Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

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Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby James » Sat Sep 07, 2002 12:36 am

Moderation Guide
An outline of moderation in The Scholars of Shen Zhou and how the various forums should be approached.



:!: GENERAL PROCEDURE

:arrow: All SoSZ moderators should feel free to apply their own best judgment to any situations that come up. If there is a problem in a forum moderators should feel free to do what is needed to resolve the situation as long as the steps taken follow the general management outline discussed below. The administrators will back up a moderator’s recommendation.

:arrow: Even though each moderator is only given moderator rights over specific forums, their word carries weight across the forum. If, for example, an issue that requires moderation occurs in The Pub, and there are no moderators with moderator rights in The Pub itself or administrators online, the moderator should contact the involved parties and request they resolve the situation. It is also hoped that this effort will be reported in the Imperial Council (moderator discussion forum) or via PM so it is known that the action was taken. Moderators should be respected across the whole forum, regardless of whether or not they had moderator rights in a specific section.

:arrow: Activity. All moderators should be active in their given forum(s). All moderators should also enjoy their jobs. If any moderators stop participating in a forum I would like to hope that they would request another forum or another moderator to take their place. In the end it is all about fun and nothing to do with business. If you do not enjoy a forum you moderate please let us know so we can either give you another forum that you do enjoy, or place someone else in charge of the forum that would have fun. I do not like business, especially how it is defined today, and I do not want anyone to see the forum as “work” instead of “play”. If administrators decide that a moderator is not active in a forum they are to ask the current moderator for details. If a moderator feels the other moderators in a forum are not active they should take it upon themselves to contact the other moderators and ask for details, or bring the thought to administration.

:arrow: Escalation. If you have a problem in the forum please feel free to go to whatever moderator you feel comfortable talking with. If you are not comfortable speaking with the moderators please go to the administrators (James, Lion's Mane, and Wild-Eyes). They will both be able to help you with problems anywhere in the forum. Please give the system a chance, all moderators are chosen because administration (and the other moderators) feel they are excellent choices for the responsibility. Our staff includes some very kind, open minded, and intelligent people. I do not think there is a forum-based problem that cannot be resolved.

:arrow: Nobody in the forum is to be upset that a member or other moderator chose to take an issue to a certain moderator or administrator. Threats in relation to this issue will not be tolerated. If you have an issue with someone please resolve it via Private Message. If the issue concerns the whole forum, don’t hesitate to bring it before the Public Council. It is important that people have all options open to them in order to make sure the forum remains a happy and educational place for everyone to participate.

:arrow: Problem solving. Most people respond negatively to public criticism. If a member breaks forum rules and you are required to edit their posts, place a simple <mod edit, explanation> in italics in the post and then write them a Private Message explaining what happened along with a warning if one is necessary (avoid images or color in these posts, no need to draw more attention than necessary). If there are continued offenses after private messages have failed feel free to confront them publicly (ask the other moderators or administrators if you have any doubts). Failing that, turn the situation over to the forum administration with your recommendations for the problem.

:arrow: Invisibility. All moderators and administrators are encouraged to make sure their names are visible in the member list. For a while many of us chose to be invisible, but after some thinking I have determined that it is important for members to see who is online and who is not. Sometimes a moderator is needed to resolve a situation in a forum they do not moderate.




:!: THE ACADEMY GARDEN
Forums include: San Guo Yan Yi Symposium; Literature, Studies, and Academics; World History Deliberation; Current Affairs.

:arrow: We have decided to complete revise the management approach for this forum. My goal for this section is for it to be a place where discussion can occur on any subject (especially those that society as a whole has trouble dealing with). Moderators in this section should resolve as many situations as possible without resorting to forum rules. If two members are in a very heated debate, moderators should never step in to end it unless one of the involved members specifically says that it needs to cool down.

