I recently joined an online community dedicated to a game I’ve been playing. After reading a bunch of threads and looking for any guidelines, I made my first post. It went up – and then it was gone, almost immediately. I waited a little while and received no message regarding the removal of my post.

At this point, some people might post the thread again, even though it was removed and, as such, might be a violation of our guidelines. They might complain in public, whether or not that is permitted. But I didn’t. I waited. For a couple of days. No message.

What Should I Do?

After checking to see what the appropriate course of action might be, I decided to send a private message to a moderator. The same course of action that I would like my members to utilize if they ever have any questions or feel as though their post was removed for no reason.

My presumption was that I had done something inappropriate and, as such, it was best to apologize and learn. Here is the message I sent:

Subject: Removed Post/Apology

Message: Hi [moderator’s username],

A couple of days ago, I made my first post, in the [specific name] forum, where I invited people to join the league I’m in. It was at this URL: [url]

Shortly thereafter, the post disappeared. If I did something wrong, I would like to apologize. I manage online communities myself, and would never purposefully violate the guidelines of another community. I have enjoyed reading [website name] over the last month and a half, since I started playing [name of game], and would hate to get off on the wrong foot. Again, I’m very sorry for any transgression.

I appreciate your time.



This is the message that most of us would like to receive, as community professionals. A patient, understanding request from a member who clearly cares about the community and wants to become a part of it.

The response I received was very kind, informing me that I didn’t need to apologize, that I had done nothing wrong. My post had just been caught in the spam filter by accident. He apologized to me, restored my post and encouraged me to bump it up.

We’re the Example

My point here isn’t that all community members at all communities should act like this. My point is that, as a community professional: you should. You should be the ideal member you want in your own community. For me, that means that you take a look around and check if there are any guidelines. If a post is removed, you assume good faith, apologize and seek to learn what occurred. If I want members provide that courtesy to me, I must be willing to provide that courtesy to other community moderators, managers and professionals.

I have seen cases where a community professional has failed to do this, and it’s always distasteful. It reflects poorly on them and on our industry. Thoughtfulness and professionalism starts with us, no one else.