As part of building better guidelines for this wiki, we've been working on a new page for chat moderators on Community Central. These guidelines should help all of us active in chat to make it a welcoming and helpful place for new and old visitors alike.
Here's what we have so far:
Be a Facilitator
As a Wikia chatmod, your primary focus is on encouraging conversation, supporting users and, in general, making sure Community Central chat is a welcome environment for all. The ideal chatmod is encouraging, and helps people feel supported and empowered. Chatmods are not police, they are guides and try to move the channel gently towards being a better place for all. This role has also been called a catalyst.
The most important role of a chat moderator is in setting the tone of the channel. If you are friendly and welcoming, others will follow your lead. If others in the channel are rude or confrontational, always react calmly and politely. Avoid responding in kind, even if provoked.
Try to use the channel in a way that's inclusive. For example, in jokes can give a feeling of "you wouldn't understand" that excludes newer users. Remember, perception can influence reality: if chat is seen as a welcoming place, it will become a welcoming place!
Assume Good Faith
Since Community Central is open for anyone to contribute to, users of all skill levels and opinions are welcome to participate. There may be users who join Community Central chat who are unfamiliar with what being in a joint chatroom is like - assume that these users want to be a part of the discussion and that any mistake they make is just that - a mistake. Be kind in your correction and offer education to them.
Always try to explain why you are asking them to do something, rather than just demanding it. For example, instead of saying "no all caps!", explain that all caps can be read as shouting, and can be distracting or annoying to others.
Be a Leader
The best leaders lead by example - in communications, in supporting new users, in offering assistance to all, and in facilitating conversation within Community Central chat. Once harsh words or actions are “out there” in chat, you can’t get them back. Offer points of view but do not attack, argue or retaliate.
Chat moderators are not "in charge" of the channel, but represent the community and Wikia as leaders. Remember the primary goal is to facilitate rather than to regulate chat.
Kickban with great care
Kickbanning should never be your first option when facing a challenging person in Community Central chat. Kickbans should be used only in extreme circumstances, it Kickbanning is NOT a tool to "handle" someone you find annoying. Everyone is welcome in Community Central chat.
Options other than kickbanning include: having a quick private chat to explain the problem, asking positive questions to redirect the conversation, introducing a new topic to move the conversation along, pointing people towards better places to deal with their issue (for example, Special:Contact)
Unless a situation is very severe, always warn before kickbanning. If you kickban a user, you are responsible for responding to that person’s request for more information in a respectful, informative and factual manner. In most cases, it's important to give people a second chance, or to limit the ban to just long enough to stop the bad behaviour.
Reasons for kickbanning include:
- A user who is flooding due to inconsistent connection to chat (but remember to unban them shortly afterward)
- Repeated nonsense or random comments (after being asked to stop)
- Repeated offensive language
- Threats or verbal attacks on others
- Violations of the Wikia ToU (please contact staff in cases of ToU issues)
Keep it fun
Chat should be fun for all participants - including chatmods! If you find yourself getting stressed, it's always OK to take a break. Chat is a great tool for meeting great people and building community, so relax, enjoy yourself, and help others have a good time, too!