Moderation of Users

(Chris Detzel) #1

We have built a Global online Community (B to B) for our customers which allows electricians to talk shop with fellow electricians and engage with experts (internal employees).

We are working with each country to have their own community, in their language, within the community for their electrical customers. One particular country is looking to heavily moderate their users. For example, new customers would come into the community and the moderator would approve or decline new members, approve and decline new questions and approve or decline answers. I believe that this completely goes against what a community should be. Is there any data that talks about the moderation of users? Any guidance would be helpful!

(Travis King) #2

You’re right to be worried Chris. A highly moderated/high barrier of entry can kill a new community before it takes root. If the community was already well established then there’s a case to be made for stronger community control, but it sounds like the community is just starting out?

The only way I can really see such exclusivity working is if it provided great value in return. But that’s really hard to pull off if a user can’t get through the door to peak around first :slight_smile:

While this presentation is for the building of neighbourhood communities, the principles can be applied for online communities as well. And they encourage

The space has to be welcoming and accessible to everyone

One reason we switched our forums over to a platform like Discourse was that it allowed to community to be more involved in the moderation process. That may be a good option for you.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Do you know if that is standard practice in that particular country (i.e. is it a ‘cultural thing’) or is it indicative of something unhealthy within the management team?

(Chris Detzel) #4

It’s more of a cultural thing. My goal is to find data to help me prove my point.

(Stan Garfield) #5

Moderation to approve members makes sense, but not to approve posts. From What’s your community’s culture? :

A now-defunct, but formerly-vibrant community provides several examples of the impact of community culture.

  • It was fully moderated - all posts had to go through the community manager, who edited each one before it was posted.
  • There were some very knowledgeable and opinionated members, who were not shy about voicing their views in a spirited fashion.
  • When the community manager refused to post a member contribution, this led to the removal of another member, which in turn led to several respected members to leave. This spelled the eventual demise of the once-lively community.


  1. Be selective in admitting members, and then trust them to use common sense when they post. If they violate that trust, then intervene as necessary.
  2. If someone posts things that are not valued by the community members or which go against the community’s guidelines, contact them privately. If they persist, remove them from the community.
  3. Prefer knowledge sharing over suppressing posts.

(Chris Detzel) #6

Thanks Stan, this is helpful.