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Tips for Moderators
 

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Tips for Moderators

When you become a Board Moderator you will see some changes in the appearance of your board and in the way some of its features behave versus the appearance and behavior the membership general experiences.

First, what a Moderator sees: In the Author area of any of your posts on the board, even ones from before you became the Moderator, you and the membership general will now see your Member Group listed as "Board Moderator". On all other boards you will retain your normal Member Group status. At the bottom of any given topic screen, under the last post of the topic, you will now see additional buttons and tools that were not visible before you became the Moderator. Those tools are defined here.

The behavior of certain tools on the board you moderate will change to recognize your new abilities as Moderator.

The most important tool a Moderator has is his own judgment. Use it.

For example members often invite others to visit their websites. This is perfectly acceptable. If the majority of the person's posts, however, are advertisements for his website, then that is not acceptable.

Sometimes an otherwise good member of the community will post something questionable. Use your best judgment. Consider the content of all the member's posts, then decide what course of action you wish to take: Edit the message yourself, request the member edit his post, remove the message entirely, request a text filter, or request the member be banned.

Use your judgment!

When in doubt, ask for advice from another Moderator or Administrator.

Below are the guidelines of how and when to use your moderator abilities.

Edit any post

You will now be able to modify any post on the board, not just your own. When you modify another member's post, that member's name and information is retained as the author; your name will not replace his even though you were the last to modify the post (although a note will be displayed stating who last modified the post). This is one of the primary reasons why being a responsible and trustworthy Moderator is so important.

For minor problems, especially with regard to angry posts, the best course of action, and the one least likely to further anger anyone, is to politely request that the author modifies or removes his post. Explain calmly and friendly why you believe the post shouldn't remain active as it is. You may also wish to suggest that the angry member settle his differences with the opposing member privately. The Forum provides several facilities for private discussion.

In cases such as an objectionable picture being placed inside an otherwise useful message you might wish to simply edit the picture out of the post. The best way to do this is to replace the picture (or other item removed) with a statement such as "[IMAGE REMOVED]" or "[URL EDITED OUT]".

Delete a post

You may delete individual posts simply by clicking the "delete" button toward the top of any post. Occasionally members posting replies hit the "send" button too many times and multiple copies of the message get posted. This is an honest mistake; simply delete the extra copies.

It is always a good idea to copy (author information, date and time, and body of the post) any post you delete (other than duplicates), and mail it to the Administrator. By doing that you will have fully informed the Administrator in the event your judgment and action on the matter is ever questioned.

Delete a topic

If an offending topic contains only the opening post, do not delete the post, delete the topic. Within the the Forum system a "topic" consists solely of the subject, number of responses, date and time of creation, and author, it does not include the data on the first post, which is stored separately.

Lock a topic

You may lock or unlock a topic, preventing or allowing new replies to be added. One of the functions of a Moderator is to keep the board organized and easy to use. Topics are allowed 15 posts per page; after 15 posts a new page is created (this is the default, it can be changed).

While the pages are easy to navigate either from the topic list or the bottom of the messages pages, a popular topic can grow unwieldy fairly quickly. If one topic is too big, in your opinion, you should lock it and begin a new topic continuing the first. Don't delete the first topic, leave it there for future readers as long as it has relevance.

It's always a good idea, when splitting topics, to make note that the active topic is not the the first. The best way to do this is to cite it in the topic title, for example when locking a topic called "bug found in LZ OS", make the new topic title "bug found in LZ OS (part 2)".

Here's a very useful, and much appreciated trick to use when you lock a topic for being too long and create a follow up topic. Each topic has a unique URL that will always link back to it, which you will see displayed in your browser's address/location bar. Since the Topic List always sorts the most recently modified topic to the top of the list, older or locked topics get pushed to the bottom or even to other pages, making it difficult for people new to the board to catch up on previous parts of the discussion.

Why not give them a hand? In addition to titling the next part of the topic "[title] (part x)", in the first post put a link back to the previous topic. For example, when locking up "bug found in LZ OS" and starting the new topic "bug found in LZ OS (part 2)", include in the topic opening message something like

"Continued from [yabburl?board=general&action=display&num=42]'bug found in LZ OS'[/yabburl]" (where 'yabburl' will be replaced with the script's URL automatically)

Anyone new to the "bug found in LZ OS (part 2)" topic can then click the link to catch up on the full discussion. Members will appreciate the extra effort.