Our policy here is now “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. If you cannot stand the thought of someone arguing in favor of or against abortion, for example, do not participate in the abortion thread. If you cannot stand the thought of someone saying that <x religious work> does not seem like complete fact for <x reasons> do not participate in the discussion. We will allow these discussions here because The Scholars of Shen Zhou is neutral in political, country, religious, and current affairs issues. It is also important to remember that moderators are not neutral in all of these factors, and the are encouraged not to censor their views. They are, however, not allowed to punish people due to a difference of opinion.

Sounds like a free for all, right? Not exactly. Moderators will carefully watch posts by members to make sure views presented are done so to spark intellectual and knowledgeable discussion and are not plays on a person’s views to make them angry. Topics that are started simply to make people angry will also not be tolerated. Posts in this section should be thought provoking or informative (and for the most part this is true of all posts in the forum right now). Trolling (trying to start a fight), attempting to make other people angry, bringing up topics just to hurt people, and spamming (unnecessary or pointless posts) will not be tolerated. Biased treatment of issues combined with hostility toward other members who hold a different view will not be tolerated. Racial and sexual bias will also be carefully monitored.

:arrow: Some members have also, apparently, expressed concern over other members monopolizing a discussion from time to time with a very difficult debate. This is not to be seen as a problem. If a member wants to participate in a discussion then they are free to do so, it is how we learn, but if they don’t we will not tell people to step down the level of debate. The only time we will intervene here is if one of the involved members feels they are being personally attacked and expresses a desire for action to be taken.

:arrow: To members: If you do not disagree with something being said in these forums please step into the discussion and state your views. We will not censor discussions and issues just because some people don’t like the fact that they occur. This sort of thing is like running away from a good chance to gain some knowledge and information. As said earlier, if you don’t feel you can participate in a calm and intellectually proper manner, do not participate at all.




:!: BALAMB GARDEN
Forums include: Dynasty Warriors Training, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Other Three Kingdoms Games, and Gamer's Haven.

:arrow: The Balamb Garden consists of the various gaming forums in The Scholars of Shen Zhou. Moderation here is much more relaxed and direct. Moderators are expected to participate in the forum(s) they frequent so they have a good view of the subject material and the members that call the forum(s) home.

:arrow: Please be discreet in moderation of topics here. If a member spams excessively please speak to them privately before making any public notes. Edits should be clean and plain so as not to draw unnecessary attention. If private resolution continues to fail after a private warning (to be posted in the Imperial Council) then public reactions can follow. Failing that take the issue to the administration with your suggestions as to how it should be solved. For the most part moderation here is up to the moderators and we will not be overly exact in how this is to be done.

:arrow: If a conversation heats up it should be calmed down. If members get upset about views presented they should be resolved in the best way possible. Unlike the Academy Garden discussion should be more relaxed and open. There is a large difference between your favorite game system and whether or not abortion should be allowed.

:arrow: Members: Please respect the concerns of all administrators and moderators in this section. Many people think that an open environment where everything up to flaming is allowed is better, but in the end it creates a hostile forum that welcomes only the people that want a fight.




:!: PEACH TREE GARDEN
The Pub, Artistic Expression and Illustration, Foreign Kingdoms, and Kongming’s Archives.

Like the Balamb garden these sections are all much more relaxed than the Academy Garden. The rules are basically the same as those indicated on the forum rules page. Aside from that please pay attention to anything the forum moderators have to say and there won’t be any concerns.

:arrow: The Pub: Talk about anything you like, as long as it is not hateful, biased, or offensive to members. The moderators chosen for this section have a great sense of humor and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is probably the friendliest and most relaxed section of the forum. If any posts of sensitive nature are made that apply to current events please move them to the Academy Garden. Here the moderators word is final.

:arrow: Artistic Expression and Illustration: Display and show off your art. It does not matter what sort of art is is, please feel free to share it. If you display your art here you must be willing to accept any criticism from members that follows. In fact, members are encouraged to share their views here. That is what a learning experience is all about. Artistic nudity is allowed, but only after getting authorization from an administrator and with a proper warning on the post. Standard forum rules apply as stated, as well as the posted rules within the forum.

