Ravelry for Dummies: 10 Tips for Moderators

 OK, so you’re really proud of your brandnew shiny Ravelry group.

 Now what?

 Here’s 10 tips, tricks and facts that will help your successful moderating career, and keep your group growing and vibrant. Most of the questions answered here are ones that I’ve asked myself—and answered many times since—when I was new to moderating.

  • Start With A Bang

 Nothing can replace enthusiastic members who participate without encouragement, but you can do your part to start your group with a bang. Most successful groups take off in the first few days, and in those first few days, you need to create loyalty among your members. If your group handles panic or anxiety attacks, you could start off with a compelling question like, “How Do You Avoid Your Triggers?” Or, “Do You Still Sleep with Your Teddy Bear?”. Ask something that is relevant–and interesting— to your members.

  • How to Edit a Thread: Quick Fact

 How do you sticky an important thread, or maybe lock an outdated one? Click on the thread, and at the top, you’ll see a little pencil right next to the thread name. That’s your moderator pencil of power–click on it! From there, you can sticky your thread, mark a controversial discussion as heated, or even whoosh a redundant thread to another.

  • Jump in Feet First

 Nothing is more boring than a moderator who doesn’t seem excited about their own group. If you’re excited about the group, LET IT SHOW! Hop in your group feet first, and maybe start a knit or crochet a long of a relevant project. Above all, don’t disappear. If you’re going to be gone, make sure that your members know why you aren’t responding to their messages. Apathy is killer.

  • Be Patient

 I know that I said most successful groups take off with a bang, but I’ll admit something—not all of my groups have. Never, ever post deragatory posts about your members, or how this group doesn’t seem to be working out, yada yada. You’re the moderator, you make it work—and just wait a little bit! Sometimes, it takes some time.

  • Ask For Help!

 Do you have a member who is consistently helpful, kind and (most importantly) is active in the group? Consider making them a moderator—some groups only need one or two, but others can use 3, 4, or even more moderators to help keep the group a vibrant, growing and safe community. You can’t always be there. I’ve had to ask fellow moderators to cover my back when I have been sick or traveling and they have always been there for me.

  • Shut the (—) Up!

 I’m a naturally enthusiastic and loudmouthed person, and I love my moderator hat. But sometimes, you just need to shut up, take off the hat, and listen to your members. One member of mine came up with a brilliant idea that I never would have myself—she suggested doing a round robin letter writing event, and I should be getting a letter in the mail soon. It’s a great way to connect with the other members, and if you never shut up, you will drown out the genius in your group!

  • Rosencrantz & My Group Are Dead

 You’ve tried—really tried— to make a great group. But your group is dead, dead, deader than a doornail. The last post (that wasn’t yours) was three months ago. Guess what? It’s not permanent. Take a deep breath—and look at your own approach to the group. Maybe Knitters for World Peace can’t knit 80,000 sweaters to protest war. But maybe you can all pledge to buy only yarn from fair-trade companies, and you can help to encourage each other to stick to this for an entire year. People get excited when they feel like they have something to give.

  • Help, My Group is Running Away and I Can’t Keep Up!

 Is your group tripling its membership every day? Are the posts multiplying before your eyes like pagan icons of fertility rabbits? Again, a trusted moderator can help lighten your load considerably—if you’re unsure of who to pick, again, look at a member who shows diplomacy, kindness and tact, and ask them! Most won’t turn you down.

  • I Hate My Group

 Maybe you’ve had to deal with a lot of controversy in your group lately, and it’s wearing you down. A super negative member repeatedly taxes your last nerve, and you resist an urge to abuse your moderator power of delete on their posts. Once more, I stress the important of a trusted moderator— and then step back from the situation a bit. The world is not ending. You are not mean or bad because you have to reprove a member. If you remember to (1) never post in anger, and (2) get a little real life perspective. Walk the cat, comb your hair, and only ever vent to family members or close and trusted friends.

  • Brainstorm—on paper

 If you need more ideas for your group, turn off the computer, pick up a piece of paper and a pen, and do some brainstorming on paper. Look at the focus of your group. What do you want your group to become? Pick three words that you want your group to embody, and choose three ways to make that happen.

There you have it, 10 ways to boot up and improve your group.

 If you’re another Ravelry moderator, or maybe you’d like to start a group, but maybe you’d like more basic information on how to do this, leave a comment! I’d love to answer your questions, or hear your perspective as a moderator!

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April 9, 2008. ravelry.

2 Comments

  1. Kristina replied:

    interesting tutorial! Well written too. Thanks!

  2. Bernard replied:

    This is really helpful. I never thought that moderating a RAVELRY group would take so much finese–but like most things I guess it takes work.

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