When Forum Moderators Go Bad

May 10, 2007 • 9:42 am | comments (21) by twitter | Filed Under Social Search Engines & Optimization

What do you do if a forum moderator becomes hurtful to your forums rather than helpful? A WebmasterWorld thread asks this question based on negative actions performed by a moderator of his forum that resulted in loss of membership. Consequently, he also demoted the moderator.

What I’ve learned from this experience:

1)Never reward a member with a moderation spot just because they have been an active/long time poster. Find other ways to reward good members.

2)Look for warning signs that they might not be a good moderator. Do they get snippy or argue with other members? Are they very opinionated? Do they have an even temper? Have they been ‘know it all’ posters?

3)Avoid mixing moderators and friendship. When things go bad it’s hard to separate the two.

4)Make sure you have written rules on what the moderator job is and how they are expected to act and make sure the see them BEFORE you make them a moderator.

5)Chose a moderator as if you were hiring an employee. Will they represent you well both on and off the forums.

6)Remove moderators quickly if they are losing a forum.

Some people just take the power trip for personal gain. This quote by another member is so true for this instance:

" Power corrupts...

and absolute power, corrupts absolutely"

Appointing moderators can be a pretty sticky situation if they are biased in such a way that it is destructive rather than helpful.

Moderators who are immoderate and partial are very destructive, damaging users' trust.

You can lose a lot of core/good members when even one mod gets rude/patronising/personal or is clearly editing in a partial or biased way!

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Barry Schwartz

05/10/2007 02:03 pm

I find these threads very interesting. Thanks for writing it up Tamar.

Michael Martinez

05/10/2007 03:34 pm

There are several popular SEO forums out there -- and many more non-SEO forums -- where at least one of the moderators is an arrogant puffinjay who bleats nonsense and tries to make other people look silly and ridiculous. Unforunately, none of the SEO forums have any real professional standards of behavior and the overall quality of forum moderation in the SEO community is sketchy at best. When moderators are allowed to ridicule people openly, modify other people's posts so as to make those posts look stupid and inept, and stoop to other unfair and malicious practices, the forum communities suffer. I have watched moderators do these kinds of things to numerous people in every major popular SEO forum.


05/10/2007 05:34 pm

Many SEO forums do have moderators or owners that have a holier than thou attitude. The most notable offender has "Help" in the domain name.

Michael Martinez

05/10/2007 10:53 pm

"most notable offender has 'Help' in the domain name." LOL! Hardly. You can find a great community of slammers at Threadsomething or other -- many of whom patricipate in various other forums and blogs where they are mdos and admins. But they by no means have a monopoly on unprofessional pettiness. People in this industry just seem to revel in being rude, unfriendly, unprofessional, and petty when it comes to disagreeing with other people, Who is the "worst" will simply depend on your point of view. Naturally, each group of rude, unprofessional people will stick up for their friends, so everyone is pretty much guilty and sleazy.


05/11/2007 05:49 am

The situation of Moderators being bad is very common among the seo forums. But now-a-days, I've been noticing this type of rude behaviour in other forums also. There is a necessity of framing some guideines for the Moderator.


04/14/2008 07:07 pm

I sent a complaint to a moderator about someones abuse towards me. Apparently, this moderator is freinds with this poster and instead of banning the guy, which he was supposed to, according to there rules, he instead decided to post my complaint about this poster which I sent to him in a private e-mail, to everybody on the website in an attempt to make a statement about report people who were his friends. Then, even some of the other moderators joined in and started laughing. Then to make matters worse, he sent the message I gave to the poster I complained about.

Victor L.

07/24/2009 03:02 am

"I sent a complaint to a moderator about someones abuse towards me. Apparently, this moderator is freinds with this poster and instead of banning the guy, which he was supposed to, according to there rules, he instead decided to post my complaint about this poster which I sent to him in a private e-mail, to everybody on the website in an attempt to make a statement about report people who were his friends. Then, even some of the other moderators joined in and started laughing. Then to make matters worse, he sent the message I gave to the poster I complained about." Victim, I have had a similar situation. Although the abuser and moderator were not friends, a moderator on a forum site told me it was not the site's problem when I gave them a reason to ban my account simply because I had problems with it. Unfortunately, s/he decided not to and started to post my question on whether s/he can do that to me, everywhere on the forum site embarrassing me. I went back to the site a while back stating something I was not knowledgable about and a moderator got nasty with me and called me a moron and insulted me using various words, yet his post was not deemed offensive, but mine talking about self-banning was. Ridiculous.


05/18/2010 02:28 pm

I just had a problem today with a site i signed upto, it deals with blu ray movies and i read the terms and conditions, i agreed to the terms and posted two long posts at the site, twenty minutes later i find i am banned andit says forever, my crime was putting my own sites link in my signature, now the terms did not say this was forbidden and i am a member of two other film sites which allow it. I have since found out they ban a lot of people for very petty things and don't even have the courtesy to give a warning that something is not allowed, their terms don't make such things clear either. I personally find it an abuse of a moderators power that one person is taking these decisions without the right of appeal, do they even want members at their site as even a tiny bit of negative comments about a movies quality can see you banned. Oh well it's good to vent sometimes.


