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Moderator Guide

This area of the FAQ covers topics related to being a moderator on StP. Below you'll find a list of topics outlining the basics of performing various moderator tasks. For a more in depth guide to using the moderator tools, please check out the official Xenforo Moderator Manual.

What are my job duties as a moderator?

As a moderator, your job is to keep discussions organized, civil, and within the general focus of the website. It is also a moderator's duty to make sure the website rules are followed. Please keep in mind that all admin and moderator actions are logged, even if they are actions taken against your own content. So don't abuse your powers, 'cause the admins will know! :D

If you have a question regarding being a moderator that isn't listed in this FAQ, please use the ask a question link to the left so we can add it to the list of answered FAQ questions.

How do I edit content?

Editing a thread uses the same Thread Tools drop down menu we use for moving or deleting threads:


When you click on Edit Thread, you get the familiar pop up window:


When you're editing a thread in this window, you're not editing the contents of the thread, but rather the thread title. You also have the option to "close" the thread (un-check "open") which will prevent further replies, and "sticky" a thread, which will make it stick to the top of the list of threads in that forum section. When you're finished, click the Save Changes button.

To edit the actual content of a post, click the Edit button below the post:


When you click on the Edit link below a post, you'll get this pop up window:


Here you'll be able to edit the content of the post. When you're done, click the Save Changes button. If you need to upload an image to the post or perform some other function not available in the basic editor pictured above, click the More Options... button to edit the post in the advanced editor.

If you edit a post, it's important to let the public know. You should do this by replying to the thread with what you changed and where (and tagging the user with the @ symbol).

For example, sometimes I'll get a message from a user asking if I can remove something like their phone number from an old post. Donators have an unlimited amount of time to edit posts, but regular users are limited to seven days. Since the person in question was only a regular user, it's up to an admin or mod to edit the post. After removing the phone number from the post, I added "phone number removed at user's request" or something similar, so everyone knows what was edited and who edited it.

How do I move content?

Often someone will (unknowingly) post a discussion in the wrong section of the forums. Moving threads to their correct locations is one of the most common jobs of a forum moderator.

First, click on the thread in question:


Next, click on the Thread Tools link at the top of the first post:


A popup menu will appear. Click on the Move Thread link:


A new pop up menu will appear that looks like this:


Here you can change the title of the thread (optional) and pick a new destination for the thread. Click on the Destination Forum drop down to see a list of all the forum sections the thread can be moved to. Pick a new location from the list, and click the Move Thread button.

On a side note, 99% of the time you can simply leave the "redirection notice" options where they are. This simply leaves behind a link to the thread in it's original location (where you're moving it from) pointing to it's new location (where you're moving it to). If you for some reason want the redirect link to stick around for more than a day (say, seven days) you can change this here, but like I said, most of the time this is unnecessary.

Optionally, you may fill out the field labeled Notify thread starter of this action. This will send an alert the the person that started the thread with the text you entered into the field. Ideally, this text should be a (very) short explanation of why you're moving the thread.

The last step is to post a response to the thread, letting the public know about your action. This acts as a gentle reminder to users to pay attention to where they're creating a thread, and lets the creator of the thread know their thread has been moved (via the email / personal notification system):


That's it! When reading threads in the forums, pay attention to the subject of the thread and make sure it's appropriate for the section of the forums it's being posted to. If not, take the actions above.

How do I delete content?

Deleting a thread follows a similar process to moving a thread. Navigate to the thread in question and click on the Thread Tools link at the top of the thread:


When you click on the Delete Thread link you'll get the following pop up window:


I've marked the Permanently delete option in the picture above with an X to denote that moderators will not be able to see this option on their window. Only administrators can permanently delete content. Moderators can only remove posts from public view. Sometimes this is referred to as 'soft deleting' content.

Type in a reason for deleting the thread. Example reasons could be "spam", "trolling", "flaming", etc. Please be descriptive in your reasoning, since that will make it easier on an admin to determine what happened. Click on the Delete Thread button to finish.

Remember that deleting a thread removes the whole conversation. This includes the first post and any replies to it. You can also delete individual posts by clicking the Delete button below the post:


When you click on the Delete button below a post, you'll get the same pop up window from before. Type in a reason for the removal of the post from public view and click the Delete Post button.


