What is the Moderator role?
I would like to think of it like being an great host at a good party. Able to create a spirit of fun and interest, to stimulate conversation when it is flagging, to command respect and have guests wanting to be invited back.
All things in Moderation
The technical parts of moderating messages is relatively easy. Learning how and when to do it in a way that doesn't hurt feelings and create turmoil is much harder. The key is to be moderate/facilitate. Below are some specific examples:
Dealing with messages
Sometimes a member will start a thread on a topic that you feel would fit better in another section. It happens. Posting in the wrong section is not a violation of a forum rule, it’s an error. Sometimes people make mistakes, forget which section they are in or get excited about a topic. It happens particularly with new members, pissing them off is a sure way to encourage them not to bother posting again. If you do move a thread, it would be nice to let the poster know why you have done it and where you have put it (as ever, a link would be super-helpful).
Editing Thread Titles
The level of response that at posting gets, is influenced by the quality of the thread title. If a member starts a thread with a poor or misleading title (e.g. "A quick question"), then please change it to something that you think is a better descriptor. A bonus would be to let the poster know what you have done and why.
Editing Message Content
If you see, for example a specific spelling mistake or model number that is incorrect, then please feel free to edit the message. But never edit in such a way as to change the meaning or the context of a message. If the message violates our member guidelines, it’ll get dealt with anyway.
Sometimes, in the course of a conversation, messages wander off-topic. It happens. Thread Drift is not a violation of a forum rule, discussions are organic, they branch out in different directions. While it is important that the content of the threads match the title, please don’t berate a member for going off topic, a gentle hint from time to time is fine. Please try and split out the diverging topics and create 2 interesting, relevant threads and with appropriate titles.
Dealing with members
It is not our job to answer every question. This is a forum, not a help desk—we should actively encourage members to answer each others questions. However, sometimes a post will go unanswered (because it is in the wrong section, because it has a poor title, because it is a poorly-worded or is just too damn vague). This makes people (particularly first-time posters) feel ignored and unwelcome. If a post has had no response in 24 hours or so, it would be nice if one of the Mods could post a reply. If it needs to be moved or have the title changed, please do that and post a reply saying what you have done. If the question is vague or poorly-framed, please seek clarification from the poster. A member bumping his own thread is a sure sign that we have not done our job.
"We've already discussed that" is NOT an acceptable answer
Even if we have answered the same question a million times, we have not answered that posters specific question. Please refer the poster to relevant existing threads. “Learn how to using the effing search function” is not a suitable reply.
If it does becomes necessary to correct/reprimand a member then do so. I would request that you place a post in the Mod area so that the rest of the team knows what has happened.
Unfortunately, occasionally a member will need to get banned. No member will be given a full ban until the whole of the mod squad come to a consensus. If the mod squad can't reach a consensus, Paula and Giles will have the casting votes.
And the Mod Squad is:
Giles - UK
Madame Buttonfly - UK
Shoque - Austria - Mostly tech stuff
Hectic - UK
Dougng - East Coast, US
Rocket - Germany
Chris - Texas, US
Haraki-san - Japan