How to Become a MAL Moderator
This topic has been locked and is no longer available for discussion.
Oct 5, 2015 5:59 AM
Site-Wide Recruitment Process
If we are very short-handed due to resignations, hiatuses and/or decreased moderating time of existing staff, we will have an open site-wide recruitment for Database Moderators. Beginning with the Manga Moderator applications in 2011, we began including practical "tests" to double as a gauge for certain skill sets and to pre-train the soon-to-be moderators. Once all applications are received, all interested staff members look at the practical applications (with any sensitive information removed by me first) and provide input on which users they feel are best suited for the position. Once a certain length of time has passed where mods can give their opinions, I make the final decision.
However, if the queue is becoming longer and only a few hands would be needed to relieve the burden, then the Database Moderators and I will try to nominate a few users suited to the task. This is usually done by looking at the queue for regular, high-quality submissions that demonstrate the contributor knows the database and guidelines quite well. Once the nominees are agreed upon, I will contact them privately with the opportunity and ask them to respond explaining why they would be interested in the position. While I am a strong advocate for site-wide application processes (probably the strongest advocate on staff), they truly are a lot of work and are not worth it when only a few people are needed.
Database Moderators have minimal staff-related contact with the community. What we're looking for primarily are users that have passion, dedication, can understand and implement the guidelines, have an excellent eye for detail, and know how to google. We will not take any users that we feel cannot work in a team or who we see are abusive to the community, but the position's emphasis is on solitary work, not social.
Community Moderators, on the other hand, are (as per definition) in constant contact with the community. While all of the above is still important, people skills obviously takes the highest precedence.
When we need new Forum Moderators, each existing Forum Mod will try to nominate multiple users for consideration. The Forum Moderating team and myself then discuss these users to determine who will receive an offer to apply. Once agreed, I send these users a PM which includes the duties and required skills expected of the position.
We also caution the nominees at this time to consider their decision to apply carefully because being a forum mod is often a thankless and stressful job.
Beginning September 2013, we added a "practical" test to this process as well which simulates some problems nominees will need to solve as a moderator. Once the answers are collected, the Forum Moderators review them and provide input on which users they feel are best suited for the position. Database Moderators are not included in this process because they are not privy to the community information that Forum Moderators and Admins are.
After applications are conducted (all types of mods), any threads/comments about the recruiting process are removed. New moderators that are brought on board do not see each other's responses/results to the test, nor do they see the potential users that didn't make the cut or declined. This is only practical; you wouldn't see the results of a recruiting process in a real job either.
Open Application Process
To increase our pool of possible nominees for internal recruitments, and allow users a place to show interest in becoming a moderator outside of site-wide recruitment processes, I have created this thread and an accompanying bot account. In this thread, you will find duties for each respective moderator type and details on how to submit an open application for that position. Please do not send a general staff application. You should choose which position you think would suit your strengths and interests best.
If we are looking for a few new hands and are interested in your application, you will receive a PM from me with details about a second round. This may be days or months after your application, so please do not expect a response.
- Anime DB Moderator
- Manga DB Moderator
- Forum Moderator
- News Moderator
- SNS Moderator
Modified by Kineta, Mar 8, 11:26 AM
Oct 5, 2015 6:00 AM
Anime DB Moderator
An Anime Moderator's duties include, but are not limited to:
Site-wide recruitments for Anime Moderators occur approximately every 2 years.
The last recruitment ended in Dec 2015. The next recruitment is expected: Now (Accepting Apps).
Please add at least 3 anime entries to the database, doing your best to closely follow the Anime DB Guidelines, before submitting an open application. Then you may send my bot a PM including the following:
You can further demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills by contributing edits and additions to our databases regularly.
Modified by Kineta, Mar 12, 1:36 PM
Oct 5, 2015 6:00 AM
Manga DB Moderator
A Manga Moderator's duties include, but are not limited to:
Site-wide recruitments for Manga Moderators occur approximately every 2 years.
The last recruitment ended in July 2019. The next recruitment is expected: Now (Accepting Apps).
Please add at least 5 manga entries to the database, doing your best to closely follow the Manga DB Guidelines and How to Find Manga Information threads, before submitting an open application. Then you may send my bot a PM including the following:
You can demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills beyond an open application by contributing edits and additions to our databases regularly.
Modified by Kineta, Aug 22, 8:46 AM
Oct 5, 2015 6:00 AM
A Forum Moderator's duties include, but are not limited to:
Forum Moderators must:
Site-wide recruitments for Forum Moderators are conducted internally, and occur approximately every year.
The last recruitment ended in Sept 2017. The next recruitment is expected: TBD (Not Accepting Apps).
If you would like to submit an open application for a Forum Moderator position, please send my bot a PM including the following:
You can demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills beyond an open application by conducting yourself in a manner befitting a Forum Moderator, and submitting abuse reports for threads/posts which break major forum rules (i.e. abuse, not every single spam post).
The following is an excerpt from a post I made in the MAL Staff Expands thread in Autumn 2013. It addresses many common, recurring concerns about Forum Moderator hiring. I invite you to either read the full post or the selection below:
Why Wasn't X Invited to be a Moderator?
Every post you make on the forum and every comment you make to other users on the site is your Forum Moderator application. When you do not follow the Site & Forum Guidelines, encourage/contribute to derailing and spamming, and abuse other users with insults, harassment and aggressive language, you are demonstrating that you are not capable of being a Forum Moderator.
This is like submitting information that violates the DB Guidelines over and over again, yet thinking you'll be chosen to be a Database Moderator because "the staff must be able to see how great a mod I'd be". We don't expect you to have the correct answer for every forum action, but we do expect that you'll be putting the necessary people skills into practice already. This is because we need moderators who we can trust are not going to reply "lol asshole" when they are dealing with angry users. We need moderators who we can trust to keep a calm head when users lose their cool - or who can ask for help from another mod or me if they feel they can't.
Trust in a user's community skills is not something that can be demonstrated on an application form; it is earned through the user's general behaviour on the site. Your posts on the forum now are your references for your application. If we like your references, then we'll consider asking you for a resume.
I've heard on many occasions, "If I were a moderator, I would clean up my act and wouldn't post all the bullshit I do now". To which my response is, why aren't you doing it already? If you truly care about MAL, are truly passionate about the forum, then why are you contributing to the trash on it? And then somehow blame the forum mods for it being so messy.
Our community is what all of us make of it, and I truly mean that. If you want to be a Forum Moderator because you want to improve MAL - and not because you just want the power - then start improving it now. Reporting is only one part of that; the bulk of it comes from your posts.
Don't add to the mess. Don't encourage rule violations. Don't address rule violations; report them. Don't insult other users. Don't talk down to other users. Try your very best to not fight with other users and report it if it becomes a problem. Don't spam. Don't quote-chain for the fun of it because "lol a mod will just clean it later". Don't be a hit-and-run poster.
Show us you can discuss with users you aren't buddies with. Show us you can have interesting discussions in threads which are not your own. Show us you can debate issues without losing your temper. Show us you can walk away from a fight. Show us you can report things at the first instance of trouble and not 5 pages later - if it's reported at all. Show us you can have a basic level of consideration for every user on the site.
Contribute, and contribute well.
And if you do manage to receive a warning or a ban from a moderator, don't ignore it or come to IRC, demanding the ban length indignantly while assuming that you were not at fault. Instead, try to actually discuss what it is that you did to incur the ban. If it truly was a misunderstanding and the moderator did not have all of the information (unlikely but mistakes happen), discussing things will help to correct the situation. If it wasn't a misunderstanding but you did break the rules, then you can find out how you can improve so that you don't repeat the offense.
If you truly know what you did was wrong so well that you don't need to ask why or discuss the situation, then the question that begs to be asked is: why did you do it in the first place? Assuming the moderator banned you for "nothing" gets neither you nor the staff - nor the community - anywhere.
If more of the community behaved as I described above, not only would MAL be a better place but we'd have more moderators to choose from, too. Do you honestly think we want to keep the number of Forum Moderators as small as possible? Less mods means more work for everyone. But our biggest limitation at this point - and has been for an increasingly long time - is lack of candidates, either through unsuitability or declines to our invitations to apply.
Concerns About Forum Moderators
Yes, time and dedication is important for being a staff member. If moderators don't have time to moderate, they shouldn't be moderators. It is not fair to the community nor to their fellow teammates if they hold a position in name only. Every moderator has been told this and is reminded if they stop holding up their end of the weight.
But moderators aren't superhumans and they often get paid in complaints. We have only a small number of Forum Moderators compared to how many regularly posting users? At least a few hundred? Why is the onus only on them to improve MAL when they don't even have time to post (outside of a mod capacity) because they're too busy cleaning up after everyone else?
You cannot judge how active a moderator is based on how many reports of yours he replies to nor how many threads he locks/moves/merges. For one, not all reports are equal. If a thread is made in the wrong board, the report can be quite simple and only take 5-10 minutes: move the thread, PM the OP saying it was moved and why, remove any rule violations in the post (usually users reprimanding the OP for posting in the wrong board, breaking rule I.6), contact the violator as necessary, and reply to the report.
In comparison, an insult reported on page 3 of a thread can take over an hour. The moderator needs to read all messages in the thread, determine where the argument started, identify all posts that are violating the rules and whether they need to be edited/removed, actually remove/edit the necessary posts, check the user histories of any violators to determine which user(s) need to be warned/banned, write out any warnings/bans (both to the user and to our internal list), and respond to the report.
