[FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

The forum dedicated to site issues, problems and wishes.
User avatar
Global moderator
Posts: 8641
Joined: 24 Apr 2013 18:08
Location: Have no fear, i am from the internets!

[FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

#1 Post by Cadde » 08 Feb 2017 02:29

If you want to discuss the contents of this thread you can do so here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=228630
The thread is split like this so you can always be sure you get official moderator posts here rather than half of them being discussion and half being posted in an official capacity.


I've long wanted to write a post like this in an official capacity to try and explain what the moderators of this forum actually does in their duties as moderators.
This to shine a light on some of the misconceptions people have about those of us tasked with moderating the forum.

This will be a series of posts from moderators (and only moderators) about situations we generally encounter as we keep the forums as enjoyable as possible for each and every one of you.

So allow me to get the ball rolling on this one with...

What happens when i report a post?

As you all should know, this forum comes with a little button you can press to get a post to the moderators attention.


Pressing that button takes you to a form where you can select the nature of the report and fill in any extra details you feel is necessary for the report to make sense.


As you can see, the reasons one can select are few and should be rather self explanatory.
Most users use the "Other" category and state their reason in the "Further information" field.
Even then, the reason is non-essential to us moderators. We check the "Further information" field first and foremost for details about the report at hand.

If the "Further information" field is left blank. We will simply check the post in question for any inconsistencies (rules, location, others) and make a judgement of our own on the post in question.
But we ALWAYS appreciate it if you take the time to explain WHY you have reported the post and why YOU think we should do something about it and WHAT you think we should do.

Take this thread as an example: viewtopic.php?f=172&t=188456

I personally feel (at the time of this post, it might move in the future) it's in the wrong forum location. I never placed it there to begin with, it was moved by another moderator (whom i shall not name) and it bothers me to no end personally. But i have opted not to complain about it so far. BUT, it's the perfect example because i won't be stepping on anyone's toes when using it as my example.


Most reports we get simply state something like...
  • Wrong forum.
  • Merge with Wishlist Megathread.
  • Language.
  • Not a bug.
  • No game logs.
  • Off topic.
  • Double/triple/quadruple/.../over nine thousand/etc post.
  • Attachment not a bug
  • Already reported: <link>
  • ... Someone actually missed the reply button or otherwise...
Sure, that's enough for us to act. But sometimes we'd wish there was more information such as in the cases of...

Which word/phrase specifically?

Wrong Forum
Which forum would you move it to?

And so on... There are too many different cases to mention here. But mainly, when something can be mentioned to help us out with the report. It's always good to have it on hand readily.
Especially when you are requesting a thread merge (two threads to be joined together) in such a way that you link to the other thread to be merged.
Anyways, with all that out of the way...

How do we receive reports and how do we deal with them?


And here's my report on my own post...


And the details...


So, there's an insight into how your reports come to our attention.
And this is why we prefer it if you report posts rather than post in the thread or try and PM anyone of us.
Posting in the threads means we have to, by complete chance, happen on your post and then act. That's not going to work and it's one of the reasons we don't allow backseat moderation. The other being that we'd rather take the abuse from misunderstanding or self entitled users than see it escalate on the actual forums/threads.
Sending us a PM can easily lead to the PM being read (or not, depends) and no-one of us acting on it because neither of us having time to do so at that point in time. Thus it becomes forgotten.

Reports stay open until any one of us closes the report. And we NEVER delete reports, we just close them when we have acted (or not*) on them.

In the case of the above example report, i closed it without action because i stand fast in that i'd rather have the moderator that moved my thread figure it out on his own. ;)
Besides, it's not the end of the world... Which i will get to at some other point in time.

* - Not all reports are valid reports (rule violations or otherwise) and as such, we don't ACT on every report made.

What happens next?

We read the report details and make a judgement call on whether it's a valid report or not and what action to take.
Not all reports are valid or reports that we agree with. And as always, each moderator has his/her own ideas of what constitutes a valid report.
We tend to discuss amongst ourselves on how to deal with certain reports and have a VERY long thread on this subject alone. Not to mention the forum rules to guide us.
I can assure you that every time the forum rules are updated, there has been some form of discussion or event leading up to this change. To set a precedence for how to deal with such events in the future.

