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Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

(this was originally posted in the Builders section of the forums but I've moved it to Special Discussions so everybody can join in Smiley Very Happy)


To become a Mod you need to be a Builder first. Click here for Builder applications!

Already a Builder? Click here for Mod applications! (this second link will only work if you are a Builder and are signed in to your account)


Hey guys!


So a little birdy (*cough* @Jess1-RO *cough*) has told me that applications to become a Moderator for 2019 are opening very shortly Smiley Tongue If you're at least 18 years old and have been a Builder for at least 2 weeks, you're eligible to apply! Smiley Very Happy


I thought I'd use the opportunity to make a thread where you can ask any questions about what it's like to be a mod, the training process etc. Any thoughts/worries/plans to take over the world are welcome here.


I'll also tag the other mods who will be sticking around as fellow Supreme Rulers of the Forums (aka Senior Mods) - together we shall try and satiate your curiosity! Smiley Very Happy


@N1ghtW1ng @Bee @ErinsAntics @JanaG @Esperanza67 @missep




No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

Hey @lokifish!


I was wondering, how much time do you reckon moderating takes out of a typical week for you?

And do you find the job rewarding? Helpful for yourself?


Thanks xxx

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

@gezellig awesome questions! Smiley Very Happy


The time commitment is generally a minimum of 2 hours a week. BUT if you're in the middle of exams, on holidays, struggling with your mental health etc. it's totally okay (and encouraged!) to cut down on hours and take a break if needed. A lot of us will do way more than 2 hours a week but that's just because we use the forums like Facebook Smiley Tongue


You can also basically structure that 2 hours however you want. Some mods stay away from Tough Times posts and just spend the whole time doing community building activities (like running GRs or posting in the Hanging Out threads).


The job is incredibly rewarding!!! And no, I'm not being forced to say that (send help!) I find it really beneficial for my own mental health; asking myself "what would I say to someone who posted about this on the forums?" can really help with the intrusive negative thoughts. I've also been really passionate about changing the culture around moderating, so that it's okay to still seek help on the forums! None of us have all the answers, and role modelling help-seeking behaviour is actually really important for the community Heart

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

I'm sneaking onto the forums for this post because I couldn't resist Smiley Very Happy (I'm in the middle of assignments and soon-to-be prac madness so I won't be around that much)


@gezellig such a fantastic question! On top of everything @lokifish has already said, it takes as much time as you want it to take. I've been doing a lot more behind the scenes than really on the forums lately (thanks uni Smiley Tongue) but it's a really chill time-schedule. It changes week to week, if you have an entire month where you can't log in, that's okay! If you spend nearly every day for however long on the forums than that's okay too! Know your limits and if you need to take a break, that's okay Smiley Happy 

I find the forums super rewarding. I was on the forums long before I became a mod (eagerly awaiting the year I turned 18 so I could apply) and it's... rewarding. (what even are words Smiley Tongue) For me, I like organising and planning things and helping with the GR's is so great because I get to do that planning and organising! It's helpful for me to be able to (hehe) reach out and help others because it gives me purpose. Even if I'm just spamming the games section of the forums, it's still a great time for me. I love watching people grow through their posts and it's wonderful to see all the amazing people that exist out there. Because you all rule. (you should so apply, if you can Smiley Very Happy)


(and now to return to my assignment, ciao!)

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

Hey lokifish and any other moderators?


I have a few questions and not sure what you can answer. Given that you all put in so much effort (and its greatly appreciated) how do you feel about not being paid? My second question is, do you receive support from clinicians/reachout people?

Thank you!

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!


It really depends on what my week is looking like Smiley Happy sometimes I spend waaaay more than 2 hours on the forums, other times I don't log on because life is so crazy and I just need some self-care time. 

For me I find it's easier to space out the time over multiple days so I tend to log in for 20 minute blocks over a week instead of 2 straight hours, which can be hard to do. 

The important thing to remember a moderator is that 2 hours is just a target. It's totally fine if we take a break from the forums due to studies or if some weeks we can only log in for 15 minutes there's no one standing over us telling us we have to do 2 hours a week or else. 

A lot of us mods study full time and work, but we all make an effort to have presence on the forums Smiley Happy

Also as I am studying community services at Tafe I am actually able to count my moderating towards my prac hours which is great and I love being able to do my prac at home on my laptop (I also do another prac in person but it means I can reduce those hours which is great) Smiley Happy

Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

@bigavocado also great questions! Smiley Happy


The upside of not being paid is that there's not a whole lot of pressure to make sure you log on. If you have a busy day/week/month there's no penalty for just going "nup, don't feel like I can do it right now." Whenever you decide to pop back in you'll be welcomed with open arms. There's also ~20 of us volunteer mods each year which means that the workload is spread out - there's no "if I don't respond to this post then NOBODY will!"


Support from community managers is awesome! From 9am-11pm every day there's usually always a staff member around. In fact @gina-RO and @Jess1-RO exist solely to manage the forums Smiley Tongue There's also @Amirah-RO, who manages a few other things within RO, but pops in a lot Smiley Very Happy Then there's after-hours support staff, which are the lovely @Bree-RO@Lan-RO@Erin-RO and @Taylor-RO. We use a messaging app called Slack which allows us all to chat in real-time.


Does that help at all?

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!


I honestly don't mind not getting paid, don't get me wrong I would love a job at ReachOut someday (PLEASE HIRE ME!!!) but for me the experience is invaluable and having that on my resume looks great for potential employers. 

I've actually been a Youth Ambassador far longer than I have been a forum mod so I've been involved with ReachOut for 4 years next May which is crazy. As I already do that as a volunteer being a forum mod wasn't a huge leap or addition to my duties. I actually find being a forum mod helps me be a better YA as I get to know more about ReachOut but on a different level.

Also ReachOut has provided me with confidence to take a different career direction and study community services at Tafe which I never would've done otherwise so that is invaluable to me. As I mentioned before I am actually able to use my forum modding towards my prac hours in my studies which is great and I can use my forum work to fill out my prac booklet Smiley Happy


We receive a lot of support from the ReachOut staff and we're always told if we can't handle a post to refer it to them. We actually use a chat app called Slack to communicate which helps the forums run smoothly behind the scenes and gives us a chance to build friendships with the staff and other mods. 

Also as mod we are required to do a weekend workshop which helps the staff learn how to support us better and also helps build up the community within the mods. Many of us only communicate via online so to see each other at the workshop is really great Smiley Happy 

Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

Hey @bigavocado, I agree with @lokifish, the biggest upside of doing unpaid work is that there is no real pressure to commit (unlike paid work). I also find my experience at RO the best experience I've had so far that complemented my degree (psychology) as it gave me real-world exposure into what it's like supporting young people with mental health issues. I've learnt so many new things that I haven't learnt (or have yet to learn) in my degree and everyone in the RO community has been so nice and welcoming Smiley Happy

Feel free to keep asking us questions! I love the questions you've come up with so far Smiley Happy
Hope is just around the corner; you think it's not there when you first look straight ahead, but it actually is when you turn around

Re: Life as a forum moderator! Ask us!

@lokifish thank you so much, that is really eye-opening!! I was always curious of what goes on in the background Smiley Very Happy


p.s. thank you for your contribution and work you do on reachout