Facilitation vs. Moderation of Online Communities

You may think that there is little difference between the two terms facilitation and moderation. However, when it comes to managing online communities – the difference can be striking.

Moderation is the act of monitoring communication in an online community and editing/changing the tone and flow of conversations to fit within the excepted norms of a given community. Whereas facilitation is the enhancement of communication and conversation through guided interaction. One can be seen as exclusive and the other inclusive.

A community manager facilitating an online community knows when to be visible in the debate and when to lay back and let it unfold. This is a skill – that some are born with and many learn, in knowing how to get the best discussion going, new ideas germinating and conversation flowing around a topic.

Think of the online communities that you belong to – are there any standout moderators/facilitators that you’ve noticed?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Daniel Berg

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