:arrow: Foreign Kingdoms: Display your Web site here for criticism and comments. Don’t post it if you don’t want to get advise on the matter. There are some talented Web artists in this forum and you can learn a lot from them. Please read the introduction announcement, it explains where you can post a specific type of site, and please respect the views of Vegetabcool, she is relaxed and talented, you can learn a lot from here.

:arrow: Kongming’s Archives: All comments regarding Kongming’s Archives, my other Romance of the Three Kingdoms Web site, should be directed to this forum. Standard forum rules apply, but please feel free to be as blunt and direct as you like. Confront me about anything. I manage this forum myself.




:!: IMPERIAL GARDEN
Public Council, Imperial Edicts, and Imperial Council.

:arrow: These forums fulfill basic site requirements. Public Council is a place for you to speak about forum issues with moderators and other members and also a place for you to share concerns. Imperial Edicts is home to new forum rules and all members should read it’s contents (being a member assumes you know the issues posted here), and Imperial Council is a place for moderators and administrators to vote on changes, decide forum issues, and discuss concerns. This forum is closed to non-moderators.

:arrow: Please feel free to be as blunt and direct as you like in this section. Members will never be punished for presenting concerns or confronting management, and in fact it is encouraged. We are here to learn too. Here final say comes from the administrators. Please respect what they have to say. Spamming, flaming, trolling, etc. is strictly forbidden here.



Do you have any thoughts, comments, or questions? Please send them to either Zhuge Kongming or Zhuge Xuanshi via private message or post them here. These rules will be revised regularly.

~ Zhuge Kongming and Zhuge Xuanshi (09/06/02)
~Amended by Wild-Eyes, 9/25/03
Last edited by James on Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread postby James » Sun Oct 20, 2002 8:58 am

I am making this, our moderation guide, public so everyone can get an idea of how we approach the different forums and what is acceptable and unacceptable from our own point of view. Take a look if you have some time and are a frequent member.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Fri Sep 26, 2003 5:44 am

:!: WARNING SYSTEM

Moderators are to warn members when they breach the Forum Rules. Obviously, a great deal of this is up to moderator discretion, but it is hoped that the moderator understands the rules well enough to know what is and isn't a breach of forum rules. If you have doubts, instead of issuing a warning, please post in the Imperial Council and ask for assistance. Do not issue a warning unless you are sure of yourself.

The warning catagories are as follows: Spam, Plagiarism, Vulgar and Tasteless Content, Flaming, Trolling, Sensitivity (Sensitive Topics rule), Illegal Software Distribution, Forum Bias (attacking other forums), Enforcing Forum Rules, and Private Message Abuse.

The procedure for issuing a warning should be as follows:

1. Edit the offender's post with text that follows the format Mod Edit (Name): Type of Warning Issued, see your PM box. Do not 'reply' to them to issue a warning; it is unnecessary and confrontational. These 'mod edits' should be clean and not draw attention to themselves; the best options are to either italicize it, or put brackets around it. An example:

SumGai wrote:wow :shock: :shock: :oops:

Mod Edit (Wild-Eyes): Spam warning, please see your PM box.


Spam warnings can be deleted, but please make sure you copy the text of the spam and what thread it was in, in your PMs and posts in the IC.

2. PM the offender with either a quote of the message or a link to the message (you can obtain these by right clicking on the little post icon at the top of the post, and hitting copy shortcut). After quoting the message, please tell them the type of warning, why their post recieved such a warning, and a quote from the forum rules regarding the particular rule that they are breaking. Please be as clear, polite, and thorough as possible in your warning messages; communication is important to a moderator's job. Continuing our example:

SumGai wrote:wow :shock: :shock: :oops:


You have recieved a spam warning for this post, because it was posted in the "Three Kingdoms Question and Answer" thread, and was not a substantial or necessary reply in the thread. For your reference, from the forum rules:

:arrow: Spam
Do not spam in the SoSZ forums. Spam is any post that does not directly further the objective of a thread, which includes off topic posts, posts which only contain a few words and/or emoticons, and inappropriate replies to a thread. If a thread asks for an opinion, rather than simply saying “Yes” or “No” in a post, explain your position and the reasons why you make your decision. This helps promote conversation. If you want to convey a large amount of information, and it is possible to do so in one post, please do so. This helps conserve forum space and download times. In general if you get three spam warnings action (possibly a temporary ban) will be taken to slow the problem, as spam only leads to a low quality forum. The impact of the action taken will relate to the location of spam (e.g. spam in the Balamb Garden will be tolerated much more than spam in the Academy Garden) and the moderator's judgement.


