The Internet forum or message board has become a popular channel for contributors–also known as members—to express or share ideas and sentiments. There are countless topics and subtopics in online forums, and these also serve a wide variety of objectives. In some cases, the forum conversations, called “threads”, may become hostile, dangerous or even lewd. Hence, there is a need for forum moderation.
A forum moderator implements forum moderation. Forum moderation involves many tasks. It all depends on what the website forum is for.
Forum moderation requires reading through all the posts in the forum. Careful reading is done to ensure the posts follow guidelines or that the post does not include incendiary, harmful content that attacks or poses danger to other members, the company (in case the website is sponsored by a company) or institutions. This is forum moderation as a parent or guardian of sorts.
In monitoring members’ exchanges, a forum moderator may see the need to block members’ IP addresses, or can intervene in the discussion as a neutral member. Depending on the forum, forum moderation of rules and standards may be very lightly or more stringently applied. Sometimes, the forum moderator becomes very familiar with the members as to be able to give them more leeway in their posts. For example, for a technology forum, light forum moderation may be sufficient, and wayward posts that are off-topic are easy enough to delete.
For most threads, forum moderation ensures that exchanges containing copyrighted, illegal, pornographic and other inappropriate images or language are deleted or banned outright.
There are even mechanical and organizational aspects to forum moderation. Hence, forum moderators may move discussions or some posts to more appropriate areas of the forum; may merge threads if there are similar ones; may split threads; may close, delete or lock threads if these are no longer being updated and if people are no longer interested in the topics; may edit posts for content or clarity; and may keep the forum clean of spam and spambots.
Some forum moderators also serve as forum administrators. Administrators manage the more technical aspects of running the website forum, such as creating sections and subsections, performing data backup and other management functions.