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Best Behavior and Management Practices for Chat

Trellar December 12, 2012 User blog:Trellar


Greeting all! I'm sure many of you may recognize me from Chat here on Community Central. Over the past few weeks, Brandon has been providing great advice for admins be a great administrator and tips for becoming an admin. In addition to that, I thought it would be helpful to touch upon what the best behavior for chat is and how to manage chat/be a good chat mod.
Internetz time

Everyone loves to chat! Even squirrels!

Chat is a great place to hang out with other Wikians. While chat is typically a relaxed and fun environment, sometimes guidelines need to be put in place in order to keep it that way. Here at Community Central, we have our own set of Chat Guidelines to help make our chat a friendly and welcoming place. Your wiki is free to craft its own guidelines. For example, My Little Pony Wiki has a very clear set of their own chat guidelines.

Why do we need guidelines?

We want to keep chat a friendly and welcoming place for new and returning users alike. In order to have everyone on the same page, guidelines will:

  • Help chat mods in knowing what is expected of them on chat
  • Keep chat mods consistent and fair
  • Reduce misunderstandings
  • Ensure admins are fair to mods in their expectations and interactions

Common chat gripes

A lot of times on chat, users will get kicked and will not understanding why. Some examples include the following:

Flooding:

This
gets
really
annoying
fast
!!!

Sometimes people flood the chat room when they are excited or have a lot to say. Why not take a moment to compose yourself and your thoughts into one comment? Flooding may disrupt a conversation that is presently going on

Boredom:

On The Internet No One Knows You re A Cat

It's a fact of life that we all get bored from time to time, but declaring "I'M BORED!!!!" will most likely not solve this issue. Next time, instead of doing that, try sparking a conversation that could help end your boredom:

  • Has anyone seen any good movies lately?
  • Does anyone need help editing?
  • What's everyone's favorite book/tv show/video game?

Chances are you're bound to get a conversation going, and thus solving your boredom issue!

What's a chat moderator's job like?

Chat moderators are responsible for enforcing guidelines in chat. That have the power to kick and ban people in chat, but cannot ban people from the wiki itself.

Kicking and Banning

Banning a user should never be your first option, as bans should be used only in extreme circumstances. In general, banning is NOT a tool to "handle" someone you find annoying. Try not to kick without explanation or warning unless there are extreme circumstances. Don't assume everyone has read your guidelines unless you clearly state them. Options other than kicking and banning 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
    • In extreme circumstances there's always Special:Contact—but in general, local issues are best resolved on the local level without the involvement of staff

What happens if I'm banned?

If you feel you are wrongfully banned, you may be able to discuss the ban with an admin by writing on their talk page. Try starting a civil discussion rather than writing out your frustrations as to "WHY AM I BANNED?!?!" Chances are this may only increase your ban time. When in doubt, simple review your wiki's local guidelines and wait out the ban.

Final thoughts

While all chats have different rules and guidelines, as long as everyone respects one another you'll have a great time. Not sure if your chat has guidelines? Ask one of your local admins or chat moderators! As always, be kind and treat each other with respect and you can't go wrong.

What have you found to be best practices and guidelines for chat? Let us know in the comments section!

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