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Forums – Moderators

A Forum Moderator oversees the activity of a forum discussion A Moderator monitors the interchange of contributors and provides guidance regarding the protocol, content, tone and relevance of postings. Guiding discussions from one topic or aspect to another to keep topics focused is a typical responsibility for a forum Moderator.

If the tone of a forum becomes hostile or begins to move in the direction of personal attacks, the forum Moderator has the discretion to lock the discussion to prevent inappropriate interchanges. The Moderator may remove postings deemed unwarranted or irrelevant to the quality of a continuing discussion. New topics felt worthy of further examination can be posted by a Moderator even if they garner no comments.

Moderator duties are as diverse as the forum topics themselves. Some Moderators remain in the background, surfacing only when situations arise that fail to resolve themselves. Other Moderators maintain a presence, by frequently commenting on the discussion process. Forum moderators often enforce appropriate rules of conduct and discussion decorum.

Regardless of the forum topic or ambiance, the use of profanity, inappropriate images, and disrespectful or insulting language are strictly prohibited.

Participation patterns and standards vary in forums. New participants are advised to initially post with caution until a general feel for a forum’s atmosphere is developed.

Moderators are encouraged to join in discussions, especially if they have expert experience or advice to contribute. Other forum Moderators remain totally objective and serve as impartial site protocol enforcer. Occasionally, a forum Moderator may contribute a post to steer a discussion in another direction.

A forum Moderator is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the forum and is the guardian of the quality of a forum’s content.

Additional duties of a forum Moderator may include redirecting discussions towards more appropriate topics, closing or locking threads based on dwindling interest or lack of recent activity. Thread deletion can either be temporary or permanent, depending on the wishes of the forum moderator.

If an abusive contributor refuses to cease unacceptable behavior, the forum Moderator has the discretion to ban the user. The Moderator may opt to request that the site administration ban the abusers IP address from the site.


An Internet forum is a discussion area on a website. Website members can post comments, read and respond to posts by other forum Commenters. A forum can be focused on nearly any subject and a sense of an online community, or virtual community, tends to develop among forum members.

Forums tend to have a specific set of jargon associated with them; e.g. a single conversation is called a “thread“, or topic.

A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure. A forum can contain a number of sub-forums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum’s main topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many Commenters who so wish.

This type of forum differs from a blog as a blog is usually written by one user and usually only allows for the responses of others to the blog material. A forum usually allows all members to make posts and start new topics.

An Internet forum is also different from a chat room. Members in a chat room usually all chat or communicate at the same time, while members in a discussion group post messages to be read by others whenever they happen to log on. Forums also tend to be more topic-focused than chat rooms.