Moderation Guidelines

Ensuring that your community platforms are safe and enjoyable for all of your participants/members is essential for your community’s long term health.
That’s where community moderation becomes important.
By choosing to maintain an account in the online community, members agree to abide by your community guidelines.

To protect the community forum and give your users the benefit of the doubt, I would recommend to implement a three-strike policy. If you have it from the start, you will always have your policy to fall back on while making moderation decisions.

How to Set up a Three-Strike Policy

Strike 1: Educate

Give written warning to the member who has violated the guidelines. They most likely had no idea what they were doing was not allowed. Educate them on what happened, why their post was reported or removed, and guide them on how they can engage in more positive ways.

Strike 2: Moderate

There are no more excuses at this point. But you should still listen to the user. Send a second written warning of the violation, offering to talk on the phone or via video chat about the violation and what community means to you.

Strike 3: Remove

Suspend access to the community and send a final notification to the offending member. Based on the severity of the offense, it is up to your team to determine whether this is a temporary or permanent removal.

Note: Maintain a spreadsheet with a list of people with moderation issues in the past and how many strikes they’ve received, clearly documenting these issues so that you can back up your claims when you do remove the member.

Handling Violations in Public

You don’t want to publicly shame members, but if the flagged post has been already seen by everyone and you can’t remove it,here’s what you should do:

  1. Respond to the thread by stating that the post violated the community guidelines, explaining why, and linking to the community guidelines.
  2. Close the thread.
  3. If necessary, remove the thread. It’s up to you whether you want it to remain as an example of transparency and accountability or whether it should be taken down. Of course, it depends on the type of violation and your community guidelines.

Listen to Your Community

When something goes wrong, instead of shutting down, listen. Reaching out to vocal or dissatisfied users personally demonstrates that you are concerned, you are listening, and you are working to resolve the issue.
This small gesture will make a big difference.

I have made the following Escalation Process :

First WarningSecond WarningThird warning
Minor offenseSend a Personal message and educate about offenseSend a stronger personal message and a reminder about next action.
Give user a chance to appeal
(offer to talk on phone or via video chat)
Temporary Ban
Medium offenseSend a stronger personal message and a reminder about next action.Give user a chance to appeal
(offer to talk on phone or via video chat)
& Temporary Ban
Permanent Ban
Major offenseGive user a chance to appeal
(offer to talk on phone or via video chat)
& Temporary Ban
Permanent Ban

Ultimately, the moderation guidelines you establish for your community will help you to
fall back on while making moderation decisions.

There is no one-size-fits-all moderation guidelines. Your community will have its own set of needs and challenges. Determine which rules are most important for your specific mission and culture.

Community Guidelines Template

Community guidelines exist to support the healthy and open discussions in community.
When most members join a new community, they are encouraged to read the community guidelines first.
Most community managers and/or moderators will direct new members here to get an understanding of the community before diving in. This is because community guidelines are essentially the template for how your community acts and behaves, as they tell your members what type of behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t.
Making sure your community guidelines are clear and well written should be a top priority for any community manager.

Here’s a template to help you write your own community guidelines :

Welcome to the <your community name> Community.
The purpose of community guidelines is to encourage healthy and open discussion, which has always been a part of our culture. They contribute to the creation of an environment in which we can work together as a community to achieve our common goal and serve our users.

Let us work together to create a community and environment that is positive, helpful, safe and encouraging for everyone.

  1. Be Respectful:

    This is a shared community resource that benefits everyone, so please be civil and treat each discussion and interaction with respect, and provide constructive feedback at all times. These guidelines are intended to foster a community in which everyone, regardless of their background, feels safe to participate, share new ideas, and inspire others, regardless of: Gender, Gender identity or expression, Sex, Sexual orientation, Native language, Age, Race and/or ethnicity, Caste, National origin, Religion, Geographic location or any other dimension of diversity. You can respectfully disagree with another member by maintaining a positive tone and making constructive comments. The discussions that take place here set the tone for everyone. Discussions and posts created to elicit a strong negative or emotional reaction are not permitted.

  2. Be Inclusive:

    Seek diverse perspectives. Diversity of viewpoints and people on teams drives innovation, even if it isn’t always comfortable. Encourage all voices. Allow new perspectives to be heard and actively listen. Respect and facilitate people’s participation by being inclusive of everyone in a conversation. Our goal should not be to win every argument or disagreement. A more productive goal is to be open to ideas that improve our own. Make an effort to set a good example of inclusive thinking. When different perspectives enrich and strengthen our work, we are said to be winning.

  3. Be Helpful:

    The heart of <your community name> Community is people. We prioritize people and strive to recognize, appreciate and respect the diversity of our contributors. Help make this a community that can rely on each other for help. Take the time to respond to questions when you believe you have expertise that can help your peers. To maintain a positive environment, keep your comments constructive and encouraging.

