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Why a Moderation Plan Protects Your Brand and Your Community

The internet is an ecosystem made up of millions of websites and online communities used by billions of people around the world. Due to sheer volume alone, some form of digital moderation is absolutely critical. Factor in safety, usability, and security, and moderation becomes a strategic, time-consuming, and necessary process to maintain a healthy community. 

Why Moderation Matters

Internet moderation isn’t simply hiding or deleting inappropriate content. It combines a variety of specific techniques to create a space where users feel engaged, welcomed, safe, appreciated, and — hopefully — empowered. With so many online communities available, users need a reason to interact with one specific group or brand. They want to feel connected, pulled, and engaged — and that’s one area where moderation can play a huge role. 

Once the community exists and the fans are engaging with each other and with the organization, ongoing moderation is crucial to the community’s success. Toxic users, inappropriate comments, or unsafe behaviors need to be moderated in order to protect the organization and the community. On the flipside, moderation can also foster superusers and brand evangelists, the power of which can be harnessed by organizations. 

Crafting a Moderation Plan

A moderation plan isn’t something that can be created and used once. It’s the evolving, fluid execution of a variety of proactive and reactive tactics that, over time, result in a healthy, engaged community. In its simplest form, a successful moderation plan combines daily engagement, community building, safety and security measures, and social listening, all managed by one or a team of community managers and moderators. 

Crafting a moderation plan also requires strategic oversight from community experts and familiarity with the community itself. Here are some key things to consider:

  • Tools
  • Community activity
  • Moderation needs

Tools

The platforms you choose will dictate the community experience, but the admin and filter tools you select will impact the scalability, safety, and efficiency of management. From filters to CRMs to content moderation review tools, your team will need to be able to see what, where, and when activity is taking place. Additionally, site moderation auditing tools help managers oversee the quality of work being performed and will optimally showcase archived actions.

Community Activity

To understand a company’s moderation needs, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the community. How many DAU (Daily Active Users) visit the community, and how much content requiring review do they generate? How quickly does inappropriate content need to be removed, and how swiftly do issues need to be identified and resolved? How is communication with the community being handled in disciplinary matters as opposed to proactive engagement? To have a healthy community is to understand the disparate behaviors the community displays, the business’ service-level expectations, and the amount of content needing review or handling.

Moderation Needs

Preparing for actions and disciplinary measures, building community crisis plans, and having clear business expectations for a 24/7/365 program requires well-thought-out planning. Businesses need to determine how to handle serious issues like threats, private data leaks, or mob anger. They need to keep up with digital privacy laws and regulations — from COPPA and GDPR to data privacy and live-streaming laws — which are becoming more stringent with each year. It’s important to have a nimble, well-trained, curious, and highly vigilant team to help maintain the safety of the digital front line. 

These concepts (and many more) need to be considered and planned for as the base for a smart and effective moderation plan. 

Community Managers and Moderators

Any brand, organization, or company with an online presence through social media channels, forums, or discussion boards needs to prioritize community moderation. That’s where a community team comes in. Ideally, these folks are trained in the art of digital moderation and are able to digest incoming content, serve as leaders and listeners, and foster an open dialogue with users. Community managers may come from marketing teams, community development teams, or emerge from the community itself. Their job is to oversee the health of the community, track trends and report on successes, aid in developing the culture and activity, and drive the overall experience of the community (including the safety of participants and rules of the community).

Similarly, moderators are folks who may be vested in the community, but are focused on its engagement and safety. They do not take a personal approach to moderation but instead immerse themselves in the rules and expectations developed for the community. Regardless of their backgrounds, community teams are responsible for crafting and executing the moderation plan, and perhaps molding and altering it as the community ebbs and flows.  

Whether a community is managed by a team of moderators or a full-time community manager, one thing is certain: Moderation is key. It fosters an engaged fan base, protects the organization and its customers, and provides a direct line of communication between a brand and its community. If you ask us, that’s a winning combination.

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