Do you hide your staff as staff (mods, admins, etc.)?


Well-known member
We're having a discussion on one of my boards as to whether or not we should show Admin or Moderator as those in these positions are also top contributors. Is there any conflict as some may see it that top contributors (posters) are also staff? Should I hide admin/mod/staff labels? What are the opinions of others running forums?
Here is a quote from one of my staff who I also invited to watch the discussion here so we can learn from what others do. I'm also not sure of what actions taken by staff are communicated to the user in that the user knows who took the action.

I don’t see moderators actually actively participate heavily in discussions on those forums. It’s usually a but of a surprise to see a moderator on a board somewhere else. Here that is not the case. The Mods are some of the biggest content contributors.

In the end, while I understand the desire to allow users to easily identify moderators, the reality of how moderation works here is that the end user when moderated, doesn’t actually know which of us did the moderating. The same is true of reporting content. The end user that reported something doesn’t know which moderator actually reviewed their report. They just know it was one of the Mods.

In the end, that is actually how good moderation should work in my opinion. It shouldn’t matter to the end user which moderator did what. It only matters that the moderation is correct and appropriate according to Forum Rules. So if we agree on that, what is the actual point or value in the moderator tag, other than being recognized by others as a moderator?
It's easy enough to remove the banner and group title but members will know who moderated their content. If that works for you, go for it.
An anonymous moderation system is something entirely different.

Anonymize warnings is an option:)
We do not hide our admins or mods. All of them are long-time members (most since early beginning of our 17 year-old forum), with high post counts. Identifying them as staff, administrator, or moderator provides a degree of credibility. Users trust the content they see posted by our admins & mods. Having the moderators identified gives users a name to contact (start a conversation) to discuss a particular problem (beyond an alert). Identifying admins & mods also provides an answer to "who is running this forum (operation) ?"...a question we often receive because our non-profit corporation is a proxy holder; and we solicit proxies for voting during the annual election of the Board of Directors of a large corporation.

Personally, I do not see a "conflict" or down side.
If you want to compare it to Facebook, you would be correct in saying you don't know who addresses your flagged content or content in violation of their terms. But FB groups have moderators where you do know who moderates the terms of the group. And groups are more akin to forums.
As a moderator on this site, I have to pick and choose the threads I post in, and of course also how I post.

I don't typically post in suggestion threads for example, as members have responded badly to that in the past, if I post negatively.

There's something to be said for anonymous content moderators.
It allows them to post freely as other members do.
This is a good question and one with a clear answer in my book. Read on.

I don't hide it and also don't see a conflict of interest here. I think they should be identified as is the default in XF.

That your mods also post a lot of content is unusual, but not harmful, and not necessary for good moderation. It just takes up a lot of their time, that's all and that's fine if they're into it.

IMPORTANT: The fact is that not all mods are the same, because people aren't clones of each other (no edge cases with identical twins etc please!) and thus they will moderate differently and have different likes, dislikes, mood swings and preferences. In short, their human and fallible as all humans are, me included, of course.

This difference is very important, as I've been targeted and bullied by dodgy mods in other forums on more than one occasion, which makes it a horrible experience and one that I've left forums over, permanently. Since they weren't anonymous to me, I could eventually get something done about it on one occasion by speaking with an admin. Crucially, anonymity simply encourages abuse and makes users feel powerless and vulnerable. I don't recommend it.

Thankfully, I have since set up from scratch and run, my own XF forum nowadays, so I'm top dog there and no one can touch me, not even other admins - I'm invincible. Feels good, I tell you. By the same token, I don't abuse my users either as I hate bullying in all its forms and will stamp it out wherever I see it on my forum.
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