For moderators and users who are interested in what a moderator's "rules" are, I have listed the general guidelines below.
When to edit a message
- Contains profanity
- Contains off-topic content
- Violates the board rules in some other way (contains advertising, etc.)
Editing is always visible; whenever a message is edited, the date, time and edit author are shown within the message.
In general, it is preferable to edit a message rather than delete it entirely.
When to delete a topic or message
- Unacceptable behavior
- Completely off-topic discussion
- No part of the topic/message is salvageable by editing
- Illegal/defamatory statements
Basically, whenever there is no value to leaving the topic/message in place. It is good practice to e-mail the topic initiator to explain why it was deleted, unless the reason is totally obvious.
When to move a topic
When you move a topic, you have the choice to either leave a copy of the thread in the original forum, or completely move it to the new forum location. It is usually a good idea to leave a copy pointing to the new location so those returning can find it.
When to ban a member
- Repeated violation of the stated board rules or forum rules
- Offensive behavior (e.g., posting offensive material, harassing other members)
- Attempts at hacking or destroying the forum
- Repeated attempts to circumvent moderation or banning
Banning a member means that he/she can no longer post messages (it is not limited to a specific forum). Normally, unruly members are given a warning prior to actually being banned, since that is a fairly serious step. Banning is reversible if desired.
When to close a topic
- Discussion is heading off-topic, but does not merit deletion
- The initial message and replies contain valuable information, but further discussion is not desired
- The thread is becoming too lengthy
Sometimes it is difficult to decide whether to close a topic or delete it. In general, deference should be given to the members participating, and itís better to close a topic than to delete it. (If there are individual messages in the thread that are offensive, they can be individually removed---just be careful that the remaining thread still makes sense.)
Please let me know if you have any questions on this.