Understanding Moderators: Duties, Must Haves and How to Be

Moderator: Meaning, Duties, and How to Be – Do you know Najwa Shihab? Or maybe, you become one of the millions of viewers who are always mesmerized by the way he drives events? Or even, maybe you have ambitions to be like Najwa Shihab? Conducting interviews and also leading discussion activities between important figures in this country?

Indeed, it cannot be denied that recently, the popularity of Najwa Shihab and the television show she hosts is increasing, especially among young people who are starting to think critically and are happy to find various kinds of information. Through the events he led, Najwa Shihab often invited various important speakers to then be invited to discuss various issues that are being hotly discussed by the community.

The ability possessed by Najwa Shihab to guide the course of a discussion is indeed one of the main attractions of the event. His firm and straightforward manner and his ability to ask sharp questions seemed to be able to hypnotize and attract the attention of the event’s connoisseurs.

Common people often think that a moderator has the same meaning as a master of ceremony (MC) or what is commonly called a host. This is because the two professions have the same task, which is to guide the course of an event. However, in reality, the two professions are different.

The difference between moderators and event leaders is generally found in their duties and responsibilities. A moderator has the duty and responsibility to guide the exchange of ideas between members in the forums. For example, such as in debates, discussions, deliberations, meetings, speeches, and various other similar activities. While the MC or event driver, has a wider duty and responsibility that is to drive in various events but comprehensively, covering from the opening of the event to the closing.

Well, in this article, we will discuss various things about moderators. Starting from the understanding of moderators, duties and responsibilities, functions, anything that a moderator should have, and also the steps that should be taken when one day you become a moderator. Here is a summary of moderators from kitabisa.net!


Actually, what is the meaning of moderator? If traced from the original language, which is English, moderator has the meaning of someone who moderates or becomes an intermediary. While according to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), moderator has several meanings, namely:

  1. People who have duties as mediators (referees, judges, etc.)
  2. The leader of the meeting (discussion, meeting, deliberation) who is the mediator in the event of discussion or discussion of problems
  3. A device in the machine that controls or regulates the flow of energy or fuel

In this article, the context of the moderator that we will discuss is as an intermediary in the running of an event, so you can focus on the meaning from the first and second points.

A question arose: “why does a discussion need a moderator as an intermediary?”

One of the main reasons for needing a moderator as an intermediary for discussion activities is time. A moderator is needed as an intermediary for discussion activities, because discussion activities have a predetermined time limit, especially if the discussion activity is shown on TV, then there is a time limit for advertisements, as well as for subsequent TV events. Just imagine if a discussion activity is not given a time limit, then the discussion will be very long and boring.

A moderator in the discussion activity gives time limits, as a reminder, when party A starts speaking, when party A should stop speaking, when party B starts speaking, and so on until the discussion activity ends according to the time that has been determined.

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Maybe after reading the explanation earlier, you will feel “wow, it seems like being a moderator is not an easy thing”. Before you conclude that, it would be good if you could learn more about the duties, responsibilities, and functions of a moderator.


Reported from various sources, a moderator has various duties and responsibilities including:

  1. As a controller as well as a supervisor in discussion activities in a forum.
  2. Ensure that the discussion or discussion in the forum, takes place in accordance with the main topic that has been determined.
  3. Create ideas and create new topics so that the forum becomes dynamic and remains alive.
  4. Provide an opening or brief introduction on the explanation of the topic that will be discussed in the forum.
  5. Give a warning or reminder if in the forum there are members of the forum whose discussion becomes irrelevant or has deviated from the main topic being discussed.
  6. Give a warning or warning if there are members of the forum who start to break the rules or are considered to have the potential to disrupt the forum.

It turns out that there are a lot of responsibilities as a moderator. However, in any case, all the duties and responsibilities of the moderator are very important to do so that the discussion activities in the forum can run well, smoothly, and in accordance with what is expected.


A moderator should prepare some important things so that discussion activities in the forum can run smoothly. In addition to things that can be prepared, moderators also need to have certain qualities and attitudes in overcoming problems that will arise. Here are the things that a moderator should have:

1. Mastering the Topic To Be Discussed

There are many misconceptions about a moderator. Among them is the assumption that the main ability that a moderator must have is to be fluent in speaking. However, it turns out that being fluent in speaking is still not enough. A moderator must have a broad vision, at least must first master the topic to be discussed in the forum.

