2. Moderation Tasks and Policies
3. Moderation Resources
Moderation Tasks and Policies
Moderation is the most common and important moderator function. Here are the most common "messy" situations, and what you should do about them:
1) Posting to the WRONG Forum
Example: A user posts a question about ESX Server in the VMware Workstation forum. It is obvious that the post belongs in a different forum:
Action to take: Use the MOVE TOPIC function to move the entire thread into the appropriate forum.
2) Non-Virtualization Related Posts
A user posts a new thread which is not virtualization or VMware related at all:
Action to take: Use the MOVE TOPIC function to move the entire thread to the Bit Bucket. Notify the user via private message that the topic has been removed, and why.
3) Double Posting
A user creates two or more identical posts, in the same forum
Action to take: Use the DELETE TOPIC function to delete the duplicate topic. Make sure to delete the duplicate that has NO replies, if possible.
A user creates identical postings in TWO OR MORE forums:
Action to take: Use the DELETE TOPIC function to delete the duplicate topic(s). Leave ONE topic that is in the most appropriate forum to be commented on.
4) Posting an "FAQ" question
A user creates a post in any forum which is exactly covered in that forum's FAQ applet
Action to take: REPLY to the thread, stating that this question/comment is answered in the FAQ. Provide a link to the FAQ and/or the text directly out of the FAQ, along with a link.
NOTE:Please be careful to give a gentle reminder in this situation. We want to incent brand new forum users to read the FAQ first, but not turn them off to the forums completely.
5) Bold, Italics, and Emoticons in the Subject Line
A user starts a NEW THREAD on any forum, using BOLD, ITALIC, or EMOTICON markings in the subject line of their post. This places artificial emphasis on their posting on the thread list.
Action to take: Use the EDIT MESSAGE function to edit the the ORIGINAL SUBJECT LINE. Remove the italics, bold, or emoticons. Check mark the EDITED BY box, and note that you edited the subject line to remove the italics, bold, or emoticon.
6) Mod Bashing/Baiting
Action to take: Use the LOCK TOPIC function to immediately lock the topic. Use the MOVE TOPIC function to move the entire thread into the Emergency Moderator Holding Area. Reply to the topic after moving it into the holding area, stating why it was moved. The forum administrators will be automatically notified upon your reply.
If the mod bashing/baiting is done as a REPLY to a thread, first use the BRANCH TOPIC function to turn the comment into it's own thread, then LOCK and MOVE the entire thread into the Emergency Moderator Holding Area.
7) Spam and Promotion
A user creates a NEW THREAD on the forums, which is a job advertisement or a business advertisement.
Action to take: Use the MOVE TOPIC function, to move the entire thread into the Emergency Moderator Holding Area. After moving the topic, REPLY to the topic and state why you moved it into the area. The forum administrators will be automatically notified when you reply to this topic. The administrators will take appropriate action.
A user creates a REPLY TO AN EXISTING THREAD on the forums, which is a job advertisement or a business advertisement.
Action to take: Notify the forum administrators by making a NEW POST in the Emergency Moderator Holding Area. In the new post, provide a link to the promotional posting, and state that a promotional post has been made. The administrators will review and take appropriate action.
A new user creates blatant spam in forums, groups or documents. (new user is defined as a user that has not contributed to the VMTN community in the past)
Action to take:
Log into the VMware Communities Admin Portal @ http://communities.vmware.com/admin using your community username and password. Once you are logged in, click the People tab. In the search box enter the username of the suspected spam account. In the search results, click on the green button under Disable. This will disable the users account.
Once the account is disabled, move forum spam content to The Bit Bucket forum. Move group spam content to the group called _Bit Bucket Group. If there is a large amount of spam, move one post or document to the bit bucket to keep a record and delete the remaining content.
A user posts profanity or other offensive language in any forum thread. The offensive language is severe.
Action to take: Use the EDIT MESSAGE function, and edit the profane language with <expletive deleted>. Check mark the "Edited by" box, and make sure you note that you edited the posting for profanity. Make a NEW POST in the Emergency Moderators Holding Area, with a link to the offensive user's profile. Note in the post that this user was edited for profanity.
