As the popularity of online communities continues to grow, organizations that run these digital environments are continually looking for ways to better moderate the occurring conversations and activities.
One way to maintain control in an online community is through administrators, also known as moderators. These individuals play an essential role in your online community and provide the structure you need to have an inclusive environment.
Let’s dive in and see what role administrators play and how your online community can benefit from having them.
In short, an administrator is someone who helps to manage and provide support for an online community. Depending on the size of your digital community, you could have multiple administrators who have their own responsibilities.
Since administrators have complete control over all parts of the group, it’s important to define the responsibilities of your administrators. Here’s a look at some of the most common tasks for online administrators:
It’s important to note that the tasks above are just a small sample of the role administrators play in helping an online community be successful.
The basic purpose of an administrator is to ensure your online community functions smoothly. By helping to facilitate conversations amongst group members, it’s often the administrators who play the biggest role in the success of a digital community.
Having experienced administrators in your online community is crucial if you want to grow the group. Without administrators, it’s common for group members to become disengaged or lost when navigating the platform.
Another important role administrators play for your online community is the moderation of content and conversations.
While growing your community by increasing the number of group members is excellent, it can also have challenges. For instance, with more people participating in conversations, it’s more likely that someone will post a rude or offensive comment.
In these instances, it will be the administrator’s responsibility to moderate the content and determine what actions need to be taken, if any.
When it comes to moderating content, your administrators should be looking for the following types of content:
One way to help your administrators identify offensive or unnecessary content is by establishing rules and guidelines. This will make it easier to tell when a post should be flagged and reviewed.
Now that we have discussed an administrator’s role in an online community let’s look at a few ways they can benefit your group and help it grow.
Since most digital communities are open for anyone to join, it’s common to have people from different backgrounds participate in discussions. While it’s great to create an inclusive environment, it’s important to understand that different views and beliefs can lead to conflicts on posts and boards.
When these situations arise between group members, it’s the administrator’s job to help bring the conflict to a peaceful conclusion. It’s important for the administrator to remain unbiased during the process and adhere to the community guidelines. Making a decision based on emotions instead of the rules could lead to a loss of group members.
Administrators are also responsible for preventing conflicts before they become an issue. This means routinely reviewing content daily and ensuring all posts and discussions are in line with group guidelines.
Community guidelines are one of the most important components of a thriving online community. Without proper rules and structures, it can be challenging to steer conversations in a positive direction and opens the door for conflict or hateful content.
Since administrators work within the digital community daily, they’re often the best equipped to create the guidelines which the group members are to follow. It also makes it easier for administrators to moderate content when they have substantial knowledge of what type of posts and discussions are allowed.
If you and your administrators are struggling with creating or updating guidelines, try opening up dialogue with other group members. Your community might have ideas on how to make the platform better for everyone.
Open discussions are the lifeblood of online communities. People often join a digital group because they want to have conversations with others on topics they have in common, such as business, sports, or other hobbies.
Administrators have a unique opportunity to foster and create opportunities for members to engage with one another. It can be intimidating posting on an online community for many, especially new members. Having administrators or other community members welcome new members with a post is a great way to get everyone involved.
Here are a few other ways that you and your administrators can stimulate engagement within the community:
It’s often not enough to simply engage with your community members — you also need to have a strategy for attracting new members and retaining existing ones. The best place to start is by pulling together information on your current members.
Administrators can either send out messages to community members or create posts for the group to respond to. These messages should be targeted at finding out what your members currently like about the community and what they would like to see change.
Once you have the information, you can begin working on a plan to address the biggest issues and utilize the best things about your platform as a selling point for new members.
in and assign roles to other members.
Administrators also have powerful control over where discussions go. They can typically create new boards, and community spaces, and make community-wide announcements.