Ben’s friends community moderator guide

We're very grateful to Madere (AVM, ADD and AMY Mod -, Renie (Fibro Mod - and Amanda (PSA Mod - for putting this set of guidelines together!

• Make sure you have FUN!
• Pay attention to your own health. Don’t let Moderating your board become overwhelming. Ask for support and take time off as needed.
• Please respect the privacy of group members and fellow Moderators and only discuss group “business” conversations (warnings to users or moderators, discussions that take place in the Moderator forum, etc.) privately with those directly involved.
• Please be conscious of the language and tone you use when posting. Most new members will be emotionally vulnerable and are seeking support, so a supportive, respectful tone is needed.
• If a member posts a question that’s been previously discussed, posting a link to the existing post in response could save a lot of time and repetition.
• Members love to have comments on their posts – if you’re able to comment, even with just a hug, it’s always appreciated.
• Similarly, members will feel more validated if you quote a portion of their post before replying
• Keep a prominent disclaimer in any posts that seem to come from a personally strong opinion or viewpoint. For example, using “However, when I was newly diagnosed…” or “My experience has been…”
• Give sensitive threads a follow-up reply to be sure feelings aren’t hurt and pm additional reassurance to members when you deem it necessary. If it’s a particularly sensitive situation and you’re unsure how to handle it, ask your fellow Moderators for support.
• Please join the Moderator Group in the Groups section of the discussion group.
• Introduce yourself to the other Mods in the Moderator Group so everyone can get to know each other.
• Please read the Disclaimer and Please Be Kind: Use Appropriate Language sections of the board’s main page along with the Privacy FAQ to familiarize yourself with them.
• You are welcome to post an introduction on the main message board so members can get to know you better.
• Please post any questions you have about moderating in the Moderator Group.
• Join the Ben’s Friends Moderators discussion forum at
• Report any problems to fellow Moderators in the Moderator Group.
• Direct off-topic threads to the correct Group or Category.
• Ask Moderators questions if you are unsure how to handle inappropriate or questionable content.
• Post regularly to keep conversation going, stimulate conversation, and provide advice and outside information and resources.
• Comment on posts that have not received replies, even if it’s just to give a hug or say you are unsure of the answer but hope someone comes along with information.
• Keep current on the Ben’s Friends Moderators discussion forum.
• Approve or decline members as appropriate.
• Notify other Moderators of recurrent problems.
• Do a weekly check of your board for threads that need to be bumped for further discussion, especially threads that haven’t received responses.
As Needed:
• Notify other Moderators when you are going on vacation or will be away from your computer for any length of time.
• Post concerns, questions, and suggestions on the Moderator board.
• Issue warnings when necessary (through pm). Copy and paste your warning and the person’s username to the Moderator group so all Moderators are up to date on member status.
• If you think a post needs to be deleted, copy and paste it to the Moderator group for review. If it is immediately harmful and needs to be deleted promptly, copy and paste it to the Moderator group before deletion to keep the other Moderators informed. Post deletion guidelines can be found here:
• Post links to potentially problematic threads or posts in the Moderator group if they need to be paid attention to but not acted on right away.
• When suspending a member, post a notice in the Moderator group.
• Appoint a “representative” Moderator from your group and a back-up (for when the representative is away) to report off-network issues.
• Report technical issues to Scott and cc Rose.
• For patient advocacy issues, contact Tracy.
• For disability claims issues, refer people to the Social Security Law Group, icon on Main Page.
• For help with conflicts within the Mods group, contact Scott.
• For a member emergency such as suicide threat, first direct them to the crisis hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or look here for information: Please emphasize the hotline (include number) over and over again. None of us are trained to deal with people in this situation. The hotline people are pros and can really help people.
• Post questions, suggestions, and examples of great moderator responses or teamwork on the Ben’s Friends Moderators discussion forum.
Most Importantly:
• Remember to have FUN!
• Moderating shouldn’t be stressful – pay attention to your health and ask for support or take time off as needed to avoid getting burned out.
• Show confidence in your fellow Moderators. If you have an issue with something they say or do, pm them for clarification.
• Remember that members have many different viewpoints – instead of criticizing if you don’t agree, share your point of view kindly; ask questions instead of making statements; provide information instead of insisting on your own point of view.
• Get to know your fellow Moderators. Just as the board community is a support system for all, Moderators are a support system to each other.
• Listen to everyone who posts; let every voice be heard; thank others for sharing their viewpoints; and express yourself kindly.
• Acknowledge when you have made a mistake, then move on.
• Always keep in mind our Core Mission: to ensure that everyone in the world with a rare disease has a safe place to go and connect with others like them.
Approving/Rejecting New Members
• If a new member is very vague/suspicious in their profile, you can feel free to reject. A spammer will move on. A real patient will email us asking why we rejected and then it's 99% they really want some support.
• If a new member is specific about symptoms, then it’s okay to approve.
• If a new member is on the borderline, you can wait and ask another moderator what they think, then together either approve or reject.
Bottom line: use your best judgment. Ask another moderator if you are not sure.