05/30/18; modified 1/18/20
Moderating an RP forum is fairly simple, overall. You have to be prepared to delete individual contributions that do not contribute to the thread (or even entire threads) if the need arises, or use the other moderation tools available, as intended. It helps to have experience with both writing and editing, as well as experience with the forum in question, if you want to be a moderator. The job will also require you to develop a thicker skin, because not all of your decisions will be popular with the forum participants.
However, there are several things to be taken into consideration when moderating an RP forum. Even TSPís RP forums.
Rules, Rapport, and Punishments
1.) Create and post a clearly defined moderation policy for the forum.
The aim of a moderation policy is to facilitate open and honest communication on the forums via posts. This enables the community to trust and value the forum as a place where they are safe to post their roleplays, and have others join in. The moderation policy should be openly available to all, as it will contain the rules (and potential punishments for rule violations) under which everyone on the forums are bound, even the forum moderators.
2.) Your moderation schedule.
A moderation schedule is defined as when the forum moderators will be online, and how long can the forum moderation afford to allow rule violating material to be viewable before it is removed. This is not a document; it is merely things for the moderation staff to consider. It will be affected by who your moderators are, how many of them that you have, and when they can be actively moderating the forums. Remember that real life always comes first, and even forum moderators can have things happen to them, there should be some planning done in regards to this possibility as well, such as covering another moderatorís absence. Moderators should inform the other moderators in advance as to when they will be absent, if possible.
3.) Content classification and response
This is defined as the ďthis happened, now what do I do about it?Ē document, and contain guidelines about how to deal with potential problems. For example if a user posts something off-topic in the wrong forum, there should be a response to that. Another more extreme example, if a user talks about wanting to commit suicide, there should be a response for that, as well. There should be a punishment scale for users who violate forum rules, as well as a punishment procedure for moderators who violate the rules, especially as regards to their duties. A process for the appeal of moderator rulings should also be included, as a matter of course. The forum moderation team should decide on how much of this document is made public, via the forumís moderation policy. Other content that the forum moderation team considers to be important can be made into their own documents/lectures/notes alongside the document, as needed.
As the NS forums have RP Mentors, so too should TSPís forums. Ideally, these mentors would have RP experience, and be willing to help others to improve their roleplaying skills, or even provide encouragement, out of a genuine desire to help. Having at least one of these individuals on your forums will pay off, in the long-run.
The moderators are the people who have the task of maintaining adherence to the forum rules, be that by editing or moving posts, or ruling on violations of the rules, so that the proper punishment might be administered. As awesome as the powers that the forum moderators wield are, there must be equally as awesome forum rules in place, to be sure that the forum moderators do not abuse their power. Indeed, there should be at least one person in a position of authority over the forum moderators, as well. This is to not only ensure that the moderators are doing their jobs correctly, but it also gives the moderators someone to call in as reinforcements, if the need arises.
The forum moderators should also have a place where they can discuss moderation matters in private with each other, away from the eyes of the public, who might use the things said there against the moderation staff. There should also be a part of this private place where the moderators can let off steam, and just generally be able to chat with each other. The moderators should be trustworthy people with sound judgment, who volunteer to do the job. Moderators should have a light touch as they go about their duties, but be fully prepared to stand their ground, when required. There should also be an appeal process where moderation rulings can get a second opinion from another moderator, but the second opinion should then be final. Additionally a moderator should not moderate in a thread where they are personally involved (so as to avoid the image that the moderator in question is using their powers for personal gain), except in major cases like people posting porn, or threatening suicide.
There should also be some sort of policy in place for when real life laws might be broken on the forums. Police forces will generally not care if you tell them that someone has been spamming a message board, but they will generally pay attention if someone is using the forums to show or trade child porn, or something equally as serious. It is also a very good idea for all moderation actions to be logged somewhere that the moderation staff can access. Keep rule-breaking posts in a separate part of the forum that only moderation can access, though you will need to keep the EUís GPDR laws in mind, as well.
The Roleplayer is an individual who has come to a forum in order to roleplay. I personally compare roleplaying to having multiple people come together in order to write a book about particular people, places, events, and things. If the roleplayers on your forums feel safe enough to allow their imaginations to run wild while following the forum rules, some of the things with which they will come up with will simply astound you. As might be expected, roleplayers will generally be very upset to see the roleplays that they have worked so hard on be ruined by things like raids. This can be compared to how the author of a book who then loses his work due to some cause like a computer virus, or sudden power loss would feel.
There are five general types of roleplay on NS, and it is entirely possible to fit one or more of the following categories at the same time.
1.) The Nation Roleplayer
This type of roleplayer focuses on how their nation (and by extension either their government or military) would react to (or incite) various events. War and diplomacy readily fit into this category.
2.) The Character Roleplayer
This type of roleplayer likes to focus more on their individual characters, and how they would react to (or incite) events. When done right, war and diplomacy can also fit into this category, but as individual characters have their own individual lives, other things can fit in this category as well.
3.) The GE&T Roleplayer
This type of roleplayer likes to focus on creating a storefront for a business in their nation. A storefront can be thought of as being like a website for that company, where they would sell or provide a given good or service to others looking for such goods and services. The goods and services on offer can be anything under the sun, so long as the forum rules and common decency do not preclude it. The Global Economics and Trade sub-forum on the NS forums is an excellent example of this.
4.) The Non-Nation Canon Roleplayer
This type of roleplayer will roleplay things that are not part of their nation, nor would they fit into their national canon. A nationís canon is the same concept as what is canon for a television show, so non-canon roleplaying would be separate from that. These roleplays can be done just as well as other roleplays, but still require the same supervision from moderation that other roleplays would.
5.) The Sports Roleplayer
The most famous example of NS Sports roleplaying is the NS World Cup, but there are many other types of sports as well. These roleplayers like to customize their own teams, and roleplay the matches between them, whether the score or result is good or bad for their team. In some ways, sports roleplaying can get even more crazy than the other types of roleplaying, with teams not having to be composed of humans, or with crazy events like having half your team be frozen in time becoming commonplace.
With proper preparation and moderation diligence regarding their duties, any RP forum can be successfully moderated. While there will be eventual disputes between the roleplayers and moderators over various issues at some point, there is no perfect moderation style that will keep everyone happy one-hundred percent of the time. The forum moderators are volunteers, who give of their time out of a desire to contribute to their roleplaying community, making it a safe place for everyone to contribute their best work. Moderators both resolve disputes, and make sure that the forum rules are adhered to. They can also participate in roleplays, if they like, but they should set an example to their fellow roleplayers while doing so. This should be respected by everyone.
If these procedures are followed, then you will be well prepared to moderate an RP forum, and be able to use your judgment to handle any unforeseen complications. Thank you.