Paradox Interactive publishes and develops video games. The studio is based in Stockholm, Skövde and Umeå and is most famous for publishing historical strategy computer games. It publishes its own games as well as other developers’ through traditional retail channels as well as digital distribution services, such as Steam.
Moderating the Paradox Forums
When I began working at Paradox five years ago, I was hired as a community manager (among other things). It was the day after the Hearts of Iron III release, and the game was generally considered (on the forum) to be buggy on release. The development team worked hard and fixed this with lots of patching, and a couple of months later the mood on the forum was much better. On my very first day though, it was rough. It was a brutal start, but I learned a lot, and my thought is that I can share some of my insights here.
It clearly helps to have a dev team that actually patches and cares about the games and talks with the users of course, but there are some other things to consider as well.
The Paradox forum is huge with more than 700k members, and the level of vitriol and hate we see on it is… quite low. How do we achieve this? In short, with rock-solid moderating.
People sometimes nab about “free speech”, claiming they should be able to say anything in our forum. That’s not how free speech works though. There is no such thing as free speech on our forums. You abide by our rules, or you can go somewhere else and be rude. We have harsh rules and we enforce them. There can be no swearing, no sexism, racism or any general nastiness towards other people. The same applies to all our social media channels, streaming, Youtube etc.
We have a wonderful team of volunteer moderators and demi-mods who do the majority of the work. We have a community manager and a forum admin that do fantastic work keeping it all together. We have great forumites who help guide new forum users that are not used to how things work yet, and help each other with tech support, create mods and chat about games and other things as well. The moderator team is key in setting and keeping a good vibe on the forum, so select your moderators with care. Senior active forumites are very important too, but you can’t choose those.
Another thing to do, is to keep your forum rules a bit fuzzy. Instead of listing everything that is forbidden, be a bit vague and let it be up to the moderators where to draw the line. This makes it harder to try and circumvent the rules. It also makes moderating a bit harder, sure. But we have hidden forums where the moderators can discuss and help each other in cases where it is needed.
For those who manage to follow the rules and dont get banned, the result is a very welcoming forum where people mostly respect each other. Sure, it’s not magic. We do have problems at times and discussions can get quite heated, but I still think it is a very nice corner of the Internet, and I know we work very hard to keep it like that. Come have a look: Paradox Forum
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