Even then, we don't ALWAYS agree amongst ourselves how to deal with certain issues. And we don't have to agree. All we have to strive for, without fear of shame, is a better community for all.
Again, i can assure you that the points we do disagree on, we still respect each others opinions on and act accordingly with what the moderator GROUP as a whole thinks is best for the community.
This means, there are certain things I want done that aren't done so i act in the best interests of the group and community rather than on my own whims.
And that's most likely the case with each and every one of us. Some think the rules are great as they are, others think the rules need revising. The common denominator is that we all discuss amongst ourselves for YOUR (the community's) sake.

So, when a course of action have been decided either through sole moderator decision or a discussed in our "little" thread, the moderator takes appropriate action(s) such as...
  • Move/Merge/Split threads
  • Edit or remove posts
  • Delete attachments
  • Send PM's
  • Issue warnings
  • ... And even ban users. Which is our LAST resort short of the most extreme cases.
... And so on...
There's a lot more that goes into being a moderator than i care to list here. And it's not just clicking buttons!

When i make a report, can i be punished for it somehow?

Not generally no. It's only when you are abusing the reporting system that we notify you about it.
In most other cases, if we disagree with you or have other remarks about your report, we send you a PM. Not always but sometimes.
We are (as opposed to what some say) not out to get you. Even if you break a bunch of rules, we don't generally put you on the chopping block for it. Unless you of course do something exceptionally malicious.

Can i report my own posts/threads?

Of course! In fact, we encourage it!
If your thread ended up in the wrong forum section for whatever reason then ask us and we will happily move it!
Or, if you had a WIP mod project in "Help Requests" and it now reached a finished state. Then we would be happy to move it to the appropriate sections.

DO NOT MAKE A NEW THREAD... Report your current thread!

Make as many reports as you want, whenever you want! It really does help us help you, the community.
But at the same time, make sure you make reports that actually make sense. Abusing the system in the hopes of silencing the "opposition" is not going to pass under our radar, just so you know!

There's no button or i can't report the post!

Most likely, the post has already been reported by someone else.
There can only be one open report per post.


... I hope this gives you a deeper insight into how we, the moderators, deal with your reports on a daily basis.
The last thing we want is for users to think we don't take your reports seriously or that you shouldn't make reports unless a rule has been broken etc.
Heck, you could technically even reports posts that have spelling errors in them if you wanted.
Just don't get on our nerves about it ok? ;)
ImageGreen text = Moderator action.
ImageWhite text = Opinions and general banter.
PEBCAK errors... PEBCAK errors everywhere! If my life had a log file, it would be filled with PEBCAK.

User avatar
Global moderator
Posts: 8641
Joined: 24 Apr 2013 18:08
Location: Have no fear, i am from the internets!

Re: [FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

#2 Post by Cadde » 08 Feb 2017 04:22

A short one just because i felt like it...

Why do you remove quotes?

I understand the frustration on both sides of the fence.

On one end, you have the users that feel that every message someone is responding to should be quoted in full. It makes it easier for newcomers to the thread to understand what is being discussed between two parties.
On the other end, you have users that think it's superfluous to quote messages in full when someone responds to said messages.

Here, allow me to illustrate a worst case scenario... First post in the Wishlist Megathread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=202336

What happens when someone presses the "Quote" button rather than the "Reply" button?

Click for full size

Most users don't even bother removing the parts they aren't interested in discussing.

They simply append whatever they want to talk about at the end and think all is fine and dandy.
Something like "I really agree with openable windows!"

Quoting PROS
  • Quoting what you are about to discuss makes it easier to follow what you are talking about. For this however, you don't need to quote a post in full. Only the parts you are responding to.
  • You can of course split quotes up into smaller parts if you want to talk about several parts of a whole post.
That's it basically (as i see it) for quotes. And the rule is about needless/excessive quoting. It's not forbidden to quote at all, but do so in moderation...


