Manny Hernandez knew he needed his first admin at around the 1,000th member. Visit TuDiabetes.
Let’s imagine for a second that your Ning Network is like a party. You’ve got your guests (members), party snacks and drinks (forum and blog posts) and lots of mingling happening (status updates). Unfortunately, at some parties uninvited guests show up, drinks get spilled and conversations get heated. When this happens, the host or hostess (you) needs to gracefully step in and resolve the issue.
As your Ning Network grows, the demands of moderating it can become too much for one person alone. Some start recruiting members to help out when they’ve reached 500 members. Desiree from Pinup Lifestyle uses one moderator per 1,000 members as a rule of thumb. Manny Hernandez also felt it was clear that he needed help when his network hit 1,000 members.
You have two main choices: You can appoint Administrators, which have almost all of the rights that you as a Network Creator have, or choose to assign specific Roles of moderation to your members. For example, you can set up one member moderate new members, while ask another to be in charge of your Forum. It’s up to you!
- Spend time evaluating moderators: To select Administrators, Phil Williams of Worship The Rock “watched forums over a period of time to see who was regularly interacting and replying with the sort of values [he] wanted to see in the forum.” Choose Administrators who are active participants in your Ning Network — who you can trust to help you keep things running smoothly.
- Establish clear guidelines: Some Network Creators create a special policy that all Administrators must agree to before becoming and Admin. Make sure your Ning Network also has community guidelines, which will make policing much easier for your Administrators — and will ensure your network is a place members want to keep coming back to
- Communicate frequently: Communication will help your team stay aligned, mutually decide how to handle members who are breaking guidelines, and come up with new ideas to help grow and manage the network. Use methods that are convenient to your Admins: perhaps a private group, via email, IM, video chat or phone.
- Recognize and reward admin contributions: Your administrators volunteer because they share your passion or interest. They’ve spent dozens or even hundreds of hours helping you nurture and grow your Ning Network. Give them the recognition their dedication and hard work deserve, and they’ll give your community more of their time and attention. Desiree creates a tag for all Pinup Lifestyle administrators to use at the end of their names. Promote them, too: Feature content posted by Admins. Share it on Facebook and Twitter!
- Give them a breather: Administrators invest a lot of emotional energy in their roles. Make sure you don’t overload any one volunteer, and find ways to keep their roles interesting and fun. Manny Hernandez from TuDiabetes rotates his Admins between features each month. He also has one extra Admin in the rotation, so that each month one Admin is ‘on vacation’ to get refreshed.
- Consider custom titles: Sometimes the term moderator could be interpreted as an enforcer or policeman. Consider other names such as community or team “leader” or “guide.”
Don’t do this
- Forget to introduce your moderation team: Let your members know who their Administrators and community managers are. You may want to ask each new Administrator to add an intro blog post, or highlight all of them in a text box on your Main Page. On TuDiabetes, Manny lists the co-founders, lead administrator and other administrators, with links to additional moderators.
- Have unrealistic expectations: In general, your Administrators will be volunteering their time (unless you choose to pay them!). Let your Administrators know what their responsibilities are, so everyone is on the same page.
- Rely only on one person: No one likes to go it alone! Engage two or more of your members to help you with moderation — that way they can turn to each other as a resource if they have any questions.