  4. Be Thankful:

    Let someone know you appreciate them, their ideas or perspectives. Peer validation means the world to people. You can express gratitude by clicking the like button next to an answer. You can also respond to the post to express your gratitude and show what specifically helped solve your problem.

  5. Be Mindful & Organized:

    Before starting a new topic, try searching for it. Your question or concern may have already been addressed by another member. Don’t post the same thing in different topics. Instead of interrupting another conversation if you can’t find an answer, start a new topic. To ensure that questions are answered, keep your contributions relevant to the discussion or topic. This entails providing sufficient details in both your questions and responses. Spamming or off-topic posting will result in a review of the content and possible removal.

  6. Be Yourself:

    We admire and appreciate your individuality. We encourage you to contribute in community according to your expertise and interests. Respect other people’s work as well, do not copy and paste content from another source without the express permission of the content’s owner.

  7. Be Informed:

    As a community member, you are accountable for following these guidelines, as well as our Code of Conduct. Moderators have special authority in the community. Moderators can serve as community facilitators with your assistance. If you believe you’re experiencing unacceptable behaviour, you can simply report any behaviour that violates our community guidelines. If a sufficient number of reports are raised, action will be taken, either automatically or through moderator intervention.
    To report content, use the “Report as Inappropriate” <add you own instructions to report content according to your community platform> to alert the community team.

  8. Be Careful before sharing your Personal Information:

    Respect your own privacy as well as the privacy of others. Do no share or ask any personal (home address, email id, contact number, bank details, etc.) or sensitive (usernames or passwords) information in community discussions or posts.

  9. Affiliate/referral links or Spam or Advertising:

    Posts or discussions containing affiliate links, referral links, confidential information, spam, selling, or advertising are not permitted in the community. Such posts will be removed and you will be warned by a Community Moderator.
    Copyright infringement may occur if you upload other people’s work.

    Need Help ?

    We want to provide you with the best community experience possible. You can send us your thoughts and feedback regarding the community or if you have a community related question, email us at
    < add your community email address > We are delighted to assist.

    Thank you for reading and helping to keep this community platform we’re all proud to be a part of !

Ultimately, the rules and guidelines you establish for your community will make it clear from the start what your expectations are for your members.

There is no one-size-fits-all community guidelines. Your community will have its own set of needs and challenges. Determine which rules are most important for your specific mission and culture.

Once a Hackathon Participant, Now a Judge

Over the past several years, I’ve had a chance to participate in various hackathons. But it wasn’t until few months back that I got to experience a hackathon from the other side, as a judge.
The event was India wide Hackathon REVA HACK organized by Google Developer Students Club of REVA University. There were many sponsors for the Hackathon.
I was invited by REVA university to Judge a Hackathon, I was excited and was looking forward to watching participants create interesting projects from scratch, then present them to us.

There were total 3 Judging Rounds. The criteria for judging is based on functionality, design, creativity and execution.
There were so many interesting ideas – from apps that helped to detect skin cancer to apps that made loan process easy to others which helped in securing your desktop files and many more innovative projects were developed.

Being part of the Hackathon Discord group was a great experience. All the teams worked hard throughout the Hackathon, mentors were very helpful and by seeing the Discord Community chats it seemed that the Speaker sessions were very helpful for participants.

There were different Tracks in the Hackathon like Healthcare, Cloud Computing, AI & ML,etc.
There were 10 winners in total. There were Cash prizes and goodies for the winners. Cash prizes for tracks. Certificate for all the participants.

Being a judge, and watching the process from a different perspective was fun and inspiring. It was an honor to see the great ideas and meet the teams who developed them.

The Winners were the teams who exceeded expectations. They did things that were more than required. 
The experience, creativity and execution of the builders are the key factors for success. These factors set apart competing teams. The ones who did well had a clear well thought out plan for execution. They were calm under pressure and they were having fun.

REVA Hack was very well run, and I am willing to support well run hackathons because I think it’s an important way for developers & students to develop real programming skills.

Why you should participate in Hackathons ?

Hackathon is a social coding event which brings together Developers, Designers, Product Leaders, Hardware enthusiasts and coolest partners for usually weekend of hacking.
There are many reasons to participate in hackathon, I have listed down few important skills and benefits one can get by participating in hackathons.

What Hackathon offers you ?

  • Expand your comfort zone : It can be very easy to remain in your comfort zone, doing things you know how to do and never really challenging yourself. At hackathons you will be constantly challenged to push yourself and move outside your comfort zone. Hackathons Challenges you to expand your comfort zone. If you want to learn programming or software design, hackathon is the place to push your skills to the next level. 
  • Inspiring learning environment : If you usually learn at University then hackathon is definitely altogether a different and amazing place to learn. 
  • Mentoring and Support : There is always help available for hackers, so you can ask for help and learn faster from experienced mentors readily available to help you.
  • Working under pressure : Usually hackathons have a time limit from 24 to 48 hours which both inspires and challenges you.
  • Teambuilding skills : Working in a team is one of the important skill which you will learn at hackathon. You can build your team beforehand or find team members via organizer’s social channels before the hackathon. Use this possibility to improve your people skills. You learn how to work efficiently, how to work as a team and how you can put your skills to work in a quick-turn environment.

