Online Community Basic Glossary

Jul 23, 2014

So you’re ready to start your own online community and you just need some terminology to get started? No problem. Here’s the run-down on some basic lingo that will help you get up to speed in no time.


Sometimes the same as the moderator, the admin’s role is to run the “back-end” or technical aspects of the site, and to make, post and manage the rules of the community.


A forum is a set of discussions about a particular area of interest and includes multiple topics or threads.


This term refers to members of online communities who are very frequent visitors to a forum or thread and enjoy reading messages without participating in the discussions.


A member is a registered user of a community forum. Members are usually required to log-in and identify themselves when they post.


The moderator is the owner or an employee of the community who has access to all posts and threads of all members for the purpose of moderating discussions, granting privileges to members, and answering questions, as well as deleting inappropriate content.


This is a message, or single block of member-generated content, stamped with a date and time and the member’s identifying details.


These are rights given to various community members based on the community’s rules of engagement. A member, for example, may be allowed to comment but not moderate comments. A guest may be allowed to read posts but not comment.


A thread is single conversation comprising posts by various members.


Trolls are users or members who repeatedly break or test an established community’s rules of etiquette through distracting or inflammatory messages. Engaging or responding to such provocation is generally discouraged.


Users fall into different categories, or user groups, depending on their roles and privileges, and whether they are required to register and log-in to use a community site. Examples of user groups include members, guests, and administrators.


AKA guest, a visitor is an unregistered user of a forum.

Posted By
Carrie Ure