Moderators play a key role in ensuring your community of users can be part of a valuable exchange of information and ideas and that your journalists and your media outlet are shielded from attacks on your comment pages.
The following elements should be kept in mind to ensure your moderators can carry out their work professionally:
- Moderators carry out editorial work: Their core responsibilities involve assessing the quality of content posted by users. As such, they are the official editors of your comment page. They need to have a very thorough understanding of journalistic standards and principles and be aware and prepared to accept your organization’s core values.
- Moderators have a say in the Community Guidelines: The Community Guidelines will be the first point of reference for moderators when deciding which comments fall within the boundaries of legitimate criticism and which ones represent an attack on a journalist and need to be removed. Moderators must have a very close familiarity with the Community Guidelines and fully understand and appreciate them. They should also remain attuned to
aspects of the Community Guidelines that may not prove ideal in practice and contribute to regular revisions of that document.
- Moderators should work in close contact with journalists: While the Community Guidelines provide a framework to assess problematic posts, in some cases moderators may want to consult with the journalists, not only to make the latter aware of the situation but also to jointly assess the most appropriate reaction.
- Moderators bear a significant psychological burden: In order to be able to prevent attacks against journalists from being disseminated through the comment sections, moderators need to go through large quantities of comments, including many that are highly aggressive and/or disturbing. This activity represents an immense psychological burden on moderators, who need a system of support to be able to cope. Make sure that your moderators receive appropriate training and have access to the same psychological support that you make available to your journalists.
- Moderators operate using the media outlet’s account: In order to protect your moderators, ensure that they exclusively use company accounts so that they cannot be identified. This requirement is important in order to limit attacks directed at moderators as a consequence of their interventions.