Moderators sharing personal experiences


(Lacey Horta) #1

Hi Everyone,

Is anyone aware of any literature regarding the pros and cons of moderators sharing their personal experiences with the community they moderate.

For example: On a cancer community sharing their personal experience with a cancer diagnosis in the family.

I appreciate any links to literature and/or your thoughts on this topic…


(Piper_Wilson) #2

Hi Lacey,

I don’t have any research for you but I do have a thought. The only problem I can see with moderators sharing their own experiences would be if the focus on the members is lost because things become about the moderator.

That’s quick and dirty. Does it make sense to you?

Beyond that, I’m curious to know more about what’s prompting the question.


(Richard Millington) #3

Hey @lacey_ccs,

This is a really good question. Unfortunately I really don’t know of anything out there. This might be one better suited to clinical psychologists and similar professionals.

(Luis Villa) #4

I’d second Piper’s comment: important not to make the community about the moderator; but at the same time humanizing and linking the moderator to the community’s goals can (1) be a very good way to improve the moderator’s effectiveness, and (2) (if the community is very early) to seed the community’s own sharing, which is an important driver of community cohesion and success.

(No research here, just years and years of gut feeling.)

(Laleh moli) #5

sharing thoughts:

isn’t it something that happens in this community? (i.e. Feverbee),

I don’t see any problem! especially if the moderator has enough experiences :wink:

(Lacey Horta) #6

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I ask because we are having a lot of success with our Moderator (me) sharing about my family’s experience with cancer.

I definitely don’t make it all about me. But I have done a Meet the Moderator piece and shared about my Dad’s experience with cancer and will sometimes call on my experiences when someone is struggling with something similar. This has proven very effective for us. The community truly views me the Moderator as part of the community and not just staff. It gives me some “street credit” lol. They value that I know what it is like to be where they are. Similarly to the way that members appreciate Community Mentors, Ambassadors, Superusers (whatever you want to call them).

We were just curious what others have experienced. It’s an interesting discussion to have what is more valuable moderation experience vs personal experience with the topic. Moderation can be taught.

I apologize with my late reply. Bad community etiquette posting a question and disappearing!!

@lolmol you’re right that is exactly what happens here!

Thanks again for taking the time to share,


(Richard Millington) #7

I truly hope that’s not the impression I’ve given here!