get from them? Secondly; if the people you’ve chosen as moderators are so untrustworthy that they can’t be trusted with this functionality, what made you choose them for the role? Thirdly; since moderation is invariably an unpaid position, why would a moderator want to volunteer to be on a team where they aren’t trusted?
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