Chat Moderator Selection and Training

Moderator selection is based on a number of qualities deemed vital to our mission in this community.  We will observe a member for roughly a year before candidacy is considered.

The first thing we look for is an innately helpful person, someone who out of the goodness of his or her heart, tries to help whoever comes along.  This requires that they be non-judgmental, and understand that we are all human and doing the best we are able to do with whatever baggage and skillsets we have to work with.  A moderator must understand that all beings want to be happy and deserve respect, no matter how misguided they may be.

We also look for someone who is modest in nature, someone who will address issues in private and not clamor for recognition or praise.  A good moderator will put the feelings of others and the well being of the room ahead of all else.  This will require social skills that are non-threatening.  They must present as parental in setting an example by correcting situations in ways that encourage effort in both the individual and room.  A moderator should quietly guide the way through situations where regulars and guests can feel safe and welcome.

Successful Moderator Traits

A moderator must also have a strong, stable core and not be reactive to difficult individuals.  They must be able to endure feelings of helplessness in those cases that cannot be helped and ignore frustrations that will arise.  A moderator must make judgment calls that are sometimes uncomfortable, and shoulder the responsibility for their actions.  They will deal with difficult people and sometimes have to be the bad guy.  And they will be privy to uncomfortable knowledge and very sad circumstances that can only be shared with other moderators, and that on a need to know basis.

Once a candidate has been presented a moderator consensus will be taken as to their suitability.  The administration will then decided whether or not to approach them for training.  If they assent, training will begin, and sadly more begin the process than complete it.

Training Materials

First they will be provided with instructional material including:

1. Instructions for Chat Room Moderators
2. A broadcast sheet including resource links, room commands and staff contact information
3. A breakdown of gender categories and stages
4. Transsexual/transgender definitions
5. Suicide prevention
6. Domestic violence
7. Mission reminder
8. A moderator summary
9. A link to the addonchat help page

Next, the assigned trainer will go over this material with them, line by line and in-depth, answering questions and explaining the reasons behind each rule and policy.  They will be expected to understand the reasoning behind why these rules and policies are in place.  The effect any lapse or misapplication can cause and to apply them in the spirit intended.

When the assigned trainer believes they are ready and the trainee feels comfortable and the administration believes it is time, they will be given an anonymous login with moderator access.  This is to protect them from the rumor mill if for one reason or another they either decline or are deemed incompatible for what we do as moderators.  They will use this login only when another moderator is present to work with them, talk them through situations and back them up.

When the assigned trainer and trainee feel comfortable a moderator consensus will be taken. The administration will then determine whether or not to endow them with a permanent login with moderator access.  Probation is forever as a moderator is never above the rules and must always behave responsibly.  Removing a moderator is an unfortunate occurrence, but it is sometimes necessary.  Being a moderator means you are dedicated to service, not elite or privileged status.  The room and users are our primary concern, and giving moderator controls to someone who isn’t able or prepared benefits nobody.  It is potentially damaging for the individual put in that position and can be devastating to a user in crises.  Not everybody can handle these responsibilities continuously and a moderator may request to step down at any time, whether temporarily or permanently.

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