In our ‘under the spotlight’ feature Ryan Mouser, a certified Moderation Gateway student shares his experiences about becoming a UGC professional moderator.
My journey in becoming a Moderator is not black and white… It is steeped in brilliant colors with twists and turns.
Since I can remember, I have walked the beat of a musician. I grew up singing, dancing and songwriting from a very young age and went on to study Music at college and Music Production and Audio Engineering at Berklee College of Music. I then worked at a vocal studio and, in 2010, I founded a recording studio and indie record label, Underwing Records. In the same year, I released an album with my musical partner, who is now my fiancé and the beautiful mother of my child.
Beyond the music I’ve always had a desire to serve and protect. While playing MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) at 11 years old (parental permission provided, of course), I developed a keen interest in Internet safety and Moderation. My focus was no longer solely on general game play as I could see the effects online predators had on an environment and quickly became wise to their insidious game. I looked up to the Moderators of these virtual worlds and the responsibilities that came with protecting these online communities. A teenage dream on fire, I kept in line with “house rules,” helped other users and wrote down ideas of how I could develop the industry. I conceptualized my own online environments and created websites and forums for my childhood friends to enjoy.
Three years later, I joined an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) that needed Community Moderators. After much communication and rapport building, I joined the team and was soon promoted to Community Administrator and Game Developer. Alongside basic game development, I created Moderation tools and updated community guidelines that enhanced player activity and safety. After two years of effectively juggling two jobs, I stepped down to pursue the increasing opportunities of my music career. I did, however, join the national Show Choir Community as a Community Moderator and Data Entry volunteer and I volunteered as a “Habbo Hotel” guide.
Seven years on, my dream of becoming a Moderator resurfaced. I felt my previous experience and maturity would stand me in good stead; however, the online world is continually changing and I felt a little in the dark about the more developed Moderation industry. That is when I stumbled upon Moderation Gateway’s training program via Emoderation. I was ecstatic upon discovering an educational opportunity now exists that could equip me with the necessary support, resources, expertise and certification – this is what that 11 year old boy playing MMOs had been awaiting!
The training program honed my skills as a Moderator and its set up complemented my busy lifestyle. Each module was comprehensive and provided me with the tools I know I need to be successful in this industry. The training environment and interface is user-friendly and well developed. The training guide, (Cecile), helped maintain the “human” feel to the online instruction. Overall, the Moderation Gateway team was helpful in answering my questions and giving insight into how to utilize the training in the industry.
Post-training, I regard MG’s social media channels as my daily morning newspaper and their Register of Trained Moderators newsletters have also been fantastic in keeping me connected and up-to-date with valuable resources for moderation and online safety. The team continues to reach out to me personally when they find an opportunity they feel may suit me and they continue to answer my questions and grant advice.
Now that I am certified, my goal is to use my Moderation tool kit to gain employment with a progressive agency that offers growing experiences and opportunities for promotion. Joining an MMO Moderation team remains my dream! I would like to make my mark in furthering the cause for online safety of children and the protection of brands. Looking ahead, I would love to become a Community Manager.
I believe certification is imperative to a Moderator’s tool kit. Not only does it provide a document that validates the Moderator’s experience, it also equips the Moderator with an environment to develop important skills, no matter their level of previous expertise. There is an exciting movement evolving in Moderation technology but I believe it takes more than a sweeping “robot” to understand the subtleties of dangers that lurk online; this level of moderation requires a human experience. Moderation Gateway is pioneering the innovation of the Moderation industry to equip human Moderators with an invaluable gold standard.
For me, Moderation Gateway has paved the way to making my dream towards a safer web come true.
Ryan Mouser, Certified Moderation Gateway Moderator 2014.
Update: We are thrilled to report that Ryan was hired after his training by a large social media agency as a professional UGC freelance moderator.
Could you contribute? We are always interested in hearing from any of our students who have an interesting story to tell. If you would like to share your experience with us, please email theteam@moderationgateway.