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    What is a moderator?

    A moderator, often found in games with chatrooms and forums, is a staff member or volunteer tasked with assisting new players, maintaining order, and enforcing the rules and standards of the game.

    Moderators act as guides, rule enforcers, and community managers, ensuring that the game environment is welcoming, respectful, and fun for all participants. As such, they often have the authority to mute, ban, or remove players who violate community guidelines.

    The role of the moderator has evolved alongside online gaming communities, originating from the early days of internet forums and chat rooms.

    Initially, moderators were simply experienced players (oldbies) who volunteered to help maintain order. Over time, their role became more formalized, with clear responsibilities and the power to enforce rules directly.

    NOTE: You’ll sometimes see the term moderator shortened to “mod,” which is not to be confused with the other kind of mod (a community-created plugin that modifies a game).

    Moderator FAQs

    What powers do moderators usually have?

    Moderators can have a range of powers, depending on the game’s structure. Typically, they can delete or edit posts, mute or ban disruptive players, and help resolve disputes among players. Their main aim is to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.

    How does one become a moderator?

    Becoming a moderator usually involves being a dedicated and respectful member of the game’s community. Most moderators are appointed by the game’s administrators or through a community vote. Often, candidates need to demonstrate a deep understanding of the game’s rules and culture.

    Can a moderator change the game’s rules?

    While moderators enforce the game’s rules, they typically do not have the authority to change them. Rule changes are usually the domain of the game’s developers or administrators. However, moderators may suggest changes based on community feedback and their understanding of the game’s dynamics.

    What is the difference between a moderator and an administrator?

    A moderator focuses on community management and rule enforcement. In contrast, an administrator has broader powers, including changing game rules, setting up game environments, and appointing or removing moderators.

    Can moderators participate in the game?

    Moderators can often participate in the game, but they must remain neutral and fair, avoiding any actions that could be seen as abusing their power. They must balance their roles as both enforcers and members of the community.

    Myths about moderators

    One common myth is that moderators are always paid employees of the gaming company. While this may be true in some cases, many moderators are often volunteers who contribute their time because of their passion for the game. This is especially true for text-based RPGs, which are usually free to play and run by hobbyists.

    Another misconception is that moderators have unlimited power and can manipulate the game as they wish. In reality, their powers tend to be clearly defined and limited to maintaining a positive gaming environment. There may even be audits and logging in place to ensure that moderators uphold the game’s standards.

    Moderator examples

    • In a text-based roleplaying game, a moderator may step in to resolve a conflict between players who disagree on the direction of the story.
    • A moderator in an online forum game might organize events and contests to keep the community engaged and ensure fair play.
    • In a multiplayer online game, a moderator might monitor chat rooms to prevent spamming, harassment, or the sharing of inappropriate content.
    • A moderator could guide new players through the game’s rules and mechanics, providing tips and resources to help them get started.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."