Forum Moderator Handbook

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Forum Moderator Handbook: Duties and Responsibilities of a Forum Moderator

Forum Moderator:

A Forum Moderator is a person granted special powers to enforce the rules(Terms Of Service) of an Internet forum (Message Board). Moderators are not forum police officers!

Most Moderators of a forum can:

  • Move discussions to different sections of the forum
  • Close discussions
  • Edit the content of individual postings
  • Answer questions (or help people with problems)
  • "Stick" discussions so they remain visible in their forum section even if no new posts are made to them.

Additional rights may be granted to:

  • Block/Ban people from the forum who are "trolling" or breaking the Terms of Service.

Forum Moderator Levels:

  • Administrator - Full Access to all
  • Super Moderator - Can Moderate all areas with full moderator functions
  • Moderator - Can be Newsgroup specific or Forum in general

Leadership is defined by how you promote what you are trying to create, rather than how you denounce what you are against. People will, to a degree, more readily accept correction from someone who has a relationship with them than someone who just wants to lay down the law.

Generally, Moderators have a responsibility to:

  • Be familiar with the Newsgroup Forum Terms of Service
  • Ensure members are adhering to the Terms of Service
  • Welcome and Assist new members
  • Enforce rules fairly and diligently

Before you have to take action against a member, you should always contact them and try to get them to remove or edit the post themselves by referring to the rule you feel they have broken.

When to Delete a Post:

Deleting a post should be reserved for the most serious breaches of the Terms of Service.

  • Unacceptable behavior (profanity, tone of the message, personal affronts, etc)
  • Completely off-topic discussion
  • No part of the topic/post is salvageable by editing
  • Illegal/defamatory statements

When there is no value to the Forum that demands leaving the post in place, email the post initiator to explain why it was deleted unless the reason is totally obvious.

When to Move a Post:

  • Off-Topic discussion

When you move a post you have the option to leave a copy of the thread in the original forum newsgroup or completely move it to a new forum newsgroup (i.e. moveing a post asking about invoicing posted in the REPORTS newsgroup to the ACCOUNTING newgroup). It's a good idea to leave a copy pointing to the new location so anyone returning to that post can find it.

When to Ban a Member:

Banning a member means he or she will no longer have access to or be able to post to the forum. The decision to ban a member would be decided by a committee of Administrators and Moderators assigned that authority.

This is a last resort and should only be done after multiple warnings or after such egregious behavior that no other option seems appropriate.

When to Close a Topic:

  • Discussion is heading off-topic, but does not merit deletion
  • The initial post and replies contain valuable information but further discussion is not desired
  • The thread is becoming too lengthy
  • If the post becomes too lengthy, a link should be added tot he old post thread pointing to the new thread and vice versa

Posting Images:

Apply the 5th Grade Rule:

If you can't imagine the picture on the wall of a 5th Grade classroom, don't put it on the forum!

(NB UK users - equivalent to Year 6, age 10/11)

You may not have to be THIS restrictive, but images do need to be acceptable viewing to the majority of the membership. If there is ANY question how this post may be taken, the standard disclaimer MUST be inserted at the top of the post:

              This posting contains language, topics or ideas which may offend the reader. 
              The opinions or topics expressed in this posting are not those of the users group,
              the staff or Administrators of this forum.

Terms Of Service may include the following requests of its members:

1. Avoid personal attacks, slurs and profanity in your messages.

2. Refrain from posting advertisements or solicitations.

3. Keep the topic of a message relevant to the newsgroup you have chosen to create a post in.

4. Water.Cooler.Talk: Where members can chat with other forum members; informally talk and post messages and jokes that are not work related.

5. Posting images: images posted directly to the forum are limited to xxxx X xxxx pixels. Larger files or videos...