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I've been running/developing browser based games for several years now, and the one complaint I get over and over is that the mods are terrible. I even did a survey recently, and while my support ticket response time is only a couple of hours, the rating of customer service severely suffered, specifically due to the dislike of how the moderators handle things in the game (chat, forums, etc).

I'm wondering if this is just how it is with these type of things and that the people speaking out are just the trouble-makers (which I know this is obviously some of it). I really want my customer service to be known as high quality, but there's no way to get there without improving the moderation situation. I hear everything from mods being "tyrannical" to abusing power to not doing anything and playing favorites.

I have selected highly regarded players in the games that have been around a long time and volunteered to do the job. I've got rules outlined that the moderators are supposed to enforce. What else can be done to improve the situation?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is one of the toughest parts of running any kind of community that grows large enough to require ore then one person to run it. Based on experience I have moderating a large community (SitePoint.com forums) and participating at Q&A sites like StackOverflow you may find a tiered moderator system might suit you. Have new moderators start off with limited moderator abilities (reporting problems, etc) and then as they prove themselves grant them more moderating abilities. That way you can weed out bad moderators before they become a problem.

A good book to check out is Managing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe. There's a chapter dedicated to choosing and managing moderators. I'm sure it will contain good tips and advice.

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Thanks, I'll try that. I just bought the book as well. –  James Simpson Aug 25 '10 at 1:18
    
I read the book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start a forum. –  Christofian May 20 '11 at 0:42
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You want to do these things:

  1. Get logs of every action every mod makes. That way you can verify whether a mod isn't doing a good job.
  2. Less mods is better: that way it's easier to keep track of them.
  3. Have a hierarchy of moderators: that way it will be easier for moderators to learn how to moderate effectively.
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While you need to take it on a case-by-case basis, in general I'd say that if your moderators are abusing their status or are not enforcing the rules according to what you laid out, then give a warning. If that doesn't work, choose new moderators or temporarily relieve them of their powers. Just because someone is a moderator doesn't mean they can't troll or develop an egomania. While your moderators moderate your website, you need to make sure that the moderators are moderated as well.

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