05/28/2010 03:01 am

I went to a forum about video game music because some games just have cool styles to their songs compared to the bleepy 8-bit music days and the rules are not very clear as the author is very sarcastic when making them. *insert confused smiley* The moderators who run the site always have a frustrated attitude towards people who's post are unusual but not breaking the rules or topic guidelines. If you say anything to offend them they will take the offense to the highest possible level and seem to feel anybody who dosen't agree to tehir cult is a "troll" and I got banned because of disagreeing. It's a good thing I didn't got a chance to upload any music because accodring to the rules you are not allowed to defend yourself if they think your music violated the most simpilest rule. I mean in a real court you at least are allowed your defense even if the court is biased.


08/14/2010 07:04 pm

Forum moderators are almost always power-tripping little tyrants. I'd love to be able to put them in their place, but there doesn't seem to be any way to do that. If you prove them wrong, they ban you. If you expose their bad behavior, they ban you.

Scumbag mods

12/16/2010 04:05 am

I know a forum with scumbag moderators. The place is like a cult gathering. The mods will arbitrarily take issue with someone, almost always a new member, but not often enough for people to realize that the mods are a-holes - and they will make them feel unwelcome and treated unfairly. This naturally results in protests from the victim, who is then kicked off the site. The most disgusting part is what happens after: if the fight happened on the thread, the other regular forum drones will actually create a thread for thanking and worshipping the mod, tittering about how ungrateful some people (the victim) are for the work of the demigods. If the fight happened via PM or with no one really knowing about it, one of the mods will invariably let it slip that so-andso was banned, again prompting the same reaction. It is truly a disgusting collection of egos.


04/19/2012 03:51 am

They are likely either part of the Illuminiti or brainwashed by them but either way the road that's paved is not good. The saying about the way to hell being paved with good intentions is so true in this case however hell is actually a condition rather then a place you can *go* to but big coperation churches love to take religious things WAY out of context.


04/19/2012 03:52 am

Or put you on mod preview which happened to me.          I am not sure which is worse.  Being banned or on mod preview. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.


04/19/2012 04:11 am

I'm starting to notice a trend where people who get banned unfairingly by power hungry mods seem to be the ones that make posts right away instead of *feeling* out the forums first to see how members reply to threads or which type of threads get replied to so you will know if you have a decent chance of survival. I've felt out this forum and noticed a lot of replies are old so I don't expect fate to supply me with feedback or I'll get feedback that's to make me feel bad by someone who wants to start something with me.


08/21/2012 03:46 pm

You must be referring to x-plane. Org, I got suspended a week for defending myself on something I never did by a guy that was appointed mod just because he's been there for a long time.


10/23/2012 11:58 pm

same happened to me... the x-plane.org idiot moderators accused me of trolling while i was not. for me asking them why they think i was a troll, and i explained how they insulted me, what resulted was a ban. somebody should really take away these assholes of moderators... they even called me rude while it's them who are.


11/13/2013 06:01 pm

Recently, I have no idea why but Poncho_NM of city-data.com/forum seems to have developed a vendetta against me recently and has been harassing me, his first few claims were credible, but recently he is just flying off the handle at the slightest indication things seem to be annoying him.~ Basically no matter how credible I am and polite, if I disagree with him even just a little bit it he gives me Infractions and closes my threads.~ Even when a post I make has no insulting nature to it at all, if I respond in any way at all to some one even if we're having a polite non-agrumentive conversation, he will say it does and give me an Infraction and, yes, close my threads.~ I've had little choice but to report him to both of his Senior Moderators (actual administrators), I already reported him once to one Senior Moderator but to no effect not even a reply from the Senior Moderator, this time I reported to to BOTH the Senior Moderators with 2 Private Messages to them both with evidence of his unfounded Infractions and his harassment of me.~ I've also told him I did this and I suspect he will ban me now, as he behavior seems to be increasingly neurotic.~ Oh well, I was getting tired of that forum any ways, I used to love it, but with his constant harassment my love of that forum has soured considerably.~

Bryn Watkins

12/27/2013 12:15 pm

There's this scumbag moderator at the Skender Man wiki called Fobarimperius (or as I call her, Fubarimperialstic). She once banned me for a year for making a mistake, but I returned against my better judgment. Now she's banned me for two weeks for apparently insulting the moderators, despite the fact that I did nothing of the sort. I will NOT be returning to the site, and I'm trying to get her banned. If she doesn't get banned, I might consider doing illegal things. Hopefully, it won't come to that. But seriously, this moderator is such a snarky, smug, self-centred, rude bitch, that I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. And if I ever see her on another site, I just won't talk to her, as I have no time for her bitching about how great she is, and how I'm a rude dumbass.

D.c. Bourbon

01/15/2014 07:51 am

The only way to deal with rouge moderator(s) is to remove yourself from the forum at the first instance of abuse (in your opinion) and never return. It's only hard the first time. After that, it is most pleasurable imagining the wind deflating from their sails as you snatch their dreams of bullying you out of their grasp at the "warning" level.


03/17/2014 02:47 pm

I got banned from the gearbox forums the moment I joined XD but now my ban is lifted

Chon Pak

04/13/2014 04:47 am

This an example. Unfortunately, I am too lazy to show the whole conversation but this should give a you few idea on this Moderator called CM (Charles Mackleroy). Both CM and a commenter were speculating about a certain subject (which the commenter admitted to), but CM was offended and gave this response. The commenter did not swear much (or did he even swear in the first place?) and even accepted that his statements were nothing but speculations - the same however goes for CM. CM felt insulted and wanted to show how superior he is in comparison to the "weeaboo twit" that replied to him. Look at the photo to see how ridiculous he is and how he banned a commenter for simply disagreeing with him.

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