At a time when we need to limit the amount of physical contact and interaction we do, it’s vital to find ways to keep in touch with others. Surviving through the pandemic isn’t just about getting out of being physically healthy, it’s also about getting out mentally fit as well.
To fight the sense of isolation and loneliness, one thing you can do is engage in online communities with people that share the same interests as you. Of course, there are dangers when it comes to online communities. Whether you’re a moderator or a part of the community, it’s always better to stay free from toxicity and potential threats online.
Let’s put you in the position of a moderator. This makes you the leader of the community and in some cases, you are the founder as well.
How can you ensure that the people within your community are safe? Here are some tips you might want to consider.
Get A Content Moderator
If people are free to post their content and thoughts on your community, then it’s imperative that you take the time to moderate what is posted on your platform. Understandably, not everyone has the time to do this but there are ways you can do this without having to do it yourself.
Of course, we are talking about hiring online moderators that do the job for you. It’s a little expense on your end but it’s an investment that keeps your community happy and well-regulated.
A content moderator will basically browse through all of the user-submitted content in your forum or page. It would be best to hire multilingual online content moderation services so that more people have the opportunity to enjoy your community safely. It’s the easiest way to filter content without having to go through hoops on your end.
Aside from keeping your community safe, content moderation also helps you abide by community standards set by certain platforms.
For instance, Facebook has community standards even for the Groups features. If the Group you own breaks those guidelines, the group can be deleted entirely. It would feel horrible to have your page taken down because of the post made by others.
Filter The Community Rigorously
Some platforms allow you to filter all of the people that join your community. For instance, Facebook lets you set a few questions that interested people will need to answer should they join the group. Once submitted, you can check out their answers and it’s going to be up to you whether or not they are allowed to join.
It may seem bothersome on your end to set up such restrictions on your page but trust us, it can pay off. Aside from filtering your members, these will also prevent bots and spammers from getting into your community. Thus, making everyone much safer within.
Some people won’t even try answering the questions once they see it on your Groups application menu. However, that only serves your community better. You’re at least guaranteed that every person in the community is passionate and serious about joining.
Be Clear About Your Rules And Regulations
Every online community thrives on proper management. Without a proper set of rules and regulations, no online community will be safe for anyone. As such, it is important that from the very beginning, you become clear about what you expect from members of the online community.
Setting a list of do’s and don’ts to follow is a must to keep an online community safe. Some of the common rules that benefit every member include prohibiting hate speech, racial slurs, adulterated content, and even the sharing of pirated content. It’s safeguarding not just your members but your community as well.
The rules and regulations should be visible upfront. On Facebook, you can pin it at the top of the page so all members will see it once they get to your community’s hub. You can also do this on other platforms such as online forums and community websites.
The key to making a good set of rules and regulations to abide by is to make sure that everyone benefits from it. There is such a thing as being too strict about the rules. If you are having trouble setting your own regulations, you can turn to other online community owners for help to ask them about what rules they set and go from there.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ban Or Remove Members
A common mistake that community owners make is being too afraid to remove members. It’s understandable that as a community owner, you’d want to see your group grow larger in numbers. However, it’s more important to keep your members happy and satisfied.
If you continue to keep toxic and offensive members for the sake of keeping your community large, you’ll end up with fewer members because others will leave on site.
The best way to regulate your members is by giving them at least three chances when it comes to bannable offenses. Make a list of members who break the rules and once they commit a mistake three times in a row, then you should bid goodbye to them immediately.
Understandably, some offenses are heavier than others. For instance, if one member engages in hate speed on your platform, then it would be best to have him or her removed immediately.
To be fair to others, make it possible for those that have been banned to rejoin the community eventually. Give them a few months of probation before letting them join again. Like with banning, some offenses are unforgivable so it would be best to let members who commit such acts permanently be banned from the community.
Running a community is not just about making the most members. It’s also about making each and every one of your members feel safe and respected. With the world in the state that it’s in, the last thing anyone would want is to get toxicity online. Communities online should be a safe haven for everyone.