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How to be a good moderator

Angry teacher

I cannot, for the life of me, remember quite where, but somewhere, someone once said, “Hey, someone should write a blog article on being a good moderator.” No-one did, to my knowledge. And, yes, I know that I might not be the best moderator in the world (or on the website) but this is my opinion of what’s right and what’s not. Sort of. I’ll be using roman numerals, because they are the best numbering system.

i. Chances.

So, can you say, truthfully, that you’ve never looked at a pending member, and thought, hey, does this person really deserve to be in my game? Might be I myself haven’t but I’ll bet others have. Maybe they seem a little too young/old for your game, or their character isn’t quite as polished as it could be. Or – and this is my main point here – they have a bad track record.

It might be just me saying this. It might not even exist. But, still, do you really want to approve someone if you know for sure that all they’re going to do is troll your other members, go beyond the judgements of yourself and your fellow moderators, and basically do their best to trash the game for everybody involved?

Didn’t think so. But, at the same time, what if someone’s got a bumpy reputation? What if – and this is just a thought – they might’ve upset one moderator in, say, Spellbound, and yet they’re best mates with the creator of Vampires? Then, I think you should give them a chance. Might be you shouldn’t. But that’s just me.

ii. E-Mails.

Ah, the wonder of the e-mail. You can chat with friends, talk about holidays with family, have an electronic interview (yeah, not so sure about that one), send a query to a literary agent. And, above all else, you can introduce a new role-player to the wonder of Ongoing Worlds.

In my opinion, when you join a new game, it’s just plain courtesy to send a quick e-mail, or write a quick OOC post, just to give the new member a quick introduction to the rest of the group, or to give them a feel for the game. True, I’m not very good at doing this myself, but I know plenty of other people who aren’t, either.

iii. Fairness.

Back to my point on giving people chances. You should do it – it’s a nice thing to do, all-round just really nice. But only if they deserve it. Also, what if there’s a fight between members. Or, even worse, a fight between moderators? The entire game could go bust if that happened. So that’s why there’s this little thing called fairness.

Really, you can’t prove much with PBP games, as in who started what, who insulted who. Posts are deletable, as are comments, so there’s no true truth that can tell you what’s what. I have nothing more to say on this. Just be friends and be fair, that’s my OW PBP motto.

iv. Rules.

Ah, rule-breaking. One of the hardest banes of a moderator’s existence (or is it just me). Someone breaks a rule, everyone else finds out, you’re left to face the music and sort it all out. No fuss.

Uh-uh. How are you sure they broke the rule in the first place, anyhow? Unless it’s something plainly obvious, like, someone creating too many characters, or something being outside the allowable limit, or even someone using certain themes prohibited from that game, it near impossible to prove anything, as I said before. And even things as blatant as cursing and writing unacceptable smut are erasable with a click of a button.

I broke a rule once. Apparently. I won’t go very much into it, but some rules are taken as simple suggestions by the people who break/bend them, rather than stuck laws that cannot be disgraced as they have been. That’s exactly what happened with me. Guidelines or laws, some people can’t tell the difference. So look back up at the Chances heading, and read that again if you don’t get what I mean.

v. Awards.

Awards. Nice things. In real life, they’re usually made of metal or plastic, and are really shiny when you look at them from a certain angle while they sit on a shelf. On OW, they’re little icons that tell a moderator (or just a normal player) that this particular person has done something worth a reward. In this case, the reward is a little yellow trophy that tells you you’re ‘Writer of the Section,’ or whatever it might say.

So why did I write about this? Well, I’ve seen more than a few people who simply dish out awards like cupcakes to new members, or their role-playing best friends. I put my hands up, I’m guilty of just the same. For each new member in ATYFIG, I give them a trophy to say thanks. It’s my thing. In ‘The Life At Hogwarts,’ a game I just joined, I have been given an award for being a member. Some other games give awards for people who create ten different characters, or write five consecutive posts without room for breathing space (me, again).

This is not right. In my opinion, it’s fine to give someone an award for taking the time to create a character which is worth-while and soundly described in his/her profile. It’s even fine to give someone an award for doing this ten times, perhaps, at a push. But only at a push, only then.

I really hope you found this helpful. If anything here is wrong, please feel free to say.

EmbrysticalThis article was written by Embrystical; moderator of the game A Thousand Years Fatherless In Griffinfall