As you can see in the image above, when you remove a post from public view, you'll see a message where the post used to be. This message shows who deleted the post, and the stated reason. There's also a Show button that you can click on to see the contents of the post.

It's worth noting that only Administrators, Moderators, and Donators can see these 'soft deleted' posts.

When you delete a thread, you'll also be able to see a similar message in the thread list:


I've set up things this way so that even if moderators accidentally delete/remove a post, it can be brought back either by a moderator or an admin. Also, if an admin disagrees with a moderator's decision, the thread/post can be brought back into public view.

How do I handle reported content?

It doesn't happen often, but users have the ability to 'report' a post they feel is violating the rules of the website. This is a great way for users to let us know about potential violations of the rules, since we all can't be everywhere all at once.

Any post can be reported by clicking on the Report button below the post:


A user is then asked to give a reason for reporting the post:


Reported posts can be seen by clicking on the link at the top of every page:


On the next page, you'll see a list of reported posts:


Click on the report, and you'll see the post being reported, the reason it's being reported (as given by the user reporting it) and the actions you can take to resolve the situation (click on the image for a larger version):


You can post a comment on the situation at the bottom, and any of the admins/mods will be able to see it. Think of this as a mini-discussion thread for the situation being reported. If there's any doubts about what to do next, they should be discussed here.


On the right hand side you'll see the options for handling the report. Assigned means you'll handle the situation (or in the case of an admin, the report can get assigned to a mod), Resolved means you've handled the situation and the report can be filed away. Finally, rejected means the report was in error somehow (not against the rules, mistake of the reporting user, etc).

It's important to leave a note stating why and how the report was solved. You can do this in the comments field, or if you'd like to send a message to the person that made the report as well, you can click the check box and type a message stating how the situation was resolved. Finally, click the Update Report button and you're done.

Previously handled reports can be seen by clicking the Closed Reports button on the top right hand side of the reports page:


This button will show you a list of previous reports made within the last 7 days. This is useful if you need to refer back to a report that has already been handled.

How do I issue a warning?

Warnings are given for violations of the website rules. Please make sure you are familiar with them before giving a warning to any user.

StP uses a "three strike" enforcement policy. There are no consequences for the first warning, but after the second warning, the user will be muted for 30 days; this means that the user will not be able to create threads, post replies or use the chat room. They can still view any part of the website normally. The third warning will ban the user permanently.

Generally, we rarely have to give anyone more than one warning.

Keep in mind that warnings expire 90 days after the date they are received. So, even someone with 2 warnings can redeem themselves to a normal status if they avoid getting in trouble for a while. For a complete breakdown of the warning system and how it works, please see the following FAQ item:


To issue a warning, click on the warn button below the offending post:


You'll get a new page like so:


The first tab on this screen warning information, has most of the options you'll need. First, choose a reason for the warning:


You can select from the list, or type in a custom reason for the warning. This will be seen by the person being warned.


In the example above, you can change the amount of warning points for the violation and when they expire. The defaults should be fine most of the time. Remember that three points equals a ban, so you could use this to ban someone outright, but we have a separate system for that as well.

Make sure to add a few notes explaining why the warning is being given. This will not be seen by the member receiving the warning. These notes are for mods/admins to understand why the warning is being given.


On the second tab Member Notification, you'll see the message that will be sent to the member receiving the warning. This message is automatically generated by the option you picked in the list on the first tab. You can edit this message before issuing the warning if you like.


Finally, we have the Content Action tab. Here you can either do nothing, delete the content, or issue a public warning. A public warning will appear highlighted in the specific post the warning was issued for.

When you're finished, click the Warn Member button and you're done.

Hopefully this doesn't seem too confusing. 90% of the time you'll only need to complete the information on the first tab. The other tabs are optional, but helpful in addressing specific issues.

How do I ban someone?

Moderators and administrators have the power to ban members from the site permanently. For obvious reasons this is a power that is not to be used lightly. People that are harassing the website are the best candidates for this tactic. For spammers we suggest using the spam cleaner. Fortunately, banning a user is fairly easy.


