RuneScape Wiki
This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Hohbein and is dated 24 July 2009.
Volunteer Moderators

Hello, I’m Mod Hohbein. I’ve been a member of the RuneScape Community Management team for a few years and, in this blog entry, I’m going to talk to you about one of the core areas the Community Management team focus on, which, notoriously, we’ve always been quite secretive about: no, not coffee to milk ratios; volunteer moderators.

Most people reading this will think they have a good idea of what a moderator is and what we want from our moderators. They report people, mute people, and generally stop rule breaking in-game and on the forums, right?

Not quite! We’ve changed our focus and, now, instead of focussing mainly on reporting things to us, our moderators are concentrating on getting involved in the community and encouraging other players to do the same. We’ve always made it clear that they’re players first, moderators second, and this change in direction will really emphasise that. The RuneScape community is made up of an incredibly creative, vibrant bunch of people who belong to all sorts of sub-communities. Rather than trying to rule these communities with an iron fist, we want to encourage them, and encourage players to join them, and we’ll be doing that with the help of our moderators.

Moderators are, of course, still able to escalate dodgy situations straight to us. This combined with their silver crown means that they’re able to deter and help remove rule breakers from the game in a flash, which is unquestionably important. Later in this blog, we’ll talk about growing the mod community, and this is something that will really help reduce the amount of reporting that moderators have to do, allowing them to focus much more on community involvement.

Going from a team of several thousand moderators who’ve always been asked to concentrate on reporting things, to a team who focus more on community involvement, is no small task. In doing so, we’ve looked at two key areas:

Current mods

We’ve been working with our moderator communities to help them step away from the ‘moderating the community’ approach and towards encouraging greater community involvement. We’ve done this by offering re-written guidance, putting much less emphasis on excessive reporting, and making sure our moderators are given all of the support they need via our moderator only forums.

Naturally, it’s taken some getting used to after years of fairly rigid reporting procedures, but I’m happy to say we’re getting there thanks to the incredibly adaptable, passionate people we have among our two moderator communities

Future mods

Up until recently, one of the main criteria we’d look for when inviting moderators would be how many reports they’ve sent and how good those reports were. This had to change as, although we’ve found some absolutely brilliant players using these criteria in the past, given our new focus, we stand a better chance of finding suitable players if we look more broadly at the RS community. There are so many like-minded players who hook up together and build communities, so it made sense for us to look in those. We’ve started to look at clans, fansites, role-players, high-level players (both F2P and member), community minded forum users, regular events organisers and many other communities for the people who have got what it takes to help move our moderating teams in the right direction. Going back to the beginning of this blog entry, I spoke about the creative, vibrant people we have playing RuneScape. These are the people who can help us change the focus of the moderating community, so these are the people we’ll be inviting to help us do just that.

By changing who we’re looking for, we haven’t forgotten the importance of how we’re looking for them. We’re still looking for players with incredibly secure accounts, players who haven’t been persistently breaking rules or been horrible to others, and players who have shown absolute dedication to RuneScape and the communities they belong to. To make sure we’re selecting the best players, every moderator we choose is put through a strict selection process involving five teams here at Jagex, and only those we feel would genuinely make great additions to the team are invited. We really want to make sure this change in focus doesn’t have any impact on the quality of the moderators we invite.

After we had established what we were looking for, the next step was to start looking. We recently started a big push on moderator recruitment and we’re bringing two extra people into the CM team to help us do so. This push will continue for months to come, until we’ve bolstered our numbers and feel confident that our moderating communities can really have a much more positive impact on the RuneScape community as a whole, both in terms of encouraging involvement in the RS community and in removing rule breakers before they have a chance to do any damage.

It’s still relatively early days and there’s loads of work to be done. We are, however, completely confident that this is a big step in the right direction. We’ve always hated the bad press moderators often receive, and this change will not only empower our moderators to ‘let their hair down’, have more fun and get more involved with our players, but, over time, it’ll change the perception players have of moderators altogether.

We've set up this forum thread for feedback on these first two CM blogs.

Thanks for reading.