User:AngelinaBelle/SMF team manual/How to From Online Manual

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Moderation Duties

The purpose of board and post moderation is to maintain a friendly environment where community members can get the help and support they need.

Simple Machines Forum team members patrol every publicly-viewable boards, review every post for inappropriate content, and move, remove, split, merge or lock topics as required to maintain civility and good order. Language Moderators (not members of the SMF team) are responsible for patrolling non-English language boards.

When deciding what to do with a slightly-misplaced post, please be careful and extra-friendly. New users are often confused and frustrated when they make their first post. A simple message like "I hope you won't mind that I've moved your post to the XXX board, where I hope you'll get the help you need", goes a long way. Similarly, when users have double-posted in different boards (often because they were unsure where to post), a friendly post explaining the move, merge, or deletion will go a long way toward helping the new user feel welcomed.

Reviewing & Moderating

The moderator serves two roles. The first, and most important, is to keep the discourse at civil and friendly. The second is to try to keep the forum as enjoyable and helpful as possible. Moderation is not at all like support. When you are moderating, please think like a moderator.

  • Keeping it civil, friendly, and clean
    • If you see a post that is lowering the "friendliness quotient", please use a PM to ask the poster to use words that will decrease the tension and increase the level of civility and friendliness.
    • If you see a post that contains some clearly inappropriate content, make the edit. Inform the user, via PM, if possible.
    • If you see a post that is clearly in violation of the site rules, do not hesitate to delete it. Inform the user, via PM, if possible.
    • If posters continue to discourse in an unfriendly, un-civil, harrassing, vulgar, or hateful way, you may need to warn them, with a clear explanation of why their post violates the terms of use of this site.
    • Moderation concerns can be discussed at the Moderation Concerns boards on the forum.
  • Keeping it helpful and enjoyable (and friendly, civil, and clean, too)
    • If you see a request for support that might be in the wrong board, but is getting helpful community responses, there is no harm in leaving it where it is for a little while. You can always move it later.
    • If you see a request for support that is not getting any response, you can move it. Leave a friendly, even apologetic note "I hope you won't mind that I've moved this post to the Themes and Graphics board. I hope someone there has the answer to your question".
    • Sometimes a support topic goes off-topic. If the original poster is already satisfied with the answer, and a couple of community members hang around to chat, this is OK. As long as the discourse is civil and friendly (see above).
    • Sometimes, a second poster chimes in with exactly the same problem. It might be OK to leave this in the same thread, if the person offering support is offering exactly the same advice to both posters, this actually makes life easier for everyone.
    • Sometimes, a second poster chimes in with a similar (but not exactly the same) problem. It will probably be better to split the topic, with a friendly, even apologetic note in the original thread. "I hope you won't mind that I have given this issue its own topic at .... I hope this will save confusion and help you get help more quickly."
    • Sometimes, a help-seeker makes two posts on the same problem, in different boards. They might not have been sure where to put the question, or they made a mistake and then could not delete their first post. Merge the two, if possible. Delete one if necessary. Leave a friendly, even apologetic note "I hope you won't mind that I have deleted your other post on the same topic from the xxx board. I think this one is in the right place to get the help you need".
    • If an off-topic chit-chat discussion springs up in the middle of a help topic, you can split it off into an appropriate Chit Chat board. Leave a friendly, even apologetic note to explain the split.
    • Hosting Board
    • Chit Chat
    • Joke Board!
    • News & Politics


Only respond to a support question if you have something useful to communicate. Be sure of what you mean to put acrosss, and be sure to communicate it simply and well, and in a civil and friendly manner. Communication is a two-way effort - this means that BOTH the poster and the reader need to make the effort to understand the other's perspective and position. As a reader, it is easy to say "I read things as they're said - it's not my fault they wrote it like a jackass" and as a poster it's easy to say "I'm honest, I'm blunt and I'm sorry if they can't deal with that".

So, before you start typing, think about how all the ways you may have misinterpreted the post you are replying to. And before you hit "submit", think about all the ways your post could be misinterpreted. If you are feeling rushed, anxious, angry, or out-of-sorts, it could be difficult to meet high standards for communicate well and in a friendly way. In this case, take the day off. Come back when you are in a positive and friendly frame of mind.

When reviewing support requests, review the oldest first.