Howdy and welcome new Overseer, or should I say, Discussions moderator. As you acclimate to your new duties you may find your yourself asking several important questions
- What is expected of me?
- What tools are at my disposal?
- Who can I turn to when I need assistance?
Or maybe you’ve just stumbled onto this page and are curious, what even is a moderator?
The goal of this handbook is to provide a one-stop training guide and resource which you can refer to as needed. All these questions and more should be answered, and if not, it should provide you with a solid strategy for what to do when an unexpected hurdle presents itself.
As a member of the local wiki staff and as a rights holder, you will come face to face with what ails the wiki. You and your fellow moderators help maintain a fun but smoothly operating Discussions platform.
Though technically under the administrators and bureaucrats, these users essentially ignore the platform and have little knowledge of its comings and goings. They will rely on you for input, and as a result of their absenteeism, grant a great deal of autonomy to moderators. Make the most of it, but do not abuse it.
If you need assistance, you can reliably reach out to Saxhleel and me, The Dyre Wolf. In the event everything is on fire and critical assistance is needed, -bleep196- and Richie9999 are two of the administrative level users at least somewhat familiar with the goings on.
The Guidelines are the basis of any moderation action taken. The rules and consequences of failing to follow the rules are spelled out within. If the guidelines were to be truly simplified, "don't be a dick" is the golden rule from which every other rule is born, and made more specific.
Much like this handbook is for moderators, the User:The Dyre Wolf/Discussion Dweller's Survival Guide is a supplementary tool meant to aid general users. It clarifies the sometimes vague guidelines, explains common practices, and offers some basic tutorials for important functions of the wiki such as talk page messages and forum voting.
A simple but Sisyphean task, placing incorrectly categorized posts in the right section will be one of the most common issues handled. Prior to becoming a moderator, you may have noticed new threads with the “Edited by Admin” notation on it. This is most often a result of the post being shuffled around and placed into the correct category.
Good practice is to remind the user of the correct category to use so that it’s more apparent to them what exactly was edited (the app will not tell them anything). In theory, at least, this will help prevent that user from making the same mistake twice.
- Ex: Please place Fallout 4 posts in the Fallout 4 category.
Optionally, you may refer the user certain relevant pages, such as the Guidelines or Survival Guide. This can be helpful for new users especially, who are often unaware of the categories feature or have confused categories with tags. And while not explicitly necessary, when possible, incorporating the explanation of moderator action into a topical post in the thread is preferable. Contributing to the topic comes across as more friendly and does not as easily derail a thread, all while still informing the poster of what happened.
- Ex: The charged Gatling laser is my favorite Fallout 4 weapon. It is not only ammo efficient, but it hits with a satisfying punch.
- Minor moderation note, please place Fallout 4 posts in the Fallout 4 category. Also you may want to visit the Guidelines and the Discussion Dweller’s Survival Guide.
The language used does not have to be exact, and each moderator has their own flavor, but just aim to be friendly and informative. A post in the wrong category is not the worst thing done on the world.
Right out of the gate, the current Fandom app does not actually support reported posts. To see reported posts, you need to use a desktop, the mobile browser version of the site, or (sadly) the old discontinued app which actually did feature reported posts. The reported posts appear either through the reports tab or as in-thread notifications.
The tab is self explanatory, posts listed there have been reported by user(s). Note, a report is not proof of anything rule breaking, just that one or more users have flagged it. It is common to see off topic posts (which are allowed) flagged by visiting users who are seemingly unaware of this. It is not uncommon to see users maliciously flag posts, such reporting posts of users who disagree with them. In this instance, the reporter's flagrant misuse of the reporting tool could potentially result in action including a ban, depending on the circumstances involved. And because of the app’s frequent duplicating of posts some users comment duplicates, their own or others, just so they can be removed.
The second way a flagged post can be seen is by running across it in the wild. On desktop and mobile browser, these posts will be indicated as reported and by whom. On the current Fandom app, reported posts will appear virtually identical to deleted posts, so be sure to read your options when addressing the post. It is absolutely possible to accidentally undelete a post.
As noted above, there will be times when it is necessary to delete posts. This can be a result of a user's malicious activity, such as hurling insults or posting spam, or it may be to help clean up things like the wiki double posting. It may also be necessary to delete duplicate threads that occur too closely together, and funnel traffic to the more active thread. For instance, if there is already a "Who is your favorite F4 companion" thread going, and another user(s) comes along and posts the same question, the later posts are considered spam and need to be deleted. Good practice is to ping the later user to the original thread, so that they can see the active discussion in place and contribute to the topic. This also lets them know what happened to their post, so they do not repost it again, thinking it was a Fandom mistake rather than a moderator action.
There are two ways to delete a post:
- If shown as flagged, it will have a trash can icon which lets you delete it instantly.
- If it is a post you find on your own, the delete option is listed in the post menu on the right side of a comment, accessed by clicking the three little dots, just like editing a post.
Warnings and Bans
Warnings are exactly what they sound like, informing a user that if they continue a certain action, it will result in a ban of some kind. Warning's can be issued in thread, but depending on the type or warning and the personality of the person receiving the warning, this type of warning can derail threads; the user in question may genuinely care to correct their behavior but in doing so try to ask multiple questions not relating to the topic and derail it, the same as if it were intentional. And unfortunately, just because your warning includes the wording "if you have more questions, please leave a message on a talk page," does not mean the user will actually do that.
For this reason, it may be best to use a talk page or another thread in order to best manage warnings. The following "Notifications" section will go into greater depth on these options; however, the content of the messages should remain much the same.
Bans are issued because of continued or egregious violations of the rules. Per the guidelines ban lengths are at the discretion of the moderator placing the ban, allowing for varied circumstances to be taken into consideration. The typical escalation of bans is as follows: First offence: 3 days Second offence: 7 days Third offence: 1 month Fourth, and subsequent offences: Lifetime ban (Note, there is the possibility to request a review after 12 months). But there may very well be incidents where you issues single day ban or enact an instant perma ban for something terrible enough.
The block log allows you to view ban history using easy to understand search terms, but the most important will be searching by Target, which allows you to see the bans placed on a particular user, along with a brief explanation behind the bans and the date of issue. This is useful for determining what is the next best ban length.
The block user tool is what is actually used once a ban has been deemed necessary. Because all Discussions users must have an account, the first blank will always be the users name, so you do not need to worry about the IP address. Expiration and reasoning are both drop down fields, where all you have to do is select the corresponding option. After the reason field, there will be text box where you can leave a short comment describing the specific circumstances which led to the ban. Feel free to browse past issued bans to get a feel for how much or little you might need to write here.
There are several reasons why you will need to notify a user of something important. Not all of them are bad, but most of them are. The most critical notifications are those following enacted bans. It is imperative you tell a banned person why they were banned. While the traditional place for a notification is a talk page, the reality of Discussions is that a significant number of our users are only on the app, and that app does not let you (easily) access talk pages and it will not actually notify you of a talk page message, unlike desktop which provides a popup message. In a sense, talk page notifications are not real notifications for app users. For this reason, we have the Moderation Alerts thread to, poignantly, alert users of moderation.
Discord has two channels of note, serving similar but not identical functions. There is a channel dedicated to Discussions moderation, visible only to these specific mods and admin, and there is the Security Desk, a mixed moderation channel available to all rights users. The latter is more important in a greater community sense because it is a place for you, as a trusted and active member of the community, to speak on broader topics. Also, the Discussions moderator chat is almost never used, so there’s that.
Thank you, Overseer, we look forward to hearing more from you.