Quoting CONS
  • If you quote something you aren't responding to anyways then it becomes superfluous information. There's no collapsible function on quotes on this forum so it just leads to pointless scrolling on all devices.
    It also taxes the hosting as each quote can contain a LOT of text. 14 kilobytes (length of first post in megathread) might not seem like much but when a thread has several quotes of big posts in them, 14 kilobytes can quickly become megabytes of data for a simple thread.
    Add to this the fact that a lot of people might be browsing and reading threads over and over again on these forums and the host (the servers that host the forums) might needlessly have to push megabytes of QUOTES needlessly per second!
  • If you quote something that the original poster has since edited from his first post, your quote now leaves obsolete information in place. Such as old download links that unsuspecting users might click thinking it's up to date.
    In any other case, the original author might not want old and outdated information, instructions, statements etc hang about on the forums. He cannot edit your posts.
    And that is before we get into legal. Every original piece of work, which includes forum posts mind you, is copyright © the original author of said content. When you quote them, especially in full, you are technically in violation of that user's rights. Please respect each user's rights to their own work... Only quote what you intend to respond to, it's called "fair use".
  • The forum search function sorts results based on relevance. Relevance increases the more mentions there are of some subject. Hence, if you quote the phrase "Realistic Physics" over and over again. It does count into forum search results.
    Heck, even google's algorithm will get fooled by superfluous quoting.
  • Quoting the post directly above yours is, in almost all cases, completely unnecessary as the post contents is right there above your post.
    You generally don't even have to mention who you are responding to by name when responding to the previous poster. It's easy to understand who your are talking to.
In other words, there's absolutely no reason to quote a post in full and it's detrimental for several reasons to do so.

How would you want me to go about responding to someone?

Well, that depends on the situation. But in almost 100% of cases, quoting a post in full is NOT the answer.
Refer to them by name, such as...

@Caddle (happens way too often, i don't get it)
I think you are a doofus!

... Or, you can quote part of the message you are responding to...

... I really think cats are better than dogs!

Are you craycray? Cats will rip your belly and make catfood out of your insides!


In conclusion, use quotes only when you have to and only quote the parts that are necessary to get your point across.
Otherwise, we will remove your quotes as we see fit in the interest of keeping the forums usable for ALL that visit them.
If we have to keep removing your superfluous quoting we may even take further (harsher) action.

Oh and don't get me started on pyramid quotes... That is, quoted messages inside a quote.
Double, triple ... quadruple even ... the trouble and downsides. Just DON'T unless you have a good reason to.
ImageGreen text = Moderator action.
ImageWhite text = Opinions and general banter.
PEBCAK errors... PEBCAK errors everywhere! If my life had a log file, it would be filled with PEBCAK.

User avatar
Global moderator
Posts: 8641
Joined: 24 Apr 2013 18:08
Location: Have no fear, i am from the internets!

Re: [FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

#3 Post by Cadde » 14 Aug 2017 17:59

The eight stages of moderator interaction

I am bringing this up because some people still don't seem to get it. So allow me to explain.

Stage One, just your average Joe posting in public
We are speaking as normal users. We are using the default colored text (white) and we are in no way, shape or form different from any other user of these forums. (In fact, we aren't different from the rest of you ever, we are just as human as you are)
It might come as a surprise to you but we weren't born moderators. We joined the forums just like you did, we registered an account, we posted just like everyone else, we had opinions just like the rest of you.

Then, for one reason or another, we were assigned moderator status.
Perhaps we were very active on the forums. Or maybe we showed that we could handle certain situations well. Or maybe some of us simply asked SCS to make us moderators. Perhaps we have experience moderating other forums. Or for whatever other reason, SCS thinks "this guy, this guy should be a moderator".

In my case, i posted A LOT and i visited nearly every topic on the forums. I used the report function whenever there was an issue. I always remained unbiased even when i had strong personal opinions.
One day, out of the blue, i was asked by a moderator if i wanted to be a moderator. To which i basically responded "Not really, but if you need my help then feel free to add me to the team".
After which i was contacted by SCS basically asking the same thing on behalf of the moderation team at the time. To which i responded the same way.
And so, against my will (well kinda) i became a moderator and i took it upon myself to do an as good job as i possibly could offer.

So in other words... The moderators of these forums ARE and will ALWAYS be regular users first and foremost. Whatever moderators say in WHITE text is their own personal opinions and it doesn't reflect on either SCS's position/opinions/strategies/whatever nor does it reflect on the moderation team and their duties.
And NO, not a single one of us is on a payroll. SCS are NOT our employers and we are NOT their employees. We are not hired to be moderators. We don't have a boss. We are, like i said, regular users just like you are who just happen to carry the responsibility of keeping the forums operating smoothly for the sake of the whole community. We moderate the forums on a voluntary basis.
In fact, i would go so far as to say the whole community moderates the forums. It's just that those in green are the ones trusted with the power to act on the community's behalf.

