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  "Proposing to Moderate?"
One of my favorite sites offers community. We have a great group of people that visit, but from time to time we have people who take it upon themselves to create trouble. This would not be so bad if there were folks that managed the boards to help with the problems when they occur. What is the best way to convey this to the site owner?

First, we wish to commend you for your desire to contribute to the community you enjoy visiting. It can be very worthwhile for site owners and participants alike to have interested individuals such as yourself assisting to create and keep a positive community environment.

It is never easy when any community contains and is affected by individuals who are disruptive. It is not only frustrating and often hurtful, but it also detracts from the positive exchanges which the majority of members wish to see take place.

The first and most important thing you can do is not fall prey to the person or people who are trying to create the difficulties. Often these individuals are seeking attention and do not care if it is positive or negative. Any kind of attention validates them, so by ignoring them you are at least neutralizing them.

It is especially important if you wish to suggest yourself as a moderator that you show to the site owner and to other participants that you are capable of maintaining the control and balance which would be required. If you step in and get "wound up" by the individuals causing problems, then that will send a signal to the site owner that you are not able to exercise discretion and distance in dealing with problems.

So, above all, do not step into the midst of the problems and attempt to "win" individuals over by giving as good as you or others get. If you can, enlist others to do the same and exercise a positive form of collective "blindness" or resolve to the troublemakers.

When communicating with the site owner, there are some important things to bear in mind.

Don't get worked up over the problems on the site. Remain as calm as you can and do not employ a language of anger or bitterness, since those emotions will not indicate to the site owner that you have a balanced and reasonable perspective.

You should also do some research on moderation. Our recommendation would be to think about and then present your thoughts on the following:

1) Gather information as to the benefits of moderation and how it can help the site and site owner. (Feel free to check out our response to the question "Why Moderate?".)
2) Have the other members share their thoughts on having a moderation team in place. Would they welcome it? If so, why?
3) If it is a welcomed prospect by the other members, find out how many may wish to volunteer their time to moderating.
4) Find out what training is available for community moderation. (Should you need a list of community development companies that provide this type of training, please do not hesitate to let us know and we will gladly send you a list via e-mail.)

Once you have done your homework, and have a sound proposition developed, with the support of the other members, write to the site owner. In the e-mail, it is important that you share how much yourself and others enjoy the site and the community. Express that you are wishing to assist with some of the problems which have been identified and give clear rational examples of those. Then clearly state your concerns and the solutions that you wish to propose. Do not apply pressure to the site owner, but rather speak with the voice of a "stakeholder" who wishes to assist for the betterment of all concerned.

Please try and remember not to take it personally should the site owner not wish to have moderation at the current time. There could be many reasons for the decision. Be proud of yourself for caring enough to express your concern and desire to assist.

Again, we commend you for wishing to uphold the integrity of your favorite community. We hope our response has been of assistance, and should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to let us know.



- Jon Nix and Pam Thomas
http://communityanswers.com
http://cornerways.com
http://cwlive.com
 
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