If you have any further questions or concerns about this warning, please contact myself or an administrator.


3. Come into the Imperial Council Forum, and open up the Warning System thread ((side note, this will be revised into a new system soon)). The first thing you should do is post a reply. In your reply please post who was warned, what they were warned for, a copy of the text (especially if it's spam and you are deleting it) or a link to the post, and any opinions/comments you need to make about the warning.

4. Go to the first post of the same thread that contains the list of warnings, and click the 'edit' button. Scroll down to the name of the offender if they are on the list, and if they are not, add them in their alphabetical placement. After their name, please post the warning type, your name, the date, and a link to the post (ignore a link if it is spam you are deleting). The format should look like this ((also something new that will come with the new system)):

SumGai
Flame Warning, Wild-Eyes, 08.07.03.
Spam Warning, Wild-Eyes, 08.09.03


5. If a member confronts you about their warning, please deal with it in the most rational and fair manner that you can. If it is a problem you cannot handle, please bring it to an administrator's attention. If the member attacks you, do not respond to them, forward the PM to an administrator's attention immediately. This is the same both in PMs and public postings on the board (if the individual chooses to do so, though they should not). While you will have to defend yourself from time to time, do not ever feel like you are being threatened (even if the member does so). If the situation becomes heated, ask an administrator to step in for you.




:!: PRUNING, SPLITTING, AND DELETING

Pruning is a process we use in order to get rid of locked or old, no longer useful threads. Splitting is a process we use to get rid of several offtopic posts, either to make a new topic out of them, or to send them to be pruned out. Deleting is actually deletion of the post by the moderator. While the former two do not result in post counts dropping, the latter does. Deleting posts and topics should not be used except in the case of spam. To delete a post, you merely go to the upper right hand corner of the post and click the 'x'. To split a thread, go to the bottom of the page, and click the split button. Select the posts you want to split, and create a new title, and choose the forum.

Any posts or threads that you want to get rid of that aren't pure spam should be sent to the Pruning Bin. This is to prevent unnecessary post count dropping (it also allows for us to recover topics quickly in case we make a mistake). All moderators have access to the Pruning Bin. You may split posts off into the pruning bin as a new "topic" (which is a handy way for dealing with several pages of spam, or when you want to trim a thread down back to size). You may also move topics into the Pruning Bin. When you move a topic into the Pruning Bin, uncheck the "Leave Shadow Topic" box.

Remember: Excepting single spam posts, all threads/posts facing deletion should go to the Pruning Bin.




:!: PRIVATE ISSUES

Harassment is harassment, wherever it occurs. If you find that other members or moderators are flaming, spamming, harassing, or otherwise bothering other members unprovoked, please forward the issue to an administrator with as many details as you can. Likewise (see also below), your private behavior regarding the forum should correlate with the same respect expected out of any other member.




:arrow: MODERATOR BEHAVIOR

Being a moderator at SoSZ gives you only one visible advantage: a free custom title. Everything else you do here is volunteer work to make the forum a cleaner, better place. You are still an equal with the rest of the members on this site; you do not have more 'power' than they do. If you feel like being a moderator gives you 'power', I suggest you begin to look at it in a different light.

All moderators must obey the forum rules just like anyone else; even the administrators must obey them. In this way, you have no advantages over the rest of the members on this site. If a moderator (or even administrator) disobeys a forum rule, a moderator of that forum may issue a warning without fear of reprecussion. Similiarly, the administrators reserve the right to warn moderators about forum behavior.

