Moderation Strategies

Today I reported a volunteer moderator for a site because I believe they broke their own site’s polices in their actions, however I may be mistaken about that and don’t know if they’ll reply to my report.

This is a challenge in many communities if people are reporting a moderator to administrators, how is that considered and dealt with?

If there are only a few reports a moderator is probably ok just maybe makes some mistakes, and are open to feedback/criticism.

However it could be moderators have broken site policy repeatedly, and their moderation status must be revoked.


In our community, there is a mechanism to directly submit reports to the admin, bypassing the moderator.

I think this mechanism is very necessary, otherwise it is very likely that malicious moderators will mess up the entire forum.


That is important, then the next steps for administrators is how to respond or to not respond, there are a lot of choices for how to reply/respond.

Is different if moderators are volunteers or paid staff. There is a lot of responsibility for moderators but if they claim they are “just volunteering” than they are supposed to be friendly community members not police or censors.


This isn’t part of standard Discourse, I think? (Perhaps it could be?) In this situation, I think I’d check the About page for the Admins and PM them - I assume that’s always possible.


Not always, I don’t think. It would depend on how the site has their PMs(/chat) and group messaging permissions set up. There should be a contact email on that page too, but that’s not always filled out either.

This is also another that would be down to site policy. Just because someone is taking on the role in an unpaid capacity doesn’t really affect their responsibilities. If part of that sites’s moderation policy is to remove unsuitable content or manage users then that’s what the moderator should be doing, paid or not.


Actually yes. Well, I have configured some links in about/ and footer for my forum, and you can click on them to directly contact the administrator through a group private message or email.

I totally agree with this. Volunteerism does not mean that you can abuse your power.


Thanks everyone for these comments.

These are some comments I wrote at the official moderation guide page where comments are only temporary so just posting a copy here where we could continue talk:

For general moderation strategies I would say there are two main different methods for that: Active vs. Passive moderation.

Active moderators actively read new posts, potentially even all posts are being reviewed and read word for word by moderators who will comment in helpful reply advice or in official moderation statements.

Passive moderation means moderators are not always actively reading all new posts, but do review flag reports and may reply or respond to those.

A challenge I’ve seen is that if official moderators are actively talking with community members as friends/colleagues, then it may become more difficult to maintain professional moderation polices.

There are a lot of different categories of strategies for moderation.

There are benefits to having consistent active moderation, but there are also reasons why moderation/editing may be better kept more reserved.

If posts are being deleted a common courtesy to send the author a copy of what they had published can be helpful, in case they don’t have any other records of what they wrote before posting at a community page.


I agree with this, also it is a risk to appoint people to be moderators as volunteers if they don’t understand or respect this full responsibility.

Depending on the community moderation may be simple and easy, and members could rotate being moderators on a weekly or monthly basis.

For really busy sites at a certain point it seems necessary to have moderators who are official staff members, or at least for administrators to have some presence at the forum.


There is supposed to always be a way for administrators to be contacted directly, with this case I mentioned I was able to send one of the admins a direct e-mail today maybe they will write back.

Depending on the type of domain it may be required that valid contact information is publicly listed, as I discovered this by surprise with my .US domain all of a sudden lot of phone calls from India. For .COM it is not required, but for other countries it may be.

This would be a problem for regulators to not be able to contact administrators if there is any kind of a legal problem with a site.



Thanks for posting that resource.


This is draft for community guidelines I declared to local legislature, they haven’t commented any response. :

If you see a problem, you can flag that.

You may flag posts to be reviewed. If there are many flags, this may initiate an automated response by the site security system. This will also send a notification to administration to review the flag.

Posts are not reviewed before they are published, however the site administrator does have the authority to edit posts. In general this will only be done if necessary for a legitimate reason or law.

Please be civil

This Forum is open to the public as well as law enforcement officers for review.

Am open to comments for this if anyone would like to comment.

I still have most of the original discourse provided terms of service published with some edits.

It is a little confusing that the page “Frequently Asked Questions” seems to also be for the community guidelines, those seem like they may be better as separate categories.

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Are you able to see the settings on that site? ^

If not, some of what you say may not be accurate. For instance, you can configure your site so that all posts are reviewed before they are published.

And in some cases it doesn’t take many flags before auto-moderation functionality comes into plan.


Yes I am able to adjust the settings, they are at default currently.

I am kind of confused by all those posted them here in this other topic:

Seems to be depends on who flags a post, if a TL3 flags something this is more significant than TL1 and if moderators agree/disagree with flags.

Thanks for replying!

For active moderation strategy it may be best to have posts reviewed first before they are published, didn’t know there is a setting for that.

For freedom of speech ideal for moderation to be less aggressive, people can become upset if their writing is being edited.

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Here are the first settings listed:

What is “rel nofollow?”

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That’s easiest part (because I know the answer :rofl:)

It is added to outgoing links and is suggestion to search engine bots not using and following those links. It is a try not to give ”search result points” to third party sites.

I don’t use it, because most of links from my forum deserves guidance to search engines, but situation is or may be different if users are linking to low valuable resources.

There is no right or wrong answer here.


The primary purpose of the setting is to stop people dropping outbound links to their own sites (which add little or no value to their post) for SEO reasons.


Yeah. But those can be counted as low quality links — same-same all the time.

The issue here is policy of Google. If that user makes a backlink to same topic/post/profile or does much easier trick sending same link to gmail-address Google will follow that original link on forum and gives SEO-value. Perhaps, maybe… we actual don’t know at all what Google does or does not. But googlebot will follow those links and doesn’t care what rel nofollow says (or robots.txt when gmail-linking is involved).

I personally don’t care about nofollows. I just don’t want to see low quality links in public topics. And keeping those hidden or making such ones disappearing demands manual labour.

But now I’m off topic big time.


Found this setting to review all posts but this doesn’t delay them being published before review, may be there is a different setting for that?

Is there a way for people to have the option to request their own posts be reviewed by moderators first before publishing or not publishing? It can be difficult to know what is in alignment with community guidelines and what is not, one method would be to send in writing by e-mail for review first but would depend if moderators want to or are even able to review writing before it is published.


There is no legislature this next week but I can give them revised terms in November, they take paperwork from the public Tuesday mornings when they are in session.