How would I find online community moderators
December 5, 2011 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Where/how do I find online experienced community moderators? And a few related questions.

I have a potential client project that is still squishy but the issue has surfaced before so seems worth asking: how and where would I go about finding experienced online community moderators?

The community in question would be a patient support forum. It's still just in the wishlist phase as part of an overall social media/community strategy, but the organization is looking to me for ideas. I feel OK about making recommendations on the blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn front - and OK about finding resources for those. But I am not too well versed on message boards & live chats, beyond the fact that I've used them.

How do you go about finding people with experience in this area? And is topic expertise essential?

Any information, links, sources about the following would also be helpful:
*Community moderation pay scales, best practices
*Community tools. I am thinking about CoverItLive for scheduled chats, don't know if that is the best. Any thoughts on message board options would be welcome too.
posted by madamjujujive to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Forum moderators usually come from the community itself. Of course, when the community is just starting, moderation falls on the shoulders of the people starting the forum. Only they know exactly the atmosphere they want fostered in the forums. They mold the forum to their vision and, in time, they can hopefully draft moderators from the growing community.

Some expertise in the topic (or a sub category) is always helpful. I help moderate on a Mac users' forum, though I am absolutely not a fanboi of any sort. I was asked to mod in a sub-forum for graphic design, something I DO have experience in.

On our forums, moderators are volunteers. There are enough of us, though, that someone is usually online at any given time...which means we have mods from all over the globe.

The forum software we run is a heavily-hacked/modified flavor of vBulletin. Though, rumor is we will be migrating to something shiny and new soon.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:29 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would strongly disrecommend going with volunteer moderators until you have a professional community manager on board to manage them. There are a lot of ways that can go sour, and it helps a ton to set things up to head some of them off.

Topic expertise is not required, although it is helpful. You could totally contract with a third party to provide 24/7 moderation with people with no specific experience as long as you make clear your expectations up front regarding tone, language, allowable topics, etc.

vBulletin is still the gold standard for forum software, as far as I know. It's well-established and there are a ton of hacks for it so it's possible to customize it heavily.

Drop me a memail if you want a contact at an outsourcing company. I've got some friends in the business who are better able to talk numbers and scope.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:39 PM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

There's actually a recent Metatalk discussion that covers this pretty well.
posted by Slinga at 2:46 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could advertise on MeFi Jobs.
posted by theora55 at 2:55 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

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