First, click on the offending user's avatar or user name to bring up this window:


You can either click on the Ban link on their avatar, or click on the Profile Page link to go to the user's profile.


Now under the Moderator Tools dropdown, click Ban. You should see the following screen:


A ban length of Permanent should be fine. Now type in a reason for the ban, and click Ban User. Done!

How do I merge threads?

How do I merge threads?

Select multiple threads:

Select 'Merge Threads...' from the "Other Action..." dropdown menu.

You will be presented with this menu:


"Destination thread" will be the original post/title of the newly merged thread.

"Leave a redirect" will leave a redirect from the non-destination thread - when clicked, it will redirect the user to the newly merged thread.

"Merge prefixes" will combine the prefixes of the two threads

How do I use the spam cleaner?

Our forum software XenForo comes with a pretty awesome utility for getting rid of spam. StP has a lot of spam filters to prevent spam robots from registering or posting in the first place, but occasionally one might get through.

The spam cleaner is a utility that will do one or all of the following:
  • Remove all the spammer's posts
  • Remove all the spammer's conversations (PM's)
  • Automatically ban the spammer
  • Send the spammer an email letting them know the action has been taken (optional)
  • Check the spammer's IP address against the user database
To use the spam cleaner, first click on the username of the spammer, so you get this popup window:


Click on the Spam link on their avatar. You can also find this link in the Moderator Tools dropdown on a users' profile:



The next window (pictured above) is where you'll be doing most of your work. Simply check the box next to each of the options you want to perform. If this is obviously a spam account, tick all the check boxes (except the "Email spammer" box) and click the Clean Up button. You're basically done at this point, which is why this system is so great. All the posts and conversations, and basically any bit of evidence the spammer was even there is automatically removed in just a few clicks.

One last thing though. If you have the Check spammer's IPs box checked, after clicking the Clean Up button you'll get the following window (image is from an older version of the forum, but it's still the same now):


The forum system check's the IP address of the user against the IP addresses of anyone that's been using the website. In the event of a spammer, this is useful to see if the robot has registered any other accounts on the forum.

As you can see in the example above, the user TheWindAndRain has logged into StP from the same IP address as WanderingEThought. This doesn't necessarily mean they're the same person. Perhaps they're roommates, or go to the same library to get on the internet, etc. There can be a lot of reason why a match might come up.

The reason I mention all this is because if you aren't entirely sure someone is a spammer or not, or was banned from StP before and might be using a new account (which is against the rules) or might have multiple accounts registered (also against the rules), this is a good way to check. If they're using the same IP address (which is like your 'location' on the internet) then this system will show what other accounts are using the same IP address.

If you're not sure an account is spam or not, use the spam cleaner and un-check everything except "Check spammer's IPs" and click the Clean Up button. If you see a list of other accounts that have been banned (a line through the username) then it's very likely they are a spammer or someone that was banned before and has come back. If that's the case, feel free to use the spam cleaner again to remove their content and ban their account.

It goes without saying that you should be very careful while using this system. If you have any doubts or questions, please contact me first.

How do I 'feature' a thread?

How does the 'Featured Threads' system work?

We now have a system here for marking threads as 'Featured'. Featuring a thread in this way adds it to the Featured Threads page. This page contains all the content that has been featured by the StP staff in chronological order:


Featured threads are also added to a 'Featured' block at the top of each forum area:


Featured threads only appear in the block pictured above if the thread resides in that area. For example, a featured train hopping thread would not be seen in the 'featured' thread block above the hitchhiking section, but a featured hitchhiking thread would (and vice versa). The 'Featured' thread block displays one article at a time, randomly, from the pool of threads that have been featured in that particular section of the forums.

How do I mark a thread as featured?

Admins and moderators can add content to the 'Featured Thread' list by using the Thread Tools drop down menu at the top of the thread, and clicking the Feature Thread link:


You'll be taken to the following page, where you can edit the options for featuring this thread:


Let's first start off with the text in the editor area. This text is taken from the content of the first post in the thread. Whatever we change here will become the text 'exerpt' that appears in the 'Featured Thread' block that appears above forum sections and on the Featured Threads page.

