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Importance of Having Clear Member Roles In Online Communities

Everything you need to know about member roles and how to assign them the right way.
Written by
Duncan Elder
Last updated
October 23, 2023

Member roles are the privileges and leadership responsibilities given to a select few individuals within your community.

The most common roles are:

– Admin: the people who run the community.
– Moderators: the people who check content meets the community guidelines.
– Regular members: the people who interact in your community.

Member roles help define your community’s structure and create a clear hierarchy for your community.

Member roles can also define access level or what some members can post and do within communities.

Why does your community need member roles?

Structural needs

Member roles are necessary because they keep your community well-organized and help it run more efficiently. They provide community structure and encourage leadership among members. In addition, member roles contribute to ensuring each community’s purpose or goals are met.


A community requires more than one community builder; it takes a village. Several roles or leadership positions must be filled for a community to run successfully. Creating member roles allows your community members to take on leadership and mentorship roles.

Creates a greater buy-in

Member roles allow your members the opportunity to be part of the community management process. It creates a greater buy-in for your members since everyone wants to be part of the process.

Examples of member roles

Your community may require just a couple or up to a dozen different member roles, depending on the size of your community. Typically, your community is composed of admins, moderators, and the average member.

Admins run and organize the community

Moderators ensure members are acting within the community guidelines

The average member is an individual in your community.

These are just a few examples of member roles. Their titles may vary slightly depending on the purpose or mission of your community.

  • Community Manager
  • Administrative Support
  • Knowledge Management Advisor
  • Community Leader
  • IT Expert
  • Communications Advisor
  • Community Moderator

How do you assign member roles?

Your community management or development team can choose who fills what member roles. You can choose to fill member roles by identifying your community’s most-enthusiastic super-users. Your super-users are the ones who are heavily engaged and active in your community.

You can also have an application and onboarding process for member roles, as well as perks and rewards for taking on a member role. In addition, member roles can be volunteers who desire to participate in the community and help it fulfill its purpose.

Member roles do not need to be filled by separate individuals; you can choose to have one individual take on several roles if they are qualified and have the time and energy.

Learn more about how member roles and access levels are handled on Bettermode

Duncan Elder
Content writer

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