Moderators are loyal members who help out by watching over one or two places on the forums. Moderators can edit and delete posts, move threads to different topics, ban users, feature topics, and of course answer your questions.
- 1 How are moderators chosen?
- 2 Are moderator rights ever taken away?
- 3 One of the moderators has pissed me off.
- 4 Policies for Moderators
How are moderators chosen?
Being a moderator isn't an automatic thing that you earn with post counts or anything, it has to do with where we need a new mod and who's trustworthy. New moderators are basically chosen by existing moderators, based on who's liked.
To be considered for a mod position, a member must:
- Have two months of membership, 256 posts.
- Have a decent amount of posts in a forum where we're needing a mod.
- Have proven ability to start new and interesting topics to keep the place going.
- Be trustworthy and have posts that serve as an example of the way we want other members posting.
Moderators aren't added for fun... we try to have 2-3 moderators per forum, and new ones are added when old ones resign. Don't PM spacefem asking to be a moderator, that's not how it works.
Are moderator rights ever taken away?
Not often. Usually if a mod is removed, it's because he/she has mysteriously vanished for a while. We don't often have an issue with someone overmoderating... that's why not just anyone can be a mod.
One of the moderators has pissed me off.
It happens. You can either PM them asking for clarification (please don't flame them though) or e-mail spacefem (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an honest, but civil, explanation of what's bothering you.
Policies for Moderators
Welcome to being a moderator! We made you a moderator because we think you're cool and will do a good job, so welcome to the fold.
Here's what you are supposed to do:
- Be your normal cool self
- Visit the forums, especially yours, at least daily
- Make sure the discussion in your forum stays active - respond to topics, post new ones, etc.
- Post smart things, to serve as an example of what we want posts to look like
- Watch out for crap/abuse that doesn't belong here
- Help with new member approval and password issues and stuff
You don't have to rule with an iron fist (although, if you want to tell people you will, that's fine with us). It's okay for discussions to get heated and for people to disagree and even piss each other off sometimes, so long as it doesn't get too personal and other people in the forum, especially new ones, feel like they can jump in any time.
As a moderator, you have power and lots more buttons to click. Let's go through those:
Delete a Thread
What it does: Deletes a thread
When you should use it: Rarely. If the thread was posted by mistake, or if it's a duplicate of another thread, than delete it.
Move a Thread
What it does: Allows you to pick a new forum for a thread. You can move threads out of your forums, but not into your forums.
When you should use it: If a thread doesn't belong in your forum. Threads should generally go in the least active forum they qualify for. So a poll about which feminists make you happy should go in Feminism, not polls or happiness. A poll that doesn't fit into any specific category will go in Polls... never random weirdos.
Hell is our forum for threads that are so stupid they should die, but not for any offensive reason. If someone starts at thread that seems to do nothing but add 1 to their post count, it should go to hell. If it's all-out spam, delete it.
If some crazy spammer posts a bad thread in your forum, move it into moderators so we have a record of it.
Shadow Topics: When you move a thread, you'll be asked if you want to leave a "shadow topic"... this is a topic in the forum that says "Moved: yadda yadda yadda". Usually, you don't want one of these.
If you accidentally leave a shadow topic and want to delete it, go to your forum page. On the bottom, there's a link that says "you can moderate this forum". Click that link. Check the box next to the shadow topic. Scroll down and hit the "delete" button. The shadow topic is gone now, but the real topic is still there, in the forum you moved it to.
Lock a Thread
What it does: closes a thread so no one can post in it.
When you should use it: when the original thread may have been interesting, but the discussion following it has gotten so redundant that nothing worth discussing can or will be added to it.
Split a Thread
What it does: Takes you to a new screen where you can select certain replies that should belong in a new thread.
When you should use it: When a thread goes so horribly off-topic, its replies should be in a thread of their own.
What it does: Lets you edit a post
When you should use it: If a post has screwy technical things about it, like a huge image gone wrong or something.
What it does: Deletes a post
When you should use it: If a post is either really horrible or posted by mistake.
Dealing with spam and flamebait
It's sad, but sometimes we have some all-out assholes join the forum.
Spammers are trying to sell us something, their posts usually contain links and keywords. Ban them immediately and move any posts they've made to the moderators forum, so we've got a record of it but their precious link never gets the exposure they wanted for it.
Flamers are trying to upset us, usually because we're women. They're not trolls... trolls are somewhat thoughtful and original, and we'll let trolls stay around so we can play with them until we get tired. Flamers post mindless drivel, and often shocking images to gross us out. If the images are REALLY awful (like, going to give you nightmares) either delete the posts or edit out the images. If they're not so awful, just move it all to hell.
Oh, and ban. Usually IP ban, because these guys come back, often with friends.
If you post a thread as "sticky", it will stay at the top of the forum even if no one replies to it. A good example of this is the "Emergency Hotlines" thread in Advice... never know when we might need it. Stickies should be informative, they should not be used for forum policy or site announcements. These should be used sparingly.
To make a sticky thread: When posting a new thread or editing the first post of a thread, there will be three circles under the post box for Normal, Sticky, or Announcement. Use these to select how the thread should be presented.
To un-sticky a thread: Edit the first post of the thread and select the circle by "Normal".
Announcements are used for site/forum news or guidelines. You post these the same way you do stickies.
Not every forum should have an announcement thread. In fact, most shouldn't, and none of them should have more than one. Most things you need to "announce" should be worked into the Forum policies page, which we beat newbies to read. Announcements are annoying because it makes newbies feel like they have 1,000,000 kb of required reading to do before they post here, but more established members train their eyes to just automatically ignore them.
If you must post an announcement, consider turning it into a normal thread after about a month when everyone has read it and gets the point.
Keeping Your Moderator Job
We've never replaced a moderator for doing a bad job at moderating, only for not being around period. Hey, everyone gets busy, it's okay, we don't hold it against you. But we do need moderators, so if we chose to replace you, don't get too upset. I pay special attention to forum stats pages when chosing moderators, and seeing who needs replaced. In a given 30-day period, moderators are expected to have:
- At least 20 posts in the general forums
- At least 2% of all posts in their own forum
- At least 1 topic in their own forum
If I see that you haven't been around, I'll usually send you a PM. If you don't respond you'll probably be replaced. Returning Your Moderator Job The whole "ohmigod this person is GONE and must be replaced" thing only happens about 30% of the time. The other 70% of the time, I replace moderators because they request it. It's totally okay to take a vacation. There's no guarantee your spot will be there when you get back, but we'll see what we can do. At least you'll still be allowed in the moderator forum, if that's what you want. It's also really nice if you recommend a replacement when you go, that helps a lot.
The moderator forum is where we discuss moderating issues, problem members, opinions about the forums. You're welcome to talk about anything. We've decided over time that it's very important that moderators be open and honest with one another about how they feel. If you feel yourself getting burnt out and frustrated, tell us, we'll help you. It happens to everyone. There are a lot of former moderators in the moderator forum, too, because we feel bad kicking people out, and it's easier to re-make them a moderator if they ever want to be one again.
Remember, you're helping out with a forum that you find fun, so moderating should be fun too. If it's not fun, take a break. Post a new thread. Read some other forums. It happens.