Moderator Definition & Meaning

A moderator is a user who presides over an online forum discussion. In these forums, moderators are tasked with enforcing community guidelines and have the authority to block messages that are deemed inappropriate. Moderators are responsible for keeping users on topic and keep the group or discussion thread free of personal insults and derogatory comments. Without moderators, most online discussion spaces would be flooded with spam and/or bots.

Admin vs. moderator

In a discussion forum or group, an administrator can function as a moderator, but a moderator cannot perform all of the same functions as an administrator. Administrators have more access permissions, so they can control which users have access to the group as well as which posts are aligned with the community guidelines.

The administrator role is sometimes reserved for the publisher’s employees and usually comes with some technical expertise. Administrators can also designate which users have moderator privileges. Moderators, on the other hand, only have power over the content of the discussion and not the users themselves. Moderators don’t usually need to have any technical knowledge outside of the subject matter for which they are moderating. Platforms that use both moderators and administrators include Facebook, Reddit, and Slashdot.

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Kaiti Norton
Kaiti Norton is a Nashville-based Content Writer for TechnologyAdvice, a full-service B2B media company. She is passionate about helping brands build genuine connections with their customers through relatable, research-based content. When she's not writing about technology, she's sharing her musings about fashion, cats, books, and skincare on her blog.

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