Everybody wants to be safe

While a moderator during an online conversation should safeguard all participants’ needs for achievement and for social belonging, the moderator should also safeguard the third element of psychosocial integration: the vital need for autonomy.

The need for autonomy in online communication translates itself to the need of participants to feel safe. This means that the moderator should shield all from unconstructive criticism by other participants. The moderator is to block any criticism that is evaluative (“you are”) rather than addressing a concrete statement or action, any criticism that is emotional, rude or exaggerating, any criticism that bluntly states that another participant is wrong and any criticism that is beyond the subject of the online conversation.