Efficient Moderation Teams and How We Build Them to Deliver Success

Manual moderation isn’t really rocket science. Take away the bad stuff and leave the good. Right?

For very basic moderation sure, but the truth is that as soon as you reach any significant volumes on the site, moderation becomes a lot more complex. And to handle the complexity professionally you will need a very well organized team of moderators. To build that you will need to know the best practices for running an efficient moderation team.

We have dedicated other articles to talking about KPI’s and moderation methods, but once you have decided on the goals and methods you need to look at your delivery framework to ensure that your team has the optimal conditions to consistently and efficiently carry out quality work.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Set up a communication procedure to make sure new policies and site decisions are communicated to your moderation agents as fast as possible. When agents are in doubt they will lose precious time debating or speculating on what to do with new issues. This will also cause mistakes to be made.

Put in place a process for communicating new policies and ensure that someone is in charge of collecting, answering and communicating answers to questions from the moderation team.

Also make sure someone in your organization is on top of current events that might pose new challenges. We have covered such an example in a previous blog post The Summer of Big Events. And Big Ticket Scams.

Setting up a structure for a communication flow between the moderation team and the rest of your organization is key to enabling your moderators to work at their top speed and for them to feel equipped to do their job properly.

When we, at Besedo, provide a client with a team of moderators, we start out by setting up a clear framework for how questions from the agent on one side,  together with answers and new directions from the client on the other side are communicated.

Usually the structure will consist of the following:

  • A quarterly meeting where any adjustments to current guidelines or new focuses for the client business strategy are discussed. This allows the moderation team to give input on where and how their efforts are best applied to accommodate the client’s long-term vision.
  • A monthly meeting where our client informs about upcoming policy changes and new features.
  • A weekly meeting where current issues and challenges are raised by both parties. This is a great place to discuss any errors that have been made and request clarification on any policies that seem to cause a lot of grey areas.
  • Daily contact to touch base. This is usually not in the form of a meeting, but rather an ongoing conversation between a point of contact at the client side and one at Besedo’s site. This allows the moderation team to quickly receive answers and communicate new challenges that may pop up during the day. The key to success in this case is to have ONE clear point of contact on each side where all communication can be channeled.


After each meeting, the communication will be emailed out and also cascaded to the team through team leaders or veteran agents, ensuring that all moderators regardless of shift are made aware.

Moderation superstars are like athletes. They need ongoing training to stay on top.

1 hour spent training can save many more long term. It’s easy to think that moderation is straightforward, but it takes time, knowledge and experience to spot bad content in seconds when reviewing hundreds of ads an hour.

While it can be tempting to throw people headfirst into the moderation job (especially if you are short on staff) it almost always pays to spend time equipping your moderator for the job. You will have less mistakes, better speed and a happier new colleague.

When we employ new moderators to Besedo, we pass them through a very in-depth on-boarding program. Not only do we introduce them to the clients rules and platform, we also spend time teaching them about content moderation in general, the trends, the tools of the trade and the reasons behind moderating.

But we don’t stop there. We have ongoing training, workshops and knowledge sharing forums. The industry is not static, laws change and scams are always evolving. This means our moderation team needs to constantly improve and keep up with current trends. And so should yours!

You want ROI on moderation? You have to work for it!

When we speak to owners of sites and apps that deal with user generated content, one of the concerns we face is that they have not seen the expected ROI from moderation in the past.

Digging into their previous experience we often see that while they have had moderation efforts in place, they have not dedicated time and resources to really structure and maintain it.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to setup processes, training and retraining for your moderation team. Without it they will be working in the dark, catching some things, but leaving too much else untouched. An approach like this can almost be more harmful than no moderation at all, as you customer won’t know what to expect and whether or not site policies are backed up.

If you want to see proper ROI from moderation, it will require a lot of work, resources and attention. Sit down, plan, structure, implement and keep iterating.  It isn’t going to happen by itself!

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