Moderators must master the topics that will be discussed in the forum, because even though the moderator does not have the capacity to deliver the material or express his arguments in the forum, the moderator is still someone who has control over the ongoing discussion. Moderators have the responsibility to ensure that the discussions and arguments presented by forum members are still appropriate or relevant to the topic being discussed.

2. Be neutral and objective

Moderators are forbidden to have bad or good prejudices and also to be inclined (bias) to one of the parties in the forum. Moderators are required to be objective in carrying out their duties so that justice is created in the discussion activities in the forum for each member.

3. Have the ability to observe and listen well

Moderators are required to be able to pay attention to all types of responses, both verbal responses (verbally) and non-verbal responses (body language). Moderators must observe and listen to ensure that no sentences or words are missed from every conversation delivered by the members in the forum.

4. Able to understand the position

Moderators do not have the capacity to deliver material and are also prohibited from expressing their personal arguments in the forum they are leading. The moderator is indeed required to master the main topics discussed in the discussion, but this is done because the moderator must understand the main points of the discussion in the discussion. The moderator’s job is to supervise the course of the discussion and therefore, he is not allowed to take over the duties of other members such as by presenting material, presenting arguments, and or talking too much about the topic being discussed in the discussion.

5. Have a calm but firm attitude

Debate that occurs in a discussion forum is a natural thing. Sometimes, in the debate, there will be things that can trigger verbal arguments or even fights. Moderators in this situation are required to have a firm attitude towards all members of the discussion forum. Moderators must dare to dissolve at the same time ensure that the discussion activities will continue without interruption. This attitude to be firm should also be accompanied by a calm attitude and not easy to get caught.

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6. Able to melt the atmosphere

In some situations in a forum, it will be very helpful if a moderator has the ability to make the atmosphere less tense and more relaxed. This is useful to make it easier for forum members to convey their ideas and arguments because the discussion atmosphere in the forum becomes more relaxed and intimate. However, this should be done as necessary and not excessive because if it is excessive then it will even disrupt the progress of the discussion activities.


After knowing the meaning as well as the duties and responsibilities of a moderator, you also need to know the procedures or steps that must be prepared to become a moderator, which include:

1. Understand the duties and functions of moderators

The main task and function of a moderator in a debate or discussion activity in a forum is to control the activity while ensuring that the discussion activity will go according to plan. Try to focus on that matter only, there is no need to try to give an opinion or defend one of the parties because that is not the right of a moderator.

2. Study thoroughly the material or topic to be discussed.

Learn the material or topic that will be discussed or discussed in the discussion activity. Try to do research through various sources such as articles, books, the internet, or ask the experts directly. It is very important for you to understand the material that will be discussed in order to ensure that the discussions held in the forum remain appropriate and relevant.

3. Study the order of events carefully.

A moderator must study the order of events carefully. In this case, a moderator can work with the MC. Studying the order of events can make it easier for moderators to set time limits for each session in discussion activities in the forum.

4. Learn information about the resource person.

For a forum that brings a resource person as a speaker, it is mandatory for the resource person to find or learn basic information about the resource person. This will help the moderator to carry out his duties, for example to know the name of the resource person, why the resource person was invited, how much capacity the resource person has, and what questions are appropriate to ask the resource person.

5. Make a small note.

For those of you who have difficulty memorizing, small notes in notes can help you to be smooth when being a moderator. There is no ban for moderators to open posts, so it’s okay to post, especially if you really need it.

6. Keep practicing

Moderators do have a task that seems not easy. There is no instant result, everything that happens in this world always requires a process. Therefore, with effort, determination, and a high will to continue practicing and learning, of course you will be able to become a great moderator. In addition, you can also buy books on how to become a moderator as your guide and guide to learn more effectively.



Moderator is a mediator or leader of a discussion, meeting, and deliberation. Moderator and MC are two different things. The difference is that an MC is the event guide who manages the course of the event starting from the opening to the closing, while a moderator has duties and responsibilities only to maintain the continuation of a discussion. In carrying out his duties, a moderator must master the topics to be discussed, be firm and objective, be able to mediate disputes in the discussion, and have good observation skills.

To be a good moderator, the things that need to be prepared are by understanding the meaning, duties, and functions of moderators; learn the topic to be discussed, and also learn basic info from the resource person (if any). Maybe, being a moderator looks like a difficult job, but you can definitely become a reliable moderator if you keep practicing and want to learn.