What this post is about
- Ensure a meaningful distribution of roles
- Establish a secure set of rules
- Plan effective processes and procedures
- Adapt technical maintenance of forums to periods of activity
- Calculate a solid budget for forum development
An active community forum offers numerous advantages and should not be overlooked: it can enhance the customer experience and create real value for your company. Here, valuable exchanges with members and (potential) customers can take place, allowing responsible administrators to build a source of inspiration and knowledge. However, to obtain useful output from the forums, consistent maintenance is the responsibility of a community moderator.
Organizational skills, the ability to prioritize, and an eye for detail are among the fundamental skills that a moderator should possess. Forum maintenance is essential to show users that their input, knowledge, and questions are not going unnoticed.
For a moderator or admin, it is impossible to manage an entire forum alone. Additional support from experts or additional moderators is necessary to handle this work.
For this purpose, internal colleagues as well as highly active users can be selected to take on specific roles. From reviewing comments and answering questions to leading discussions, there are numerous areas where expert knowledge is required. Solid leadership qualities and tact are essential in this role. Especially when dealing with sensitive topics or intense discussions, the moderator must act without emotion and rationally.
As an open-source project, our smart helpdesk Zammad thrives on the involvement of a vibrant developer community as well as the active participation of its users. Here we show you how you can join the community and play a central role in the further development of Zammad.
In society and in the community, there is a common understanding: rules govern our collective interactions! However, the line between guidelines and prohibitions is narrow. On one hand, community members should be free to express their own opinions and move about freely. On the other hand, there is a need for rules that provide certain guidelines and behavioral expectations as a foundation.
To avoid giving members a sense of constriction or warning signs in the form of prohibitions, a carefully chosen wording and communication approach can help. Admins can use a guideline, particularly to avoid the negatively charged term 'rules.' This suggests more freedom to users and breaks the association with potential consequences.
To keep our forums clean and remove comments that violate the guidelines, controlled reviews and checks are essential. This also includes forwarding community feedback or notes to the relevant departments and opening coordination tickets.
Define a structured process for handling contributions. This framework should also encompass which teams handle the tickets and how they deal with the resulting tasks and projects. Consistent parameters and a fundamental structure help facilitate faster processing.
Content and information are great, but they are of little use if the forum lags behind in terms of structure and performance. Therefore, technical maintenance should be considered equally important. Regular maintenance tasks and protective measures are part of a moderator's responsibilities to ensure a solid foundation for mutual exchange at all times. Updates and changes should be planned consciously. Consider the following questions:
- When is the best time to implement updates?
- When are members less active?
- What adjustments provide the highest value to members?
- Are the contents still logically organized, or does it need an updated structure?
Slowing down an active community for an extended period can significantly hinder ongoing discussions. Updates in the evening or overnight are generally advisable.
As the community grows and expands, so do the demands for comprehensive maintenance. More entertainment, more security, more server capacity: To allow the community to thrive, investments should be planned across the board.
It's important to budget for potential hardware expansions that can adapt to current needs in a timely manner, as well as expenses for marketing campaigns, partnerships, and giveaways. A community desires new incentives to actively participate in forums. By showing appreciation or organizing communal activities, you inadvertently foster the engagement of your forum participants and contribute your part as a forum operator. After all, only those who give and invest generously can also reap long-term benefits.
Listen and recognize tasks! Engage with your community and benefit from the knowledge of each participant and member. Through appreciation, expressed in various ways, create a pleasant atmosphere among individual members. Introduce topics, plan surveys, and pay attention to both content and technical development. With a trusted team of moderators and admins, fulfill the necessary tasks to the satisfaction of all.