It's very common that you'll have links, half sentences, and other weird looking stuff here depending on what was written by the person creating the thread. Unless we clean this up, it's going to make the excerpt look weird or broken:


So what I'm going to do is clean this up a bit by deleting the first and last sentences, so we have a nice, clean paragraph:


Now, when we hit the Feature Thread button (at the bottom of the page), the excerpt text will fit nicely in the box it appears in on the website:


But before we hit that button, let's move on to the other options on this page. You can safely ignore all the options below the text editor except the add image option:


Add image - You'll want to check this box every time you're adding a thread to the 'Featured Thread' list unless the thread has no images in it. Checking this and clicking the Feature Thread button will bring up a window on the next page where you can select an image from the thread being featured:


As you can see from the image above, you can upload an image, enter the url to an image elsewhere on the internet, or select an image from the first post in the thread. 90% of the time you'll be going with the third option. Just select the radio button next to the image you want to use, and that image will appear next to the text excerpt you edited earlier:


I made a mistake! How do I fix it?

A thread added to the 'Featured Threads' list can be updated in two different ways. First, you can navigate to the thread in question and use the Thread Tools drop down menu:


Here you can click the Update Featured Thread link to change options for the thread, or click the Unfeature Thread link, to remove it from the Featured Thread list entirely.

The second place this is possible is in the excerpt block above forum sections and on the Featured Thread page itself. Just click on the tiny white arrow to reveal the drop down menu:


Approving items in the StP Library

Due to the recent renovation of the StP library, for the time being any items being submitted to the library area need to go through a rigorous approval process before being made available to the public.

This process is as follows:
  1. Items need a icon
  2. Items need a book cover screenshot in the description
  3. 'Version number' needs to be the year the book/movie/whatever was published.
  4. Items need a good description of what is in the download. no one sentences, or other lame descriptions. copying descriptions from google/amazon is encouraged.
  5. Items need to be assigned to an appropriate library category.
  6. Most importantly, library items need to be relevant to the stp community. we are no longer accepting everything anyone wants to upload. it needs to be something useful to the community. If you are unsure an item meets this requirement, it should be discussed amongst the staff before the item gets approval.
If a library item does not meet these requirements it is up to the moderator staff to either make the appropriate corrections/additions or reject the item completely.

Approving shady people content

We have an area of the forums dedicated to warning travelers about dangerous people out there on the road. As the forum description states:

So, one of our jobs as staff of StP is to approve or reject threads created in this area. When a user creates a thread in that forum section, you will see an alert at the top of the page. Click on the link to be taken to a page of moderated posts.

This page will list all threads/posts that are awaiting approval (whether they are from the untrustworthy section or others, they're all on this page). It's up to you to decide whether a post or thread gets approved and can be seen by the public.

How do I determine if a post meets the requirements of the Untrustworthy/Shady People area?

As stated in the description, this section is for genuinely dangerous people only. It isn't a place for people to shit talk someone they don't like. Threads created in this section should have a clear case against the person, with a name and identifiable characteristics listed. Overly vague threads are not allowed.

In the case of highly dangerous individuals (assault, rape, etc) we need to establish some kind of evidence against the individual. It's unfortunate, but due the the anonymous nature of the internet, and certain people abusing this section in the past (in attempts to ruin someone's reputation) in these instances we require some kind of either documented proof, or multiple individuals willing to back up the initial claim.

Situation A, B, or C occurs, and I'm not sure what to do?

The default policy for almost any situation on StP is to not take any kind of action and seek the opinions of the other mods. We'd rather have a post up on the website (as fucked up as it may be) for a while until we can determine what to do with it than take immediate action that might prove to be the wrong action later on (and then we have to take back the action, which makes us look like we don't know what we're doing).

So, don't be afraid to take a step back and discuss the situation with other mods until you can make a more confident decision. This way the whole staff knows what's going on and what mod took action against what thread and why, and that way we're all on the same page :)

Do Not Abuse Your Powers

As a staff member, your job is to help the people, not harm them. You may only use your powers for the purposes that they have been given to you for. This website logs every moderator action you make, so if you abuse your powers we will know, and you will be permanently banned.
FAQ Manager ©2017 Iversia from RPGfix.