Moderator Guidelines

Discussion in 'Help and Rules' started by Ian the Admin, Nov 21, 2010.

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  1. Ian the Admin Administrator Donor

    Dec 19, 2003

    The first thing to remember about being a mod on a board like this is that it's not about keeping people happy or being liked.

    If you're doing your job right, you will be accused of bias, incompetence, and being out to get people on a fairly regular basis. In your official role as a moderator, you will spend most of your time telling people not to do things. Whenever you do this, people will hear the VOICE OF AUTHORITY even when you say it nicely. It's understandable if they get upset. You have to have a moderately thick skin.

    It's my experience that mods who seem universally popular stay that way by keeping majority opinion happy and punishing people who are generally disliked. That isn't compatible with the principles of this board, which are that you can have unpopular ideas if you're polite about it. A large part of a mod's job is not doing anything when people are being jerks and saying something you can't stand but not actually saying anything offensive. You're supposed to think of the board's principles, not whether you like someone or their ideas.

    DO NOT moderate arguments that you've a part of, or that involve people you like/dislike too much to be objective about. Let another mod take care of it, or refer it to the admin.

    YOU MUST be regularly available. If you can't deal with reported posts and new user signups on a daily basis, you shouldn't be a mod. It doesn't have to be every single day, but it has to be most days in order for you to pull your weight.


    In the Moderator Control Panel, on the very lower left, is the option "New User Registrations". This shows a list of people who have applied for membership and confirmed their email address. Until approved by the mods, these people can do nothing except send PMs.

    The easiest way to do this is to select "approve all" by default at the top of the list, then at the bottom select the option to NOT send emails to users who have been rejected. Spammers don't need the site's email address.

    Then just go down the list and delete everyone who looks like a spammer. Often this will be about half of the list.

    Some common signs of spammers:
    - username and email look like complete junk.
    - username and email look like real first + last names, but they don't match.
    - many users sign up on the same day with the same unusual looking addresses or the same domain.
    - username or email look like the name of a company trying to sell stuff on the internet.
    - domain name/IP come from China. At least 99% of users from China are spammers.

    Our goal is to always moderate new users in less than 24 hours.


    Rule #1 - all warnings and punishments are public.

    Everybody should know exactly what the mods are doing, and have the opportunity to respond. Do not ever just privately PM someone to give them an official "stop it or you'll be kicked/banned" message. Everything you do is a response to specific posts. Reply to at least one of those posts to warn someone, or announce their kicking/banning.

    The first part of the process is making your public reply. Once you have that, use the Infraction system. Click on the red/yellow card icon on the upper right hand of the offending post.

    Pick an infraction level from "warning", "kicked", or "banned". Do not use custom infractions.

    Under the "automatic ban" section you can see that the "kicked" infraction results in someone being kicked for 7 days, and the "banned" infraction results in someone being permanently banned.

    Enter the reason for a kicking/banning in the "ban reason" field.

    Below this there is the option to send a PM. You should always paste your public reply into the private PM as a courtesy. You can just use "Warning" or "Kicked" as the PM title.

    Then click the "give infraction" button.


    Spammers can be quickly erased using a special mass deletion system.

    1. Select one of the spammer's posts (click the checkbox on the upper right of the posts). You can also select posts from multiple spammers.

    2. Under the moderation menu (lower right), select "delete posts as spam".

    3. Check "Delete other posts and threads started by the affected users", enter "spam" as the reason for deletion, and select "Ban these users" under punitive action.

    4. Click "Proceed".

    5. In the next menu, under "Ban user", change "Place banned users in to" from "Banned" to "Spammer". This is what causes them to show up as a spammer to everyone. Enter "Spam" under the ban reason.


    When a post is reported all relevant mods will get an email, and there will be a new thread created in the "Reports and Infractions" forum. If you are responding to an issue, post a message in the thread that you will deal with it. If a kick is involved post what you did and a link to the kick message you posted. This will keep other mods from trying to do the same thing.

    If the same thing has been reported multiple times you can mass-close or merge the duplicate threads.

    Do not respond to reported posts in a thread that you have been actively participating in (you may report posts yourself for someone else to handle). Never kick/ban someone for an unreported post - report it yourself if you see it or if someone tells you about it via PM.

    If you think that a banning might be reasonable, send a PM to the admin with a link to the Rules and Infractions thread. You can kick the person while waiting, but please DO NOT say that you have requested banning. Just say you have forwarded the message to the admin for further configuration.

    When giving someone a warning or kicking, always include an explanation that points out what they did wrong. Criticize them but don't be aggressive except in the most egregious cases - you're carrying a big stick, so speak softly. Don't make threats about them being kicked/banned in the feature if they don't behave - that's implicit in any mod warning.
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