For Staff and users who are interested in what a moderator's "rules" are, I have listed the general guidelines below.General
First and foremost, as Staff you are essential in keeping things running smoothly here. I simply don't have the time to keep up with everything, let alone watch for trouble. I continue to be pleased with the number and quality of Staff here. Without your help, these means would probably have been shut down some time ago.
Since there is no reward for being a moderator here, I try to keep the commitments light. I realize that you have a life - I don't expect you to spend all day every day on the site, just check in once in a while. Since the help is voluntary, I'm grateful for whatever assistance I can get. So if you've volunteered your time here - THANKS!Staff Conduct
To use old (but true) military quips, Staff are expected to lead by example and be above reproach. That means that all members of the Army.ca Staff need to take extra care in their actions here.
The flip side is that Staff have not given up their rights as regular old users here either. While it's expected that you will not breach the Conduct Guidelines
, you are permitted to discuss, debate and express opinions (even unpopular ones).
Be aware that many eyes are on you, and part of being a Staff is that nothing goes unnoticed.Staff Duties
Essentially, Staff keep an eye on the forums and ensure things are running smoothly. Their primary roles are to:
- Assist members who are having trouble, ask for help, or are unsure of how the system operates
- Monitor the content here to ensure it meets the Conduct Guidelines, which may entail editing, moving, closing or deleting certain messages
- Check in with the Command Post forum occasionally, for additional instructions, notes or discussions
- Notify other moderators by a posting in the Command Post forum of any abusive members, so we can take the appropriate level of action and stay apprised of the situation
I encourage new moderators to post a short note to introduce themselves to the users here.
Moderators can optionally be notified via e-mail of any new posts in a specific forum. If you want to be notified of new posts, simply click the "Notify" button when viewing that forum.
On occasion, users may contact you via the "Report post to moderator" feature, in which case you will receive an e-mail about a specific thread. Usually this feature is used when a topic has run afoul, and needs to be dealt with. As Staff, we can also use this feature to send out a "broadcast" to indicate potential trouble spots, or indicate how/why an issue was dealt with to other Staff. Be aware that these e-mail messages will be sent to the address you have registered here, so please keep it current.Content Guidelines
Please use your privileges sparingly. I've found that the need to change content is rare, though it does happen from time to time.When to edit a message
- Contains profanity
- Contains off-topic content
- Contains incorrect or sensitive information
- Violates the user agreement in some other way (contains advertising, is a personal attack, etc.)
Editing is always visible; whenever a message is edited, the date, time and edit author are shown within the message. (See the bottom of this message for an example.)
In general, it is preferable to edit a message rather than delete it entirely.When to delete a topic or message
- Unacceptable behavior
- Completely off-topic discussion
- No part of the topic/message is salvageable by editing
- Illegal/defamatory statements
Basically, delete a message whenever there is no value to leaving it in place. It is good practice to e-mail the topic initiator to explain why it was deleted, unless the reason is totally obvious. When to move a topic
When you move a topic, you have the choice to either leave a copy of the thread in the original forum, or completely move it to the new forum location. It is usually a good idea to leave a copy pointing to the new location so those returning can find it.When to lock a topic
- Discussion is heading off-topic, but does not merit deletion
- The initial message and replies contain valuable information, but further discussion is not desired
- Topic is a repeat of another post, or is answered in the FAQ
- The thread is becoming too lengthy
Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether to lock a topic or delete it. In general, deference should be given to the members participating, and it's better to lock a topic than to delete it. (If there are individual messages in the thread that are offensive, they can be individually removed---just be careful that the remaining thread still makes sense.)
If a thread has been locked, Staff should not post to it (except for administrative purposes, and rarely at that). If further discussion is warranted on the topic, consider unlocking it. Note that since Staff can post to any topic (locked or not) you must be vigilant for the "locked" icon at the top - closed threads have no other identifying marks for Staff, as they do for regular users.When to split a message
- When a thread has gone off topic, but the new topic is still a valid discussion
When you split a topic, you can split it past a certain point, or you can manually pick the posts to be moved to the new thread.When to warn/ban a member
Details on the warning system can be found here:http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,24937.msg75702.html#msg75702When to edit a profile
Generally, user profiles should be left in tact, though there are a few situations where they need to be cleaned up:
- To remove content the violates the Guidelines
- At the user's request
Army.ca has a zero tolerance policy for personal attacks, whether against another Army.ca member or a public figure. Posts that contain a personal attack should be summarily deleted, and the user should normally receive a warning. Personal attacks detract from the professionalism of the site and can sometimes cause serious problems for Army.ca as a whole.AdministrationPersonal Involvement
As a Staff member, should you become personally involved in a thread that needs moderation, it is recommended that you step back and let another member of the Army.ca Staff handle it. It's best to provide some background on the issue if possible, however in the interest of remaining impartial, Staff personally involved in a thread should refrain from heavily moderating it.Leave of Absence
If you go on an extended leave (more than a week or two) please post a note in the Moderator's Log so we can cover off the workload. Outclearance
These things happen; commitments change, family issues come up or postings make it difficult to stay current. No need to feel bad about it, it's a fact of life.
When you are no longer interested or able to help out here, please be responsible and let me know at your earliest convenience. With others waiting in line to moderate, your quick action will help the board keep flowing smoothly.Closing
If I have any closing comments, they are to simply use your common sense. The information above is presented as a set of guidelines because they do not cover every possible case. There will be situations that are not covered or that require different actions than proposed here. Bear in mind that part of being a moderator is knowing how to handle these situations in a straightforward, some common sense manner.
Please let me know if you have any questions on this.
Cheers and thanks