Restricted Area
Creative Commons License photo credit: lungstruck

It can be highly beneficial to have a tier of staff below your main moderators. It allows these members to become acclimated to various aspects of being a member of staff without being thrown into the fire as a moderator. For communities that do this, like mine, all moderators are first members of this lower tier, which I’ll refer to as as guides.

They participate in staff discussions, welcome new members, report posts that they feel may violate our guidelines and participate in random things that come up for the staff. Traditionally, they do not have any “power” as far as the community software is concerned.

I was thinking about this the other day and I had a thought: why not let this tier move threads around the public forums? Not remove them from the public forums, not take on the role of a moderator in removing violations, documenting them and contacting members. But just move threads from one public forum to another.

Here’s why I think this will work well for most:

  • You can only do so much damage moving a thread from one public forum to another. It is unlikely that someone you invite to your staff will use the ability for bad and if they do, you can check their actions and reverse them.
  • The decision of where a particular thread goes is generally a very easy one to get right. It’s not as nuanced as deciding whether or not a comment is inflammatory. It’s an easy win for the guide level.
  • It takes some burden off of your moderators. The guides won’t report threads that need to be moved, they’ll take care of them. Less reports to read, less threads to move.
  • It’ll get your guides used to the moderator tools. Where they are, how they look, how they work.

I think it makes a lot of sense. If you haven’t done it, give it a try and let me know what you think.