Forum Roles

Differences between administration and moderation.
Admin = administrator.
Mod = moderator.
Mod = a modification, anything that changes the forum software or adds functionality.
OP = original post or original poster, in forum context.
OP = overpowered, in gaming context.
Sections = one or more boards.
Topics = discussions = threads.
Posts = a reply, an answer, to the original post.
Powers = permissions.

Roles can be hard to fully understand because they are often shared.
To understand this more deeply, we need to separate the individual from the role.
Also, individuals can and often do perform multiple roles.
Just like a company, the bigger the forum community, the more clearly these roles are.
The smaller the community, the more the roles overlap.
Sometimes there is only one person: the admin.
With growing, the need for other roles emerge, just like branches in a tree.

The most basic way to understand this is to see it as a pyramid with 5 levels:
1. The owner is at the top.
2. Then, there are one or more admins.
3. Next, there one or more moderators, but usually there are much more moderators than admins.
4. Next, there are the registered users who are abundant.
5. At the bottom there are the guests who can be anyone surfing the internet.

Other roles
Community directors
Community managers
Community strategists

Legal proprietary.
Person, company or organization that owns the forum.
Has the power to override the administrators.
Decides the forum purpose, goals and strategy.
Delegates some or all management decisions to administrators.

Registered users
Users that have made their forum registration.
Usually, the registration is made using their email and choosing a password.
Afterwards, they can browse the forum and create new topics and reply to other users topics.

People who can browse the forum but haven't made their registration yet.
Usually can't create new topics, nor reply to other users topics.
In some forums, guests cannot access the forum at all.

Admins and Mods
In a forum, there can be one or multiple admins.
There can also be one or multiple mods.
That usually depends on the forum size.
But can also depend on any other reason or simply the owner desire.

An admin can do everything that a mod does and much more.
A mod has only some powers, which are set by the admin.

Usually the roles are as follows:

Have all the power.
Distinct from owner.
Authority figure.
Webdesign code.
Can handle support.
Administrates the platform.
Make management decisions in small forums.
More focused on a technical role in big forums.
Doesn't concern himself with content (posts, etc).
Have the power to do all the moderation tasks, but that's not their role.
In small forums, may also perform the mod role.
Many times, the forum admin is also is the server sysadmin.
Manages the forum software and all other technical aspects.
Watch over mods and users.
Responsible for the day to day operations.
Efficient running of the forum.
Have the most control over the group.
Promote and demote members to mods.
Manage the rules.
Create boards and sub-boards also known as sections and sub-sections.
Perform database tasks and operations.
Make forum-wide announcements.
Change the forum appearance, theme, colors, images and all other elements.
Set permissions for mods, regular members and guests.
Can approve or deny membership requests.
Can remove and block people from the group.
Manage group settings.
Define size restrictions for users' avatars and signatures.
Manage site statistics.
Delete topics and posts.
Manage several hundreds of technical settings.

Can handle support.
Very diverse duties.
Guardian of forum content.
Enforces community standards.
As their name suggests, they moderate.
In small forums this role may be performed by the admin.
Manage the day-to-day affairs.
Work under the admins in terms of hierarchy.
The responsibilities of the mods may vary.
May share some of the powers of the admin.
Responsible for maintaining the integrity of the forum.
Assist members with some minor technical problems, like site access and posting.
Ensure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to.
Make sure the members are following all the rules.
Oversees posts, looking for inappropriate language, images or spamming.
Responsible for the posts of the whole forum or only a section of it.
Guides member participation.
Oversees the communication activity of the forum.
Monitors the interchange of contributors.
Makes decisions regarding content and the direction of threads.
Resolve disputes.
Conflict resolution.
Temporary or permanent thread deletion.
Ban members with unacceptable behavior.
Can approve or deny membership requests.
Can approve or deny posts in the group.
Can approve or deny many other things.
Can remove posts and comments on posts.
Can remove and block people from the group.
Deal with malicious users solve their damage.
Some or all of its powers can be removed or changed by the forum admin.
Manage interactions between community members.
Responsible for making sure that discussions take place in the appropriate area.
Lock threads so they cannot be replied to by regular users.
Create announcement threads that always appear first in a list of threads.
Sticky other users' threads to the top of a board.
Edit or delete other users' individual posts.
Move threads from one sub-forum to another.
Split one thread into many, or merge many threads into one.
View and act on reports from users about rule violations.
View a log of moderation activities.
Sometimes mods are volunteers that help answer questions and encourage people.
Try to keep things running smoothly in the forum.
Move topics from one board to another to keep topics organized.
Lock the topic to prevent hostile conversations.
Hides post with personal attacks.
Reply to posts to move the conversation in another direction.
Sanction illegal or copyrighted materials.
Sanction inappropriate language or images.
May join in discussions if they have expert experience or advice to contribute.
Sometimes they remain totally objective and mainly serve as impartial enforcers.
Some moderators are almost invisible or very permissive; other are always there, ready to intervene.
In some forums, moderators have much work and difficult tasks; in other forums, things can be different.
Must be aware of funny members and their tones.
Responsible for the feel of the forum.
The moderation ambiance depends very much on the intended forum's atmosphere.

Other roles
Global-Moderator or Super-Moderator.
Community Directors, Community Strategists and Community Managers.

In forums with multiple moderators, sometimes there's a super-moderator or a global-moderator.
They moderate all sub-forums or sub-boards and leave specific forum or boards to simple moderators.

That way, besides admins and mods, other roles can be defined like community directors, community strategists and community managers.
This roles are less well-defined than admins or mods.

Examples of expressions regarding or related to the community manager:
Responsible for the community.
Tries to increase engagement.
Makes sure that the goals of the community are reached.
Usually found in companies or big organizations.
Sometimes it's only an euphemism for moderator.
Another class of moderator with expanded privileges.
Encourages growth within a community.
Doesn't enforce community standards.

Roles in a forum can be much different from roles in another forum.
Sometimes other terminology is used depending on the community.
The most important thing of all to an owner is: only give someone a role if you trust them.

If you have any question, please contact us.