Last week I completed the second of two online training sessions for Leukaemia Care‘s new volunteer moderators. Like many organisations, their support group offering on Facebook had traditionally sat with their social media team. As their support groups have grown, so has the need for independent moderation and overview (I’ve written more about this here). Leukaemia Care’s first step was to develop a volunteer moderator role. I’ve written about the pros and cons of using volunteer moderators and some things to think about here.
Leukaemia Care’s groups are active and supportive, with most posts/comments being made in response to conversation starters posted by their Social Media Manager or posts celebrating milestones in treatment. There are some posts seeking support but little conflict or distressing content.
The training content was similar to that offered to Hemihelp back in 2019, covering:
- an introduction to community moderation and the role of moderators, including the difference between engagement and support and policing,
- language and tone,
- listening through language,
- emotional support and empathy,
- common moderator difficulties,
- signposting effectively – including understanding barriers to following signposts,
- using personal experience as a moderator,
- Facebook’s moderator tools and when you might use them,
- a moderators duty of care and safeguarding,
- self-care – including understanding personal needs and debriefing.
Since 2019, Facebook’s offering for group admins and moderators has improved. They offer an improved dashboard for overview along with more options for commenting control (including managing, slowing and closing comments), ordering the appearance of comments and posts in the group and selecting levels of approval for individual members. Moderators can feedback on posts in a bespoke tool rather than through private message and can refer directly to group guidelines as they do so. They also have a suite of automated options – AdminAssist – which allows admins to set up filters for certain content and notifications for others. The Activity log makes handover easier and it is easy to save posts to return to later. These options seemed to give volunteers confidence in their ability to manage situations that might arise. In 2019 I questioned whether Facebook groups were suitable for the subtle and complex processes involved in moderating a busy support community. These tools are certainly making it a bit easier.