A user creates a NEW POST or a REPLY to an existing post, directly insulting any user or group of users. This is called a "Flame" post for its inflammatory tone.
NOTE: There is a difference between a "spirited debate" and an "insult". People often get passionate about their opinions, which is a GREAT thing on a forum. The health decreases very quickly when forum users start insulting each other personally. Please be acutely aware of this when deciding whether or not to take action.
Action to take Use the MOVE TOPIC function to move the entire thread into the Emergency Moderators Holding Area. Reply to the post, stating why it was moved.
If the flame post is a REPLY to an existing thread, first use the BRANCH TOPIC function to branch the post into it's own thread, then MOVE the topic into the Emergency Moderators Holding Area.
10) Illegal and Malicious Postings
Clear cut examples of an illegal post are:
A user posts their VMware Workstation serial number for everyone to see.
A user posts their Microsoft Windows 2000 serial number for everyone to see.
Some postings may appear to be malicious, but not outright illegal. Examples of these types of postings are:
Links, or mentions of, warez sites or serial number generators.
Linking to any application/utility which has viruses, trojans, or spyware attached to it.
Action to take: Move the illegal or malicious post into the Emergency Moderators Holding Area. REPLY to the post after moving it, stating why it was moved.
If the post is a REPLY to an existing thread, first BRANCH the post into it's own topic, and then move the branched topic into the Emergency Moderators Holding area.
11) Patterns of Behavior
A user does any of the above, repeatedly. OR, a user does any of the above, as their VERY FIRST posting on the forums.
Action to take: Send the user a Private Message, and politely ask them to read the posting guidelines, FAQ, or other resources. Offer to help that user to understand the guildelines by asking you additional questions.
NOTE: See below if you have trouble dealing with a user in this manner:
A user does any of the above, repeatedly, despite having been warned by the User Moderator.
Action to take: Make a NEW POST in the Emergency Moderator Holding Area. In the new post, provide a link to the user's profile who is repeatedly breaking the guidelines. The forum administrator(s) will review this user's postings, put a watch on the user, and take other appropriate action depending on the circumstances.
12) Awarding Points for Helpful / Correct
Moderators have the ability to award points for both helpful and correct responses on any and all threads. As moderators we have agreed not to award points to any user(s) which also includes ourselves. Points should be awarded naturally from the post author. If a user wants points awarded, they should PM the author of the post and request the author provides helpful or correct points. If ever we feel that under a certain circumstance we need to award point we should discuss in the Community Moderator forum.
13) Other Moderator Actions
No other moderative privileges are granted to User Moderators. If you would like to moderate a post for any reason not specified above, you must first get permission from a VMTN Forum Administrator to do so. Post your request in the Emergency Moderators Holding Area for assistance on any post that does not fit into the above criteria.
The following is a list of moderation tools you have available to you. This is meant as a FUNCTIONAL LIST of tools.
The "closed padlock" icon at the top of each thread is used to lock the topic, which prevents any more replies to that thread. The thread can still be viewed.
The "open padlock" icon at the top of each thread is used to UNLOCK a locked thread. This allows forum users to start posting replies in this thread again.
Moderators can edit any user's message. This is done by using the "Edit message" icon at the top of the message you would like to edit.
Using the Delete Topic/Message button will cause that thread (and all of the messages threaded underneath it) to be deleted FOREVER from the forums. Users who earned reward points in that thread will lose their reward points if a thread is deleted. NOTE: There are VERY limited circumstances in which it's OK to use this function.
Using the Move Topic function allows the moderator to move ONLY the entire thread to a different forum. The person moving the thread must be a moderator in BOTH forums in order for the Move Topic function to work.
Use the Branch Topic feature to split a conversation away from it's original thread. The Branched Topic becomes it's own thread in the forum where the topic was being discussed. It's recommended to switch to THREADED VIEW mode (in "Your Control Panel") prior to using the Branch Topic feature, so that it's easy to understand which part of the conversation is being split from the original.
This feature has very limited uses, but can be a very useful feature when a particularly GOOD discussion gets ugly in a small branch of the discussion.