Touring New England.org
are maintained and enforced by the moderation team, but users are allowed to help out via what is known as a report system. Most Western forum platforms automatically provide such a system. It consists of a small function applicable to each post (including one’s own). Using it will notify all currently available moderators of its location, and subsequent action or judgment can be carried out immediately, which is particularly desirable in large or very developed boards. Generally, moderators encourage members to also use the private message system if they wish to report behavior. Moderators will generally frown upon attempts of moderation by non-moderators, especially when the would-be moderators do not even issue a report. Messages from non-moderators acting as moderators generally declare a post as against the rules or predict punishment. While not harmful, statements that attempt to enforce the rules are discouraged.
Breaking the rules
When rules are broken several steps are commonly taken. First, a warning is usually given; this is commonly in the form of a private message but recent development has made it possible for it to be integrated into the software. Subsequent to this, if the act is ignored and warnings do not work, the member is – usually – first exiled from the forum for a number of days. Denying someone access to the site is called a ban. Bans can mean the person can no longer log in or even view the site anymore. If the offender, after the warning sentence, repeats the offense, another ban is given, usually this time a longer one. Continuous harassment of the site eventually leads to a permanent ban. In most cases, this means simply that the account is locked. In extreme cases where the offender – after being permanently banned – creates another account and continues to harass the site, administrators will apply an IP address ban or block (this can also be applied at the server level): If the IP address is static, the machine of the offender is prevented from accessing the site. In some extreme circumstances, IP address range bans or country bans can be applied; this is usually for political, licensing, or other reasons. See also: Block (Internet), IP address blocking, and Internet censorship.
Offending content is usually deleted. Sometimes if the topic is considered the source of the problem, it is locked; often a poster may request a topic expected to draw problems to be locked as well, although the moderators decide whether to grant it. In a locked thread, members cannot post anymore. In cases where the topic is considered a breach of rules it – with all of its posts – may be deleted.
The moderators (short singular form: “mod”) are users (or employees) of the forum who are granted access to the posts and threads of all members for the purpose of moderating discussion (similar to arbitration) and also keeping the forum clean (neutralizing spam and spambots etc.). Moderators also answer users’ concerns about the forum, general questions, as well as respond to specific complaints. Common privileges of moderators include: deleting, merging, moving, and splitting of posts and threads, locking, renaming, stickying of threads, banning, unbanning, suspending, unsuspending, warning the members, or adding, editing, and removing the polls of threads. “Junior Modding”, “Backseat Modding”, or “Forum copping” can refer negatively to the behavior of ordinary users who take a moderator-like tone in criticizing other members.
Essentially, it is the duty of the moderator to manage the day-to-day affairs of a forum or board as it applies to the stream of user contributions and interactions. The relative effectiveness of this user management directly impacts the quality of a forum in general, its appeal, and its usefulness as a community of interrelated users.
The administrators (short form: “admin”) manage the technical details required for running the site. As such, they may promote (and demote) members to/from moderators, manage the rules, create sections and sub-sections, as well as perform any database operations (database backup etc.). Administrators often also act as moderators. Administrators may also make forum-wide announcements, or change the appearance (known as the skin) of a forum. There are also many forums where administrators share their knowledge.