There are unspoken rules, as well, that apply to moderators. One of those rules is the rule of 'silent confrontation'. This means that whether a member breaks a rule, or comes close to breaking a rule, or just does something questionable, you as the moderator do not confront them openly about that behavior. Warnings are issued via an edit of the post and a PM to the member. Other issues should also be handled via PM. Do everything in your power to avoid open confrontation, up to and including sucking it up and letting an insult slide. Moderators set the image for the forum, and if they are regularly upset with members then it reflects badly on all of us, and members will leave. Even if a member makes an issue public after you write to them privately, you are not obligated to make a defensive reply. The administrators will gladly handle the situation for you.

The other unspoken rule is 'attitude'. Your attitude is a very crucial component to how well you moderate on SoSZ. Attitude refers to the way you treat other members, both publically and privately. It refers to the seriousness with which you treat moderating and the kindness and understanding you show toward members. If your posts or warnings show hostility, anger, or poor attitude toward other members, the Administrators will not be pleased, and will try to speak with you to correct your viewpoints.

As well, moderators are expected to be constantly active in their forums. Though we have no mathmatical standard to judge this by, if you are gone for more than a month without reasoning, you may find yourself returning without the moderator position. If we find a low post volume (for example, 5 posts per month), we may also remove the moderator position from you. It is essential that you participate in the forums you are moderating in.

These things in mind, the administrators are constantly reviewing your performance as a moderator. We reserve the right to, at anytime and without prior notification, remove you as a moderator from any and/or all forums. If you have just read over this passage, as well as the forum rules, then you may have already figured out the reason you were removed (if we did not PM you about it). If you do not understand the decision, you may PM any one of the administrators to discuss it. It is unnecessary to post in the Public Council or anywhere else to ask why; administrators will answer their PMs. Responding to your removal with a bitter public attitude that includes forum rule breaking (eg flames, etc) may result in harsher action. Please take your removal with a serious, mature manner and discuss it with an administrator.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Fri Sep 26, 2003 5:47 am

The moderation guidelines in James' first post have been altered to remove the reference to no longer existant forums, and correct a few small errata.

We have also instituted all the above mentioned rules in my post above this one. Please read them at your leisure.

Do not respond to this thread with 'Looks great', etc. posts, only respond if you have criticism, questions, or insight.
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Re: Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby James » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:24 pm

johntrask wrote:i was just wondering.. how do you become a moderater?

We open 'applications' when we need one. :)
Essentially, we invite members to express their interest.
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Re: Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby SunXia » Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:55 pm

johntrask wrote:i was just wondering.. how do you become a moderater?


Also, the decision is based on how you contribute to our community as a whole!! If you project negative vibes by breaking rules and flaming others, you will not be chosen!!
If becoming enlightened or an intellectual means I must become arrogant and coldly cynical about the world around me then I'd gladly remain a fool for the rest of my life!!

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Re: Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby James » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:42 am

SunXia wrote:Also, the decision is based on how you contribute to our community as a whole!! If you project negative vibes by breaking rules and flaming others, you will not be chosen!!

Was that before or after his racist posts? Talk about pinning the tail...
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Re: Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby SunXia » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:47 am

After unfortunately!! I got a lovely reply via PM for that!!
If becoming enlightened or an intellectual means I must become arrogant and coldly cynical about the world around me then I'd gladly remain a fool for the rest of my life!!

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Re: Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby Human5 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:53 am

what? my bro wanted to be a mod?
SunXia wrote:After unfortunately!! I got a lovely reply via PM for that!!
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Re: Moderation Procedures (rev. Sep 2003)

Unread postby SunXia » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:58 am

Human5 wrote:what? my bro wanted to be a mod?
SunXia wrote:After unfortunately!! I got a lovely reply via PM for that!!

No, he insulted me via many PMs which is one of the resons why he is no longer here!! We do not tolerate upsets in the community!! We have rules and they are to be obeyed to keep everyone happy!!
If becoming enlightened or an intellectual means I must become arrogant and coldly cynical about the world around me then I'd gladly remain a fool for the rest of my life!!

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