To Ban or not to Ban - Moderating online communities

Moderating online communities on social Media can be daunting, specially if you are just starting out and don't want to lose your limited followers. On the other hand if you are a new moderator to an existing community, the sheer numbers can be intimidating. Here are some tips to help you take over the reins of your community.

1) Did you hear that?

While it may be tempting to respond to all the trending conversations and keeping a tab on everything that has been said, take some time to read and analyse the conversations. The patterns in the conversations will tell you a lot about your community and their underlying attitudes. You will learn a great deal about the members and the community behaviour.

2) Why be Superman when you can have a team of Avengers?

While you may feel more comfortable moderating and having a grip over your own community, with time, your community is going to grow and you are going to need more hands. If you run independent communities, look for other active participants who can lend you a hand in moderation. These guys are going to steer the community with you. You want to do your research and observe their online behaviour before you choose your perfect moderation team. If you are moderating the community for a company and being a community manager is your full-time job,  ensure you have teammates who can have your back. 

3) Rules are meant to be spoken - out loud!

Depending on the type and the tone of the community you want, set your rules in place. Set what works and doesn't work for the community and ensure that all your members, especially those joining new are informed about it and these rules are accessible. Having a ready set of rules are easier to implement than spot moderation. If you have to take actions outside of your set rules, ensure that the community knows why.

4) ‘Undo’ is not an option

This one is especially for those running online communities for companies. Deleting negative comments and reviews will not help you. These comments are inevitable and deleting them just defeats the purpose of a community. Be quick in responding to these comments. Instead of being defensive, start a conversation and move the conversation offline. If you are able to resolve the  conflict, check if he agrees to express it on the community. There is nothing better than a positive review from a convert!

5) There is no alternative to the good old one on one chat  

There will be people who break rules. Instead of publicly addressing the issue, try having a one on one chat with the individual. Chances are they weren't aware of the rules or didn't realise the severity of their actions. They may conduct themselves better. 

6) So who are you?

Your community members know you based on your online persona. So do spend sometime on creating and maintaining your profile not just on the platform you manage but also other social media platforms. Remember the world is changing and social stalking is a real thing.

7) Stay tuned 

Keep a tab on everything that has been written, spoken or tweeted around topics related to your community, both online and offline. This way there will be less surprises when the community talks about it and these will also prove as good conversation stirrers on 'slow' days. 

What are your must have moderation features? Is there a feature you really want? We are listening. Write to us at or tweet @scrollbackio