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June 24, 2007

Moderator Guidelines

Link: Moderator Guidelines

by Brian Turner

The following is a standard set of guidelines I post up in my forums for new moderators and supermoderators to reference.

The guideline provides specific technical information on vbulletin moderator tools, but the principles can apply to any forum.

Importantly, I always create a private section for staff to access, which comprises at least a Staff Room, and a Spam Bin.

The Staff Room allows staff to communicate and share thoughts on all aspects of the forum and its development. The Spam Bin is where all inappropriate posts and content is archived.

I consider it very important to archive spam, as it creates a reference of problem IP’s and users. It also helps bulk up the forum thread/post figures when you don’t delete anything as well. :)

Anyway, here are the standard moderator guidelines I use for my own forums:


Firstly, the two golden rules of moderating:

1. when in doubt, don’t
2. just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

It’s best to let the community develop without active policing, with moderators as caretakers to remove obviously inappropriate posts (ie, spam) or else move threads which are blatantly in the wrong section.

[B]Moving Threads[/B]

If a thread is posted in the wrong section, please just “Move Thread” to the appropriate board, leaving a 1 week temporary redirect if possible to prevent boards becoming cluttered with redirect messages.

However, if you see spam or outright offensive content, please *do not* delete it, but instead move it to the “Spam bin” board. This is important, as it creates an archive of offending IP’s and users, to create a good set of references to make future decisions against.

[B]Editing Posts[/B]

Moderators have the ability to edit user posts. Please avoid editing a post where possible, but if you feel it is necessary, please first move a copy of the original to the “Spam bin” first, before editing.

If you do edit a member’s post, please do leave a note at the bottom of the message body, stating why the post was edited and who by.

[B]Annoying Members[/B]

Also, please do not attempt to delete, edit or move threads, or else ban members, simply because they are annoying. :) If any member rubs you up the wrong way, either ignore them, else ask another mod or myself to look at the situation.

[SIZE=”3″][B]Moderator Tools[/B][/SIZE]

At the top of every thread is a heading for you, called “Thread Tools”. This provides a set of options you can apply to a specific thread.

However, when you are on a board you have moderator priviliges for, you will also see a set of checkboxes on the right hand page beside every thread, and a box of moderator functions on the bottom right. This makes it easy to remove a number of threads at the same time, such as when a spammer tries to flood a board with repeated messages. TIP: This also works on the “New Posts” function.

[B]Thread Tools[/B]

An explanation of the different options is as follows:

[I]Open / Close Thread[/I]

Sometimes a thread will require closing. The reasons vary, but usually involve the thread no longer serving a constructive use of the forum. This is especially true in the case of heated arguments, or ‘flaming’.

Threads should generally not be closed unless there is a very specific reason for closing it. In the event of flaming going on, it would be best to bring attention to this fact to light in the Staff Room before taking any action. That way, the seriousness of the situation may be gauged, and disciplinary action taken on those members involved, should it be required.

To use this on a particular thread, simply place your mouse cursor over the option you wish to use, then left click to check the option and then click on the button “Perform Action”. That will close the thread.

To re-open the thread, simply click on the same option and the thread will be re-opened.

[I]Stick / Unstick Thread[/I]

Sometimes a thread will be so interesting or useful that it is a good idea to “sticky” it. This means that the thread will remain at the top of its respective board, so as to be clearly displayed to all.

For some sites sticky threads often comprise of tutorials and/or Terms of Use (Code of Conduct). Generally, though, there’s very little use for sticky threads at the moment in the public forum.

To use this option on a particular thread, simply place your mouse cursor over the option you wish to use, then left click to check it, then “Perform action”.

[I]Move / Copy Thread[/I]

Threads can be posted in a completely inappropriate place. In such cases it can be helpful to the overall running for the forum to ‘move’ these threads to a more appropriate area.

To use this feature on a particular thread, simply place your mouse cursor over the option you wish to use, then left click and “Perform action”.

After that you will be presented with a new page, asking which of three options you wish to employ. The three options speak for themselves:

1. MOVE THREAD: This will move the thread only – ensure that you choose the correct board to move the thread to using the drop down menu. Only choose this action in the event that the thread is spam or otherwise requires disciplinary action.

2. MOVE THREAD AND LEAVE A REDIRECT IN PREVIOUS FORUM: This will leave a re-direct in place – which means that if someone clicks on the re-derct, they will be taken to the place the thread was moved to. Use when members innocently post in the wrong place, so that they can find their original message. A Tempory redirect lasting for 1 week is preferred.

3. COPY THREAD TO DESTINATION FORUM – simply means the original thread remains, and a new thread is created the same in the destination board. This is good for copying a thread for archive so that one or more posts on the public board can be edited.

[B][SIZE=”3″]Staff Actions[/SIZE][/B]

Please do ensure that you inform all other staff via the staff room of *any* action you have taken, informing why that action was taken!

This will ensure that if a member queries an action, all other staff members are aware of the situation, how it’s been dealt with, and the justification for that action.

A dedicated thread will be provided as required to log actions.

Any questions, feel free to ask. :)

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