Stage Two, you just got a PM
Oh no! You got a PM from a moderator...! What should you doooo?
First off, is the PM in white text or is it in green bold text?
Because guess what? If it's in white then it's just another user sending you a normal PM. The same applies as in Stage One above. We are sending you a private message as a regular member of the forums.

The only reason i am dividing PM's from public posts into two separate stages is because... One is a public message that everyone can see, the other is a private message intended for you and you alone.
And that doesn't change whether it's xXSomeRandomDood1337Xx sending you a PM or a MODERATOR (the horror), SCS Staff (oh joy) or a Beta tester (mmmm cookies) sending you a PM.
It's a private message for a reason and you should consider it as a "secret" even if it's possibly trivial. And that's why it's Stage Two.

Stage Three, "last edited by <moderator>"
Your post has been edited for some reason. It may be that you had an unnecessary quote. It could be that your youtube tags or code tags etc were used incorrectly and we helped you out. Or maybe your image attachment broke the forum rules. Or it could be that we had to remove something for the sake of the continuity of the forum thread.
Or, it could be something more serious. Like you broke one of the cardinal rules such as swearing, personal attacks, hate speech or threats etc etc.
Most of the time, when a post is edited by a moderator it's just something minor. If it isn't, then you would know from what happens in stage five and on.

Stage Four, green text in public
Every once in awhile, moderators will make a post using green text or partly green text in public. This means they are telling the posters in that thread something of importance. It's sort of a notification that unless things change, the moderation team will have to do something about it.
This is one of the FEW times that a moderator's message is to be treated any different from his normal day to day postings.

Normally, it's simple notifications like:
  • Get back on topic please.
  • Play nice.
  • Please redirect your XYZ to this thread: ...
  • Read the rules.
These means that nothing too serious has happened yet, but we advise users to think twice before posting again. We are on the brink of acting on the thread/users that the notification applies to.

And sometimes it's announcements such as:
  • Thread moved from x->y->z
  • Thread has been locked because XYZ.
  • Several posts deleted, users warned/banned accordingly.
The first in the list, movement of thread, is just to inform the thread owner and all users "subscribed" to it that his thread has been moved.
The other two are more serious and there's people who will be held responsible in one way or another for what has had to happen.

Stage Five, green text in private messages
Right, so you got a PM with green text in it from a moderator... First off, don't panic! Secondly, don't be upset! Finally, think about what you are going to be doing next...
In many cases, when we send you a PM with green text in it. We are telling YOU specifically that you have broken a rule or otherwise on a path towards getting a warning/ban.
It's not the end of the world, it just means we would rather you didn't do what you just did without making a big deal out of it. If you stop doing what you did right there and then, nothing more will come of it. We can move on with our lives in peace.

We don't expect a response from you at this point, we expect you to comply.
But if you feel like you need to respond to the private message then feel free to do so. But be aware that we are already telling you something for a reason and if you don't have a decent counter argument or a valid reason not to do what we told you... Then it's going to go from us kindly telling you to us warning you.
If something is unclear in our message, then feel free to ask about it. But again, don't go all "I DIDN'T BREAK A RULE! TELL ME WHAT RULE I BROKE OR ELSE!" as that doesn't really help your case. If the answers you get to your questions isn't to your liking you can always bother SCS with your complaints about how the forum is run. But in the end, it's not really SCS you have to convince, it's all of the moderators that you have to convince of your innocence or whether we are all wrong and you are the only one that's right.

Which brings me to one more point that's related to green messages from moderators, be it public or in private. Just like in stage one and two, remember that we are all regular human beings who just happened to register an account on these forums. And just happened to become moderators after that.
This means, each and every moderator has his/her own way of dealing with the rules and peoples infractions, behaviors, attitudes and use of language.
This also means, amongst ourselves, we don't really have a hard fast rule on how to respond to and/or deal with users breaking the rules. As such, you might get a different message from one moderator compared to another. But in the end, when there's a disagreement, we deal with it internally first and then come back to you with a "we have decided" response.
So if you feel you have been given an incorrect treatment by one moderator, then report his posts/PM's accordingly and we will all be able to see how that one moderator has conducted himself. If we collectively disagree with that moderator, then anything he's told you will be corrected and nullified.

