To Queue or Not to Queue? Moderating for High Quality Forum Content
An online community moderation queue is a list of topics and posts that need to be approved by an administrator or moderator before they are displayed to the other community members. It’s an important function of any online community platform and one with which new community managers will want to become familiar.
There are three levels of moderation, depending on the size and activity level of the community. As community manager you can choose to retain complete control over monitoring activity in your forums. This works for small communities and communities that employ a professional full time CM.
In very larger or very active communities, a second option is for the CM to elect moderators whose sole function is to scan the moderation queue or postings and topics and remove or reject anything that doesn't meet the community standards.
A third option is to allow your community members themselves to flag questionable or inappropriate postings.
Consider which of the above options makes the most sense for your community and then adjust the settings accordingly. This is easy to do in many online forum platforms. In Forumbee, click on the gear icon at the top of your home page, choose “Settings,” then “Moderation.” You can then click the box to “Approve topics” and/or “Approve replies,” if you want to have control of postings before they are published. (If you leave the boxes unchecked you will not be using the moderation queue function at all.) To moderate topics and streams manually, click on the gear icon at the top right of any post, where you can edit, pin, close replies, move or remove that topic or stream. (For more instructions on Forumbee's Moderation Queue click here.)
If you are unsure whether you want to automatically queue every posting or leave manual moderation to the watchful eyes of a CM or moderators, take into account the following best practices of successful online community moderators:
- Be familiar with the rules of your community, as well as best practices and legal requirements for your group or industry.
- Make yourself well known in the community by checking-in, posting and commenting frequently, and starting new topic threads.
- Control content by editing or removing postings, closing discussions, removing duplicates, and removing spam and inappropriate or offensive postings.
- Be familiar with your platform’s filter and search functions in order to efficiently monitor the stream of activity, and spot posts that require attention. Filter and sort by newest, most likes, views, follows, replies or those postings or threads not getting any action at all. Search topics and users, and narrow your searches by specific type of posting such as question, feedback, discussion, etc.
- Highlight announcements, important or timely topics and comments, and other popular content by pinning them to the top of the forum or thread.
- Choose to receive notifications for different types of events such as new topics, flagged topics, and new members joining,
- Engage members to monitor the quality or relevance of content by allowing them to flag postings for review by the CM or by giving chosen members the keys to the moderation queue.
- Use the mobile moderation function of your online community platform in order to stay involved with your community 24/7.