Do admins have responsibility to moderate private messages?

Some users mentioned that in our forum some users send nude pictures to each other. These private messages are never flagged because it seems they enjoy doing this privately. However, I am wondering, do admins have responsibility to moderate private messages? Our forum forbids nude pictures in our community rules.
If we have the responsibility, how can we actually detect these kind of private messages? I don’t think there is an effective way?


If the rules prohibit nudes then you have a reason to police this. Users can’t really complain about that.

The messages are not ‘private’ they are personal messages (always have). My suggestion is to remind users of the community rules and emphasise that they apply in messages and that you will be enforcing it.

You can enable the log personal messages views site setting to keep tabs on what messages and users are constantly doing this so you can keep an eye on them.

Are they just images or is there also text in the message? If there is then you can pick out the most used words and add them to watched words or consider using this plugin

Other than that I cannot think of another way to effectively moderate images in a PM


Thanks! I don’t know whether they are images only or containing some other words. I don’t even know which users are doing this right now…

Another question: if users send illegal content in their private messages, such as child porn images, are admins legally responsible? Say if i send a child porn image on THIS forum via private message to a user that is no longer active (so he/she won’t flag it), and then i report this site to FBI, will the admins here end up in jail?

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I cannot answer that.

In general staff do have responsibility if something has been flagged for staff attention and it is illegal such as someone could or is being harmed to contact relevant authorities / liaison with police

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One way to prevent this stuff is to say that 20 pms are randomly picked every day to be audited for content not allowed on the site. You can also say that admins have full access to all pms. This may deter people from doing stuff in pms.


That would depend on the community.

My personal decision for hosting PMs is: only if I trust the people in my community. So on my family forums I allow PMs, and enable log personal messages views and have never once looked at a PM in this manner.

For public communities I don’t allow PMs. I guess I can also say I’ve never once looked at a PM on such a site. :laughing:

But I can see some communities where moderating PMs is a useful tool. Even then I’m not sure about proactively checking unflagged PMs… what I mean is, I wouldn’t want to be in a community where that happened, unless there was a good reason; it’s not part of my culture.

No, that is not a situation. If you’d like to know more about how the law in your jurisdiction works, please contact the relevant agency; they’ll be able to explain what they can and can’t do to enforce the law. :slight_smile: