Facilitation is the art of leadership in group communication. A facilitator is one who fulfills this leadership role. In online settings, these terms are often employed interchangeably with moderating and moderator.

Facilitation in both online and face-to-face settings aims to promote a congenial social atmosphere and a lively exchange of views. The online facilitator resembles his or her face-to-face equivalent in important respects. Here is how facilitation is described in a classic account by Hiltz and Turoff:

In order for a computerized conference to be successful the moderator has to work very hard at both the “social host” and the “meeting chairperson” roles. As social host she/he has to issue warm invitations to people; send encouraging private messages to people complimenting them or at least commenting on ...
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