    Hackathons are a great way to discover new talents, passions and skills.
    If you participate in Hackathon then this will be an unforgettable experience for you.
    It might exhaust you, tire you, but you will definitely learn about yourself and the industry. It will be worth it. There will be a sense of feeling of accomplishment because at hackathons you get things done because there is a deadline and aim.
    In the process of Hackathon, students also pick up important collaborative and communication skills that recruiters look for during placements.

    So whether you are a Student or an Experienced Developer you must participate in a Hackathon.
    I have personally participated in various Hackathons, being a Judge and Speaker at India wide Hackathons.

Speaker at Hack Gujarat & Microsoft Inspire

Speaker at Hack Gujarat & Microsoft Inspire.

In this session I talked about how Slack GitHub are excellent collaborative Platforms for Hackathons and how it can help hackathon participants to collaborate, build and work remotely. I also talked about how Twilio can be used for developing a Collaborative Platform.

I came to know that Hackathon Organizers got inspired by my talk & have created a Slack Workspace for Hackathon and are organizing the complete mentoring, communication & collaboration part of Hackathon using Slack.
Some interesting statistics : In just 3 days there are 350+ participants using Slack Workspace at their Hackathon.

Benefits of Hosting Virtual Events for Community Managers

As we all know Corona virus is already a global pandemic. Many software developers and IT professionals in general have already turned to work-from-home mode as the official guideline is to STAY HOME.
There’s been a large amount of change over the last couple of months due to the impact of COVID-19 on
in-person events.
As I’ve spent much of my last 6 years leading, mentoring, building & being involved with community events I thought I’d share some tips and insights I’ve gained over this time on what you need to consider for going online.

Major benefits of hosting virtual events :

  1. It Costs nothing : With a virtual event, organizers tend to save on logistical costs such as venue rental or other hospitality expenses such as Food & Refreshments, Insurance, Accommodation (which is applicable for a multi-day event such as conferences) & many other costs involved in organizing an in-person event.
  2. Accessibility : If you are thinking about accessibility then Virtual events are more accessible than
    in-person events, with the captioning and ease of attending from comfort of your own setup.
    Virtual conferences can be quite powerful, and can be scaled to thousands of attendees that would be very difficult to gather in-person.
    And yes online meetups and round-tables give your members an opportunity to have intimate discussions from the comfort of their home.
  3. Wider Geography : Another important thing is you can now expand your meetup to a wider geography since physical barriers are not an issue. By running it online, your event becomes more accessible to a global audience. Organizers can now combat space constraints which they faced while organizing in-person events. So by choosing a platform suitable for your event, you will be able to potentially house a bigger audience without the limitations of a physical space constraint.
  4. Inclusivity : I feel Online events are great to drive Inclusivity. In-person events usually take place in the evenings or at weekends and at venues that aren’t always accessible to all. Such arrangements exclude people who face logistical or any other difficulties in attending meetups.
    In Online events people can tune in from anywhere. On top of that, live captioning helps people who struggle with accents and speed of speech from various speakers.
  5. Wider Audience : Your event can reach wider audience, Online events can have a much wider reach than In-person events. Think of all the members you miss at In-person events because of schedules and budget costs. Think of students and international members as well.
    For example, one of the global developer Summit gathered around 1000 people in-person last year. They had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the event and worked on it year round.
    Now they are hosting a Global summit, which will be a free virtual conference and it’s estimated that they will have well over around 3000 people in attendance. And they have put this event together in just one month.

But if you think from a numbers standpoint, companies are able to drive many more leads, and grow their audience much more quickly than they do with an in-person conference.

When a company allows their community to host virtual events, they can actually scale up a MASSIVE virtual content program quite fast.

Power of Personal Growth in Communities at TEDxpress

I had a wonderful time being a Speaker at TEDxpress- Ideas Empowered.
I talked about Power of Personal Growth in Communities.
Received amazing feedback after the talk. Enjoyed sharing my experiences and how community helps an individual improve soft skills, communication & growing personal & professional brands.

Featured in Slack Frontiers Conference

Excited to share that I was featured as Chapter Leader of Slack Community Pune during amazing Slack Frontiers Conference 

Featured in Keynote video of CMX Summit – the biggest gathering of Community Professionals

Excited to share that I am featured in the Keynote video of CMX Summit – the biggest gathering of Community Professionals ! Truly an honor to be featured along with Founder of CMX