|Spaced Out Forum
Moderators Code of Practice
(Steve Day, Nick Lee)
1. TERMS DEFINED
Forum: any one major sub-section of the Board (q.v.), e.g. Silly, Spaced, Media,
Thread Sin Bin. A Forum comprises a collection of Threads, which themselves
Board: the entire Spaced Out Forum, unless the context requires otherwise.
Members: all registered users of the Board, unless the context requires otherwise.
Forum Leader: a Member with moderatory powers over one or more Forums, and access
to the Forum Leaders and Thread Sin Bin Forums.
Moderator: (in this document) a Board Moderator, with the same powers as a Forum
Leader, but spread across the whole Board. Can view all Forums except Blokes
Admin: (in this document) a Board Administrator, with the same powers as a Moderator
(q.v.), but also with access to the Admin Control Panel.
Bloke In Charge: (in this document) the most senior Board Staff with absolute
Staff: all members of the Board of rank Forum Leader, Moderator, Administrator
or Bloke in Charge.
ModSquad Forums: the Forum Leaders, Administrators, Blokes in Charge and Thread
Sin Bin Forums, viewable only by Staff of appropriate rank.
2. CODE OF PRACTICE
a. As leading Members of the Board, Staff should endeavour to set a good example
by upholding its rules, reputation and spirit.
Staff should assist Members, especially Junior and New Members, in their use
and enjoyment of the board.
Staff must always respect the privacy of Members and the confidentiality of
the ModSquad Forums.
Staff should take action over problems and queries as they find them.
Wherever possible, Staff should be active and positive in their approach to
moderation, with respect for diverse views and individual expression.
Subsidiarity Principle: Forum Leaders should generally be given a chance to
act in their specific Forum before a more senior member of Staff intervenes.
3. HOUSEKEEPING PROCEDURES
i. Moving Threads
a. If a Thread appears to be inappropriate in a Forum, Staff may move it, placing
a link in the original Forum to the new location (if the Thread is already established),
and an explanation, either by PM to the Thread’s creator, or in the Thread
ii. Renaming Threads or Editing Posts
a. If a Post is in contravention of the Board Rules and this can be rectified
without radically changing its meaning, i.e. with a minor edit or a deletion,
Staff may make such a modification, ensuring (where necessary) they record the
action, the original post and title in full, and notify the affected Members
by PM giving an explanation and an option to have the Post removed instead of
it remaining with the alteration.
b. This action should be reported in a ModSquad Forum. Deleting duplicate Posts
(accidentally placed) does not require recording.
iii. “Sinning” Posts and Threads
a. Threads that are believed to be in contravention of the Board Rules should
be moved by Staff to the Thread Sin-bin immediately. If, after Staff discussion,
the Thread ultimately remains there, the creator must be notified. If the Thread
returns with any alterations, all Members whose Posts have been altered or deleted
must be notified by PM explaining the action. If the thread returns unedited,
Staff may or may not contact affected Members and the Thread author as circumstances
iv. Notification Messages
a. All notices should come from Staff with the authority to carry out the procedure
as detailed in the warning.
b. Admins and Blokes In Charge may use the anonymous "spaced" moderator
account and may do so on behalf of others if anonymity is preferred. It is preferable,
however, for a Bloke In Charge, to send the PM themselves from their own account.
4. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES
i. Admonishment within a Thread
1. General comment regarding appropriateness of a thread, post, or behaviour;
2. Reference to Forum Rules; or
3. General advice
b. This may be used in tandem with another disciplinary procedure
c. This should be used to highlight an aspect of the forum rules or a thread’s
appropriateness for the general information of Members.
ii. “Casual” Warning, Notification or advice via PM, MSN or similar
a. identifying an issue of concern in a particular Post or Thread by the Member;
b. advise of an issue the Member is only peripherally involved in
c. This warning may be recorded as necessary in a ModSquad Forum.
iii. Written Formal Warning, via PM or Email
a. the context, and text of the warning, is to be recorded in a ModSquad Forum.
b. The warning should:
1. identify the issue of concern in a particular Post or Thread by the Member
2. warn of unacceptable behaviour by the Member
3. make a user aware of possible further disciplinary action
4. make clear how to avoid the need for further action
5. refer to any previous warnings
c. The need for a Written Formal Warning may be suggested by any Member of Staff
but the warning itself must come from either a Bloke In Charge or an Admin.
Wherever possible, consultation should be made before such a warning is given.
iv. Written Formal Warning, via PM or Email, plus visual warning symbol
a. As (iii) above, but with an exclamation mark added to the Member’s
profile. This should only be used if it is believed it will be effective and
necessary to gain the Member's attention. Members should be told if such a measure
is being taken and how long it may last; such "warning symbols" are
not permanent but their persistence depends on a Member's behaviour and/or a
set time frame. All this should be made clear in communications with the Member
as appropriate, or by reference to the Board Rules.
v. Cautions in a Public Forum
a. These should NOT be issued unless:
1. Bloke in Charge believes it is necessary so others do not commit the same
2. a Bloke in Charge believes that this method is required to get the offending
Member’s attention, and a positive result will be achieved; or
3. a query has been raised about a particular action on a Public Forum and it
is beneficial to the Board if a public explanation (partial or full) is given.
a. This must be recorded with a full explanation of the context in a ModSquad
Forum. If such a record is made in "Blokes in Charge", at least a
partial explanation must be given in another ModSquad Forum.
b. Only a Bloke in Charge may take such an action.
c. The Member in question must be notified in writing by email with:
1. an explanation given
2. examples of incidents that have prompted the action
3. references to previous warnings
4. how the user merited the suspension
5. how they may avoid further action
6. the terms of the suspension and an explanation of what it means
7. the time, or the conditions required before normal Membership resumes.
d. Where possible this decision should be reached following Staff discussion.
e. Suspension may be made in two ways:
1. Moving the user to the "suspended" Member group
2. Removing posting rights
f. The latter is preferable in many cases since it does not entail the public
branding of a Member as suspended.
g. Suspension is not a permanent measure.
h. In extremis, Members may be temporarily suspended pending consultation with
Blokes in Charge, by Admin staff and Blokes in Charge, if they feel circumstances
make such a measure necessary. This should only be done by disabling posting
rights unless there is a good reason for movement to the suspended Member group.
i. Members should be offered an explanation of this after the event, regardless
of the outcome, once it has been discussed and as circumstances reasonably dictate.
j. Suspension may remain until a disciplinary decision has been reached. During
this period they may use the board as the senior Staff deem appropriate.
a. This decision may only be made by a Bloke in Charge and may, as appropriate,
include wider consultation of moderators to assist the final decision.
b. This decision should, wherever possible, be a last resort where other actions
have failed, where a Member is believed to have registered solely in order to
abuse provided services, or where there is no other option.
c. Those affected must be notified by email with reference to previous warnings,
board rules, and examples of their behaviour as well as what the measure entails.
Users should be informed that their ISPs will be contacted in accordance with
their abuse policy if they attempt to use or access the board after banning.
Reference may be made to sections of this abuse policy as and when appropriate.
d. Wherever possible their email and IP addresses should be entered into the
Board's Ban Control mechanism where this will not unreasonably affect other
e. This decision is permanent and irreversible.
f. A user may be suspended whilst a ban is considered or may be suspended indefinitely
if it is reasonably believed that circumstances will change in the future.
This document is subject to change. If it is altered, a notification will be