Moderation Policy

It is a condition of use that you agree to the Forum Rules. Therefore, we expect people to take responsibility for their own actions when communicating in the Forum. An Alert Moderator button is provided within each post to enable anyone to send a message to the Moderation Term for attention. It is not the role of Moderators to identify Rule Breaches. Moderators are individual volunteers that are passionate Forum users that have been appointed by the site owners with tools to facilitate day to day management of the Forum activity.

Who Moderates?

Our Moderation Team is comprised of a few volunteer site users that have a good understanding of the site aims, goals and features. They have been instrumental in working with the site management to develop the Forum Rules to ensure it maintains a friendly tone and remains a functional, useful venue for relevant discussion. This means, that this Forum is managed by the Members.

Moderation is simply a mechanism to ensure at least someone is available to respond to Forum issues on a daily basis. This may occasionally mean a significant time delay from when a problematic post appears to when it is actioned by a moderator - at other times action may seem to occur almost instantly - it just depends who is available at the time. This may sometimes give the indication that moderation is inconsistent, but this is meant to be a place that is friendly, informative and useful so don't get too bothered by the logistics of moderation.

Our Moderation Policy is designed around the idea that the people using the Forum will alert the Moderators when they feel something needs attention - when a rule has been breached and a post, reply or followup needs removal. Moderation should be seen more as a support role than a "policing" role. This is backed up periodic checks by the Moderators, but only when time permits.

Forum Moderators are not required to provide fulltime monitoring or public support. They are however, the sole decision makers in regards to the execution of moderation and they are the sole recipients of Alert Moderator feedback.

What to do if you are moderated

The first thing is don't panic - having a post moderated is certainly not meant to be a personal insult! Generally, you are not put in the sin-bin nor will you be banned for having a post moderated.

You will receive an email advising details of the issue, and you have the option to send back an email (this will reach all Forum Moderators) with a re-worded version of your post. Often, the reason you are moderated is for a section of what you've written - check the rule, re-read what you wrote and see if you can find another way to put it that doesn't breach the rules. Send it off to the moderators for review and take a breath! Ideally, the moderators can turn around the issue quite promptly and your reworded post can be put back online. Sometimes of course, if the comment was Off Topic or Inappropriate the best you can do is learn from your mistake. You may notice we have a "Moderation Complaints" rule. This is used to combat the unfortunate instance when someone who has been moderated feels the need to bite back. We don't tolerate public debates regarding moderation complaints however if you wish to take up your issue please send an email back to the moderators.

Very rarely has anyone ever been "banned" from using the Forum, and when they have it has usually occurred due to an ongoing provocation directed at the site owners or malicious attack at the site via the Forum facilities showing total disregard for the rules, which has given the Moderators no other choice but to totally block their access to the site in the interest of self-protection. Obviously extreme behaviour of this nature is totally intolerable.

What you can do if a post needs moderation

A large part of the Forum moderation relies on the "more eyes" the better concept. If you come across anything that you think requires moderation, please click the Alert Moderator button at the bottom of the particular post. This will send all Moderators an email that will prompt us to review the post. This is an important part of the community process. Whilst we don't make any guarantees, we will look at the post you've alerted us to and decide whether any action needs to be taken. Please do not expect a reply to your moderator alert - the system is designed to speed up the moderation process and unfortunately we cannot dedicate time to send personalised replies to every instance of a moderation alert that we receive.

Operational Transparency

The Forum Moderation system is designed to ensure operational transparency for both users and moderators. This means that moderation actions are publicly exposed. The purpose of visible moderation is to temporarily halt activity on a post whilst the moderators seek a resolution with the poster who has infringed a rule.

There are two slightly different instances to moderation. This first is when a reply or followup requires moderation. Under normal circumstances the moderators try to maintain the integrity of the thread by leaving the moderated message in view, which clearly shows readers that something has been removed. In extreme circumstances however, the moderator may be required to remove this message.

The benefits of this approach are:
  • explanations are visible for "missing" posts during the period where the moderator is actively working on a resolution

  • reasons are stated for why posts have been removed

  • provides users with a way to gain a better understanding of the Forum Rules

  • helps to avoid the need for moderation of these issues in the long-term

  • minimises the time involved in dealing with inappropriate posts

The second instance, is when a new thread is created and the text, links or title is in breach of a rule. The moderator must ensure that the moderation action removes the infringing message from view so it is important that these posts are alerted to the moderator as early as possible. Rather than respond to such posts, forum users are asked to leave them unanswered and to use the Alert Moderator button at the bottom of the post to ensure that moderators are made aware as soon as possible - remember moderators are NOT policing the site, nor the Forum waiting to pounce, but if they get an email they can be prompted to check the Forum and take action. If a problematic post is left un-moderated, the unfortunate result is that people can become upset at having their responses removed at a later stage when the moderator does finally notice the post so please take responsibility for your own posts.

If the person who breached a rule can present a reworded version to the moderators that is acceptable then the moderator can edit the post with the new version, remove the moderation message and reopen the post to the public view. Sometimes this whole process may take some time and patience should always be observed. Remember - moderation is a reactive task and is only done when time permits by our team of moderators.

Other benefits of our moderation process are:
  • users can feel safe knowing their words aren't being tampered with by moderators

  • moderators are cautious, knowing their actions are visible

  • moderators can undo/re-instate removed posts

  • other moderators can inspect what was removed

  • moderation can be tracked leading to better identification of trolls, spammers and other serial pests

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Created: September 2015
Revised: April 2011
Latest Feedback: July 2024

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