Calling all prospective moderators!

Calling all prospective moderators!

UPDATE: I’ll be cutting off submissions/applications for the first round of testers at the end of day on Friday, May 1st, 2009. Please get your applications in by then!


You heard right: I’m looking for a few good Protagonists to act as moderators on the site starting sometime in the next few weeks.

I’ve got a bunch of huge new site features coming before the summer rolls in, and these new bits and pieces are going to require some active site members to act as moderators. I’m hoping to eventually have between 3 to 5 moderators from around the world to be able to handle day-to-day moderation duties on the site and in the new areas I’ll be adding when I’m either not available… or I’m asleep, which happens pretty often when we’re dealing with many of our European members.

Protagonize is now up and over 5,300 participating authors, which is starting to become a bit of a logistical nightmare for one person (err, me) to moderate effectively. Thankfully, I’ve already got a couple of lovely authors who volunteered to act as moderators months ago, and they’ve been helping me out regularly (and unofficially) by policing the site quietly and letting me know about any dust-ups or heated arguments that I haven’t noticed and need to intervene on. That’s exactly what I’ll expect from moderators in the future, except once I roll out the next round of major updates, they’ll actually have the power to do some of the work themselves.

What that boils down to is that I’ll probably be recruiting up to three members as new moderators (possibly more if you make the decision tough on me), in addition to the two I have lined up right now. I’ll also be picking people from around the world, as what time zone you live/work in is almost as important as your zeal for moderation. I’m particularly interested in adding at least one European moderator. (Hint, hint.)

What are the benefits of being a moderator?

  • First off, being a moderator is not a paid position. It’s strictly volunteer, and you won’t be compensated in any way other than the prestige (ahem) of being a moderator in an awesome, thriving creative writing community like Protagonize. You will, however, be provided with some powers that regular members don’t have access to. And you’ll get a shiny moderator icon to display proudly on your profile. :)
  • On top of that, moderators will have access to a private discussion area on Protagonize where all moderatorial (is that a word?) duties and issues that crop up on the site can be reviewed by the moderation team.
  • Down the road, moderators will also get to beta-test new site features as well, but that’s not quite ready yet. And they’ll probably be the first to get some Protagonize schwag, once I decide what to have made. :)
  • Moderators will be granted a free pro account, once they go live on the site. No, don’t ask me for details just yet; suffice it to say that you’ll be getting access to some really cool new features at no charge.

Another thing to note here is that moderators are not administrators. I’m still the boss, and what I say goes. True, moderators have some power, but they don’t have absolute authority. If they act out of turn, or people start complaining about abuses of power or a reputation for heavy-handedness, I can take that moderator icon away just as easily as I can give it to you. Something to keep in mind.

What are the requirements for becoming a moderator?

  • If you’ve only been on the site for a few weeks or you haven’t really participated much in the site’s community, this probably isn’t the role for you. Our moderators need to be active Protagonize members who’ve been with us for at least a few months, and haven’t gone for weeks on end without being active on the site.
  • I’m looking for respected community members on the site; particularly people who get involved in discussion with other authors regularly, are proactively helping out by putting out fires, greeting new members, and generally being model citizens: helpful, courteous, and outspoken. You don’t need to be a prolific writer, but you do need to be passionate about Protagonize, and enthusiastic about helping out your fellow authors.
  • Make sure you have the time to commit to moderation duties. I’m not asking you to read everything on the site (I built those reporting tools for a reason!), and I’m not expecting you to be online for hours every day. What I would appreciate is if you check in regularly, hopefully once a day at least (unless you’re off on holiday, etc.) and keep the rest of the moderators updated on anything you’ve seen every few days.
  • Don’t be shy! At least, not online. :) I want a selection of moderators who are deeply involved in the community from all aspects. They should have their profiles filled out, have a photo, and not be afraid to make their presence felt and heard. We need to show everyone that our moderators are real people, too, and having a photo and bio up will help other authors relate to you.
  • Cool, calm, level-headed folks will have the upper hand when applying. The most important thing I’ve learned in running a large community singlehandedly for the last 15 months is actually something I’ve known for years: if you act rashly, overreact to a situation, or don’t take the time to think things through, you’re probably going to screw it up and make things worse than they already are. Having the patience to let something go and sleep on it is a virtue in community moderation. If you’ve shown this kind of maturity on the site the past, you’ll have an easier time applying.
  • Moderator status means you will actively represent and promote Protagonize both on the site and in the creative writing community as a whole. In addition to being active on the site, I’d expect our moderators to take that level-headed and patient nature to the other writing communities they belong to outside of Protagonize. If you could promote our site to the outside world, even better. Just make sure to behave yourselves off the site, too. :)

Finally, don’t apply if…

  • Moderation shouldn’t feel like work. The people I’m bringing on as moderators should enjoy their new role and if that’s not something you relish, best you don’t apply.
  • If you’ve got a reputation for being a hothead, being hyper-sensitive to feedback or criticism, being a jackass to other authors, or for being overly argumentative on the site, this position is definitely not for you.
  • If you’ve been reported for anything that I’ve reviewed and resolved in a negative way (i.e. if you have a red “reported” flag on your profile), you’re probably better off not applying.

Think you’ve got what it takes?

I think that pretty much sums it up. I’ll be taking applicants over the next few weeks, and I’ll notify those I’ve selected as soon as I make a decision. Once I’ve filled my quota of moderators, I’ll update this post to mention that applications are closed, and let you all know on the blog who all has been selected.

Interested in applying to be a Protagonize moderator? Don’t post a comment here — email me directly and let me know the 5 reasons why you’d make an awesome moderator. No more, no less.

I’m looking forward to seeing your submissions. You’re all amazing authors — so impress me! :)

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11 Responses to Calling all prospective moderators!

  1. smac972 says:

    Free “Pro Account”? Huh? Oh shit. Not wanting to be a “Cassandra” or anything…

  2. Nick says:

    Don’t worry, everything you get for free right now will stay free. Pro accounts will have additional features on top of the stuff you see now.

  3. CheshireGrin says:

    Yay! So glad this is finally going live, Nick, so you can get some help on all this sort of stuff so you can have more time (not at 4am!) to work on the totally sexy coding stuff that is your forte! Nice job advertising the moderator applications too!

  4. Tad Winslow says:

    The cat in that pic looks like a cold blooded mouse killer. I don’t think that cat is moderator material. J/K

  5. Tad Winslow says:

    The language has changed in the requirements part. It’s much nicer now. Did you sleep on it?

  6. Nick says:

    Just clarified a couple of things.

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  8. Sareneth says:

    Aww, darn. For me, Protag was love at first site (sorry, I had to make that pun. Honestly HAD to), but I’ve only been a member for…er, less than 24 hours. Still.

    And I’m in a European timezone, too. D=

    Give me a few months and I’ll be bouncing up and down for any positions like this. Where’s a time machine when I need it? =(

  9. Nick says:

    Well, there’s no harm in applying. Actually, the folks who apply as moderators and don’t make the first round may still get something cool for their efforts. :)

    And in addition, when I eventually start looking for more moderators, there’s good odds that the first people I look at are the folks who didn’t make the first round of selections. So showing interest now can’t hurt.

  10. Verse47 says:

    I came across this through google. Weird haha :) I didn’t even know our mods had to apply for this- I thought Nick just picked out some qualified people for the job. I, like Sarenth, wish I had a time machine! Nick, if you’re ever looking to add to the team, I’d be more than happy to apply :)


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