Move a topic

Occasionally a user may post a message off-topic or not related to the theme of the board. The best way to handle this situation is to ask the user through Private Message to re-post his message in a more appropriate place, and indicate what place that would be.

Otherwise you may move a topic from one board to another if you moderate both boards. If you don't moderate both the source and destination boards, you will not be able to move it. Request that an Administrator moves it for you.

Request a Text Filter

The Forum includes a utility accessible only to the Administrator that allows for the automatic substitution of text in posts at display time. The Text Filter utility functions on the same principle as the engine that substitutes emoticon symbol text for emoticon graphics, e.g. allowing for the replacement of "http://www.getrichquick.com" with "(URL removed)". The substitution is done not at post time, when a member writes a post, but at display time, meaning every time the page containing the post is displayed through a web browser the system performs the substitution. Thus, even days after multiple messages have been posted promoting "http://www.getrichquick.com", a Text Filter can be added that replaces the line in all past, present, and future posts. In short, once a Text Filter is added, the search string will never be seen by anyone.

Request a member be banned from the forum

It is the firm and fervent hope of the Board Staff that it will never be necessary to ban anyone from accessing the Forum.

The Forum was created to be a place for enjoyment, information exchange and freedom of expression. Ideally we would all act responsibly and maturely toward each other and the Forum. Unfortunately we do have to face the realistic possibility that that will not be possible considering the opportunity the Internet represents to a very active minority out to separate us from our wallets or whose idea of fun is to ruin the enjoyment of others.

While we still hope very much to never have call to use it, the Forum has, since its creation, been equipped to ban individuals from access. The system can automatically prevent access by any person based on his IP Address, which is the unique number that identifies each person's computer at the point it connects to the Internet, or by a group of IP Addresses (all addresses originating from an entire domain or ISP), and by several other methods we will not discuss in the interest of security.

The Board Staff consider the termination of a member's account and the ban of that member to be a very serious action, and it will only be taken in the most extreme cases and when all other options have been exhausted. Before banning a member the Board Staff will thoroughly examine all evidence, interview all relevant parties, consider all circumstances, and attempt any and all possible lesser actions, which may include temporary suspension of account and access.

Realistically we cannot envision a situation in which banning any member would be necessary.

The following individuals are not considered members, and will summarily and swiftly be banned:

  • Those whose presence on, and "membership" to, the Forum is clearly intended solely to facilitate engagement in:
    • promotion of a website, regardless of content;
    • promotion of a company, business, method of doing business, investment opportunity, affiliate program, or other commercial entity or enterprise;
    • promotion of a mailing list or newsletter;
    • posting of advertisements, whether of a graphical, textual, or multimedia nature;
    • posting of adult-oriented material;
    • posting of multiple messages whose content does not significantly vary ("spamming" or "bombing the board");
    • sending through Private Messaging multiple messages whose content does not significantly vary ("spamming" or "mail bombing");
    • logging in and attempting to log into the Forum through another member's account without that member's permission for the purpose of reading the member's Private Messages and/or impersonating the member on public posts or Private Messaging
    • sabotaging, or taking action intended to sabotage, the Forum, its systems and properties, or its web, email, and other servers;
    • breaching the security of, or taking action intended to breach the security of the Forum, websites of members of the Forum, their systems and properties, or their hosts' web, email, and other servers.

If a Board Moderator feels that an individual should be banned, such as in the case of an individual or group that engages in one of the activities listed above, take the following steps:

  1. Cease all communication with the offending party; the Board Staff will take it from here.
  2. Do not delete all the posts/PM's/emails from the offending individual as Board Staff will need to examine them, and will need to retain them if the action taken is ever challenged.
  3. Inform all other relevant parties, except the offending party, to also retain their copies (in the case of PM or email offenses), and that they should not communicate with the author until the matter has been resolved.
  4. Send via PM to username "admin" or via email to the Administrator's email address the following:
    • A copy to of the initial complaint (if another member was involved);
    • The board(s) and topic titles on which the offending post(s) appears;
    • if the offense is not related to public posts, such as PM or e-mail spamming, send representative samples;
    • an approximate count of the appearances/instances of the offending post/message;
    • the member's username and real name;
    • the usernames of all members and Moderators who are aware of or have been victims of the offense; and
    • an explanation of why you believe banning the member is warranted.

Though the entire Board Staff will be involved in the decision, the Administrator will bear final responsibility for the decision to ban or not ban the member. Any appeals and protests should be filed with the Administrator.

Any involved parties wishing to comment or make recommendation on the matter prior to a decision being rendered should contact the Administrator.

 
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