This post is by Mike, an owner and operator of multiple message boards.
As someone that owns and operates forums, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years when it comes to forum moderators. So how do you find a message board moderator? Well, I don’t have an easy answer, but I do have some tips that will help. I will use my plastic surgery message board (PlasticSurgerySpot.com) as an example:
1. Paid Moderators Are The Worst Moderators
One of the things I learned early on (thankfully through other forum owner veterans) is that paid moderators rarely are the right choice for your message board? Why? Because sometimes they will have an ulterior motive. For example on my plastic surgery message board, if the moderator is being paid then their heart probably isn’t in the right place. Rather, I want a moderator who is doing it because he or she cares about plastic surgery patients and wants to help them learn more about rhinoplasty, tummy tucks, breast implants, or whatever procedure they may be getting.
2. Make Sure Your Moderator Is Unbiased
This is another red flag you need to pay attention to. For example, if I were to choose a moderator for my plastic surgery forum that was associated with some specific surgeon(s), then common sense would tell you that they might have ulterior motives (like using the message board to drive customers to their practice). So whatever niche your site may be, please make sure the best you can that the person doesn’t want to be a moderator for ulterior motives.
3. The Best Ones Come Naturally
Unfortunately, this is one of those positions that can really only be filled naturally. What I mean by that is that you just need to give it time and hopefully a forum regular will be an obvious natural fit. For example on PlasticSurgerySpot.com, I ended up lucking out with an unbiased member who participated daily on the forum, simply giving real unbiased advice. Eventually, I realized she would naturally be a perfect fit as a moderator. In addition, her background was a perfect with – she is a medical professional (psychiatrist) that is extremely knowledgeable about cosmetic surgery, but since she is not actually in the business of plastic surgery herself, she is giving unbiased advice.
4. Make Sure The Moderator Is Knowledgeable On The Topic(s)
Let’s take my otoplasty forum (that’s ear pinning surgery) section on PlasticSurgerySpot. The ideal moderator of that part of the forum would be someone that has probably had otoplasty surgery themselves and is quite knowledgeable about it. In fact, if they had “bad” otoplasty, that may be even better… why do I say that? Because then they already know the pitfalls and can help advise other message board members about them.