If it is a straightforward thread, this can already be quite a bit of time - which is why you will see threads "locked for cleaning" to prevent the offending posts from being quoted/replied to. If it is a complicated thread, then the moderator may need to confer with another mod - either one who recently warned/banned an offender or to get a second opinion on what should be done with the thread/posts. The queried moderator also then needs to have a look through the thread to give an informed statement. This is why if the argument/derailment spans multiple pages of a long thread, the moderator may decide the topic isn't worth the time spent to save it and will permanently lock it.
And if, while the moderator is spending >1hr working on this thread, a banned user comes on IRC to discuss their ban, then the moderator needs to stop what they're doing to discuss with that user. Speaking with banned users can take 10-15 minutes or over an hour themselves, depending on the offense and the user.
This means that what appears to be a 3 hour wait for your report to be handled could actually be two or three mods working on the forum and on the report queue at that given time, but being busy moderating other reports/topics and speaking with users (in a mod capacity) on IRC. It takes time to deal with threads. Once a post or thread is removed, it's gone for good. The moderator needs to feel confident that he is aware of the situation and not just the viewpoint of the reporting user.
For these reasons, the other moderators and I have a much better idea of which mods are doing what than the community does. We do not keep moderators on staff who do not contribute; I think the retired staff list is proof enough of that (now outnumbering our current staff). However, moderators are allowed to take hiatus for some time due to vacation or other real life matters and - while shared with the other moderators so that we know our workload will increase in advance - this is not something the community is notified about.
While I agree that the nominees should be active enough in the community to know the regular users in the main forum, if the nominees are too knowing - and not trustworthy due to their behaviour - then the situation becomes ripe for biased moderators. "These guys are my buddies so I'll let them off, but damn I hate that fool so he gets a ban." Furthermore, just because you interact with regular users on the forum day-to-day doesn't mean that you know the user from a moderator perspective. For any user, becoming a Forum Moderator is an adjustment and the senior mods are here to help ramp them up as fast and smoothly as possible.
No new moderator is perfect when they are hired (and even old moderators make mistakes from time to time). The announcement thread is partly a way for the community to welcome the new staff, but it's also there to say: "Hey, these guys are new, cut them some slack while we get them settled in". To turn this thread into a place where the new Forum Moderators are berated publicly for their first mistakes is really very sad and inconsiderate.
If the new mods are making mistakes that you think the rest of the team isn't aware of (because we're watching them like hawks in the beginning to help them), then you can send one of us a PM discussing your concerns with us. The reason we prefer to discuss issues like this in PM is because in public, concerns quickly spiral into complaints which spiral into rants, which then turn into full blown mod-bashing and drama.
Constructive criticism is welcome and even desired. If there are hours that you feel aren't moderated well enough, then contact one of us and tell us which those are. If there are things you feel could have been handled differently, or you want to get clarification on why something was done a certain way, then feel free to message and ask. We'd prefer you message us where and when we can have a reasonable conversation together about the issue, before all of your frustration builds up and moves past the breaking point.
Mod-bashing is bad because it creates an us vs. them situation, rife with emotion and not logic. And when we're all here to contribute to our community as best as we can, this does not make for a good environment. I don't want our community to be a place where we can't have a simple welcome thread for new faces to the team without it becoming a place for people to berate each other.
Modified by Kineta, Jul 3, 5:36 PM
Oct 5, 2015 6:00 AM
A News Moderator's duties include, but are not limited to:
Site-wide recruitments for News Moderators occur approximately every 1.5 years.
The last recruitment ended in August 2017. The next recruitment is expected: Always (Advanced JP readers), TBD (non-JP readers).
If you would like to submit an open application for a News Moderator position, please send my bot a PM including the following:
You can demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills beyond an open application by contributing news stories and/or responding helpfully in news threads.
Modified by Kineta, Jul 3, 5:37 PM
Oct 5, 2015 6:00 AM
A Review Moderator's duties include, but are not limited to:
Review Moderators must:
Site-wide recruitments for Review Moderators are conducted internally, and occur approximately every year.
The last recruitment ended in February 2018. The next recruitment is expected: TBD (Not Accepting Apps).
If you would like to submit an open application for a Review Moderator position, please send my bot a PM including the following:
You can demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills beyond an open application by engaging writers in a positive manner (giving constructive feedback), writing reviews yourself, and/or submitting reports for reviews/recs which break the guidelines.
Modified by Kineta, Aug 22, 8:45 AM
May 19, 2016 1:39 PM
Social Media Team Member
A Social Media Moderator's duties include, but are not limited to:
Social Media Moderators must:
Site-wide recruitments for Social Media Team Members occur approximately every year.
The last recruitment ended in August 2017. The next recruitment is expected: Now (Accepting Apps).
If you would like to submit an open application for a Social Media Team Member position, please send my bot a PM including the following:
You can demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills beyond an open application by messaging one of our Social Media Team with content ideas.
Modified by Kineta, Jul 3, 5:37 PM
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