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Best practice tips for community moderation

Published 29 April 2021 2 minute read

Online qual

Moderation is the key that unlocks the insights that a community has to offer. It demands careful planning, strategy, and good people skills.

In this guide, we’ve detailed 10 best practice tips to follow for successful community moderation.

1. Adopt the appropriate 'researcher' mindset from the outset 

Be open-minded, curious, respectful, non-judgemental, empathic,
democratic and, most importantly of all be authentic in all of your
communications with community members.

2. Create a bird's-eye view of the planned activity

The best community activity plans consist of topic topic areas for discussion.
They may not contain all the questions from the outset. This creates the
ability to flex future topics in light of the feedback and insights gathered
along the way.

3. Consider the community programme journey for your community members

Think about the tools at your disposal and don’t forget that you will have
the opportunity to sequence tasks i.e. deploy a private survey prior to a
social discussion. It is fairly typical to commence with easy questions and
tasks – for instance, onboarding and introduction based exercises followed
by a customer exploration phase. This in turn might occur prior to concept
assessment and the consideration of more abstract topics e.g. brand
personality. Sensitisation promotes deeper thinking and reflection. Use this
to your advantage and don’t forget to wrap up with closing thoughts or
feedback at the end!

4. Use a range of techniques to enhance different levels of expression

Plan what should remain private vs. community-led. Decide where it is
appropriate to develop activities that will achieve broad understanding
vs. detail. Evaluate the opportunity to use projective techniques if you are
looking to explore feelings and emotions.

5. Promote diversity and honesty of opinion 

From the very beginning, make sure it is understood that it is fine to have
different views and to disagree. Prompt and probe the ‘crowd pleasers’ to
get at their true feelings, and be sure to keep everybody on their toes by
maintaining a curious approach to questioning.

6. Think about the persona that you project as a moderator

The best moderators allow their persona to evolve throughout the course
of the community lifespan, switching roles as needed between leader,
teacher, coach, parent, friend, expert, and last, but not least, dunce!

7. Consider the feelings that members might have the questions they may ask

Always think about what community members can realistically know or
remember, and shape questions in easy-to-understand language that
avoids corporate speak, jargon and cliché.

8. There is no right or wrong - give permission for your members to disagree

Encourage outside-the-box thinking by pre-empting predictable feedback
and avoiding treading over the same old ground. Consider stating facts or
reflecting back on what you already know or have established in order to
push boundaries and gather fresh insight.

9. Establish common bonds from the start

Onboarding and introductions are essential for allowing members to gain
comfort and familiarity in the community, and to feel at ease about sharing
their personal opinions in the company of others. Although the process
can be time-consuming, it helps establish norms and expectations, while
promoting an individual sense of identity which can help you reduce the
prospect of ‘groupthink’.

10. Be mindful of things taking place outside of the community

Empathise with the people you are looking to target and consider the
everyday roles, responsibilities and challenges that they face, as well
as anything that might impact their mindshare, interest, and responses
e.g., time of day, events, holidays, etc. You can use this knowledge to your
advantage and to try and improve levels of engagement and commitment.

We hope you found our ten best practice tips for successful research
community moderation useful. Now all you need to do is ensure you
maximise engagement.

Yours to keep


Yours to keep


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