How to be a Good Online Moderator


Before your panel:

  1. Log in early! If its location is awebinar, go directly to the panel through the program item as listed on your online schedule. If its location is a meeting room, we suggest you go to the Green Room to meet your panelists. You can access the Green Room through the “CoNZealand Programme Instructions” email.

  2. Make sure everyone is usinggallery viewso the entire panel is visible.

  3. Ask everyone to pronounce their own name and take notes if you have to. Encourage people to edit their names with their pronouns and/or give them during their introductions.Please do not use joke pronouns. Even if you consider your pronouns obvious, or do not care what pronouns others use to refer to you, sincerely stating your pronouns is still an act of respect towards other panelists and attendees who consider their pronouns to be important.

    1. Go over the panel topic with the panelists.

    2. Discuss whether you want to work from the questions in the panel description or use them as a launching point.

    3. Briefly run through any questions you may have prepared.

    4. If panelists feel unprepared to talk about the topic, ask them if they have any suggestions to tailor the topic to their skill sets.

    5. If the panelists still insist that they do not know what they are doing on the panel or do not want to be there, allow them to drop out.

  4. Establish your practices as a moderator.

    1. Let your panelists know if you will be introducing them yourself or if they should prepare a brief, 30-second intro.

    2. Tell your panelists whether you will be calling on people in the same order (alphabetically by first or last name) or calling people by name to answer questions throughout the panel.

    3. Establish when you will pull questions from Q&A (webinar) or chat (meeting), e.g., during the entire panel, halfway through, 15 minutes before the end, etc.

  5. Remind the panelists not to read the Q&A/chat out loud during the panel. That isyour job as the moderator!

  6. If the panel is awebinar, encourage the panelists to answer simple Q&A questions by typing (yes/no, links to outside resources, names of books, etc.) so the panel’s time can be spent on the more complicated questions.

  7. If the panel is awebinar, discuss with the room manager/host and panelists how duplicate/irrelevant/inappropriate questions should be handled. You may let them fall to the bottom of the Q&A through the process of upvoting or choose to dismiss them, or ask the room manager/host to dismiss them.

  8. Check that all virtual backgrounds are family-friendly (no nudity, violence, or common phobias) and request anyone with an inappropriate virtual background to change or disable it.

  9. Remind people to grab a drink, finish their food, hit the bathroom, and remove pets and other people from the room as necessary.


At the beginning of the panel:

  1. Wait 20 seconds after the broadcast starts for everyone in the audience to join you.

  2. Welcome people to CoNZealand and read the title of the panel.

  3. Introduce yourself, including pronouns if comfortable.

  4. Tell the audience to submit questions via the Q&A function on the bottom ribbon (webinar) or through the chat (meeting).

  5. Announce when you will answer questions.

  6. Introduce the panelists or call on them to introduce themselves.

  7. Get started!


During a panel:

  1. Make sure you establish whether you are addressing a specific panelist with a question or statement or whether it is open for anyone to answer. Examples:

    1. “What do you think of that, Bob?”

    2. “Would anyone like to respond?”

  2. Read the questions from Q&A or chatout loud before you direct them to the panelists. This prompts the panelists and audience members in case they did not read the question first.

  3. Handle irrelevant questions as discussed earlier.

  4. In a webinar, you may use theTo Panelists chat if you wish to have a private conversation amongst the panelists.

  5. Send(private) messages to the room manager/host if you see disruptive audience members or if you have technical difficulties.

  6. Watch for(private) or all panelist messages from the room manager/host, including time warnings.


At the 5-minute mark:

  1. Announce to the audience that itis time to wrap up.

  2. Call on the panelists for their closing thoughts and remind them to be brief.

  3. If the panel is awebinar, message the room manager/host to find out if they are willing to let the conversation continue past the end of the panel.


At the end of the panel:

  1. Let the panelists give their names, locations of blogs, new books, etc. one last time. Now is when they should drop links in chat.

  2. Thank the panelists and the audience for attending.

If there is interest in continuing the conversation, tell the audience to stick around (if the room manager/host is willing to continue thewebinar) or join you in the correspondingly numbered Discord channel (if a meeting or the room manager/host is unwilling to keep it open longer).