Stage six, you have been given a warning
When a user refuses to listen to our PM's or otherwise breaks a rule in such a way that an instant blot on his record is warranted. We will issue a warning on your user profile.
At this point, you better just stop doing the thing you've been warned about. End of discussion.
You are going to have to be way out of line before it gets to this point.

Sure, if you feel you've been mistreated then contact another moderator or SCS directly. Just don't forget to read the last header of this post.

Stage seven, temporary ban
You have managed to do something so severe that we feel the community doesn't want to see you for a while.
We will therefore grant you a vacation for a certain period so you and the community can take a break and re-think how that last interaction went.

Also, at this point your only option if you want to claim you have been mistreated is to contact SCS directly. Just don't forget to read the last header of this post.

Stage eight, permanent ban
That's it. The end. You just proved to the entire community that you are an impossible person to deal with.
You might as well start your own forum at this point.

"I think you are doing a poor job as moderators and i will contact SCS to have you sacked/fired/get reduced pay!"
If the majority of the community disagrees with the running of the forums then the moderators wouldn't represent the community and then the moderators would be dictators. This still isn't the case. If you think that's the case then the burden of proof lies on you and you alone.
We are entrusted by SCS and respected by the majority of the community to do what we do. The rules are set up as a collection of what the community wants. And we act on behalf of the entire community.

And i will let you in on a little secret... Don't tell anyone...
SCS will in 99.99% of cases let us deal with it. If you are that special 0.01% that manage to convince SCS to tell us to give some guy a second chance then good for you. But it's been years since that last happened.
You see, the thing is we aren't under SCS's direct control to begin with. Which is why complaining to SCS directly is rather pointless. The ones you have to convince are the majority of the community and then us moderators that you are correct and that we, as well as in extension the community, is wrong.
We will NEVER cater to the vocal minority here. We serve the community and that's the secret behind this forum's success.

Of course, if SCS ever felt like one or all of us moderators was out of line. They can simply revoke our moderator status. This hasn't happened for as long as the forums have been running.
And likewise, if we moderator's ever feel like the operation of the forum is handled incorrectly, we can simply choose not to moderate.
And on the few occasions where SCS have told us to do something we don't agree with, we've responded in unison with "If you wanna run the forums SCS, go right ahead".
In fact, on more than a few occasions. We moderators have had to moderate staff postings. Technically, staff users are "above us" in rank. But in practice, as far as the forums go, we moderators run the forums and we answer only to the community as a whole.

So, if you think we are doing a poor job as moderators... Then please tell that to all the members of these forums who think we are doing a great job. Because to us, the members... The COMMUNITY... Those are the ones that really matter. We wouldn't be doing this FOR FREE if it wasn't for the fact the community shows their gratitude.
When the majority disagrees with you, the only thing left for you to do is accept that and move on.

Oh and...
You may think you have something new and revolutionary to bring to the table. That somehow you are the first person to ever speak up. That you, in some magic fashion, are the one and only person with the TRUTH!
Well, we have met all kinds... Those who think that we owe them something. Those who believe they are better than everyone else. The guy who just happens to be an ADMIN for some other undisclosed forum.
We've met those that believe we are harassing them just for telling them about that one little rule they broke. Users who feel the rules doesn't apply to them. The characters that feel the best course of action is to be super aggressive about everything and use big words in a poor attempt at overpowering one of us.
We see all kinds... Vulgar, authoritative, willfully ignorant and outright stupid.
In most cases, we let them go at it. Most users see reason after they've calmed down.
I've personally had several users tell me to do all kinds of (not so good) things with my life. They've told me that i am a horrible person, that i will never be respected, that i should just shut my face and leave moderation to the "professionals". In 99% of those cases i've encountered myself, i've just repeatedly told them to calm down and read the rules. Each and every one of them have warranted a permanent ban from the forums. But guess what, we moderators are not evil and we will happily forgive and forget IF the user in question after that point will learn to behave behind his/her keyboard.

But let me finish off with...
Most of the time, by an overwhelming number of users who ever contact us as moderators, we get praise. And that's the reason we keep on doing what we do the way we've been doing it since these forums started.
ImageGreen text = Moderator action.
ImageWhite text = Opinions and general banter.
PEBCAK errors... PEBCAK errors everywhere! If my life had a log file, it would be filled with PEBCAK.


Return to “SCS Site”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest