Over the many years that I have managed online communities, I have had a lot of moderators. But, even with the wide variety of people on my staff, I have had the support of my moderators with pretty much every decision I have made. Of course, there are rare exceptions, but they are so rare that it’s hard to recall specific examples.

Most decisions are fairly simple. This person is a spammer, ban them. But then there are more challenging ones, with veteran members. No matter what, though, my staff tends to be supportive of the moves that I make, especially when it comes to banning people.

This is not something I take for granted. It is something I deeply appreciate and work hard to earn and justify.

I believe that the single biggest reason I have earned their support is that, when it comes to issues with members, I don’t spare them the details. I don’t expect them to give me the benefit of the doubt. I don’t want them to assume I’m doing the right thing. I want them to know.

The only way for them to know is for them to be privy to all of the details.

That’s why, when I have a conversation with a member that isn’t in the public forums, that is in any way questionable or worth documenting, I share with them. And not just the questionable parts. Not just excerpts. Not my own summary of what was said. The whole thing. And not just what the member said, but what I said, as well. In full. They see it all.

My approach is similar with other situations. I try to provide all details and context of any situation that occurs. Not just my description of a situation, but the actual situation.

This makes it so that they do not have to simply take my word or have faith in me. Even though I’m sure they would in most cases. But that’s not good enough. I want them to see what I see. Once they do, they will understand my decision.

There are situations that occur outside of public view. With those situations, if I was less open than I am, it might be difficult to support me. But when they see the whole story, it becomes clear why I did what I did.

That’s the best advice I can give to any community manager that wants to have the support of their moderators. Never expect them to simply accept the decisions that you make, without hearing the justification. Eventually, that will break down because there will be an issue with a member that they liked or thought was OK. When that happens, they’ll be conflicted.

Instead, share the full story with them. It is then, and only then, when you will have a team of moderators that is truly supportive of your decisions.