What is the Role of a Moderator?
The purpose of the APS Engage Community is for members to discuss items relevant to American Physical Society members or members of the physics community at large. Guidelines for the entire community are in place to fulfill that purpose, and the job of moderators is to keep the forum operating for its intended purpose. All moderation action is to that end. The following are guidelines on what to do as a moderator.
Defining Moderator Responsibilities
Volunteer Moderators: Our volunteer moderators are the eyes and ears of the community. Their role is to regularly review posts made to Engage to help in identifying clear examples of inaccurate info being shared (for example, sharing the wrong dates for an APS conference) or when users may be in violation of the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines (for example, engaging in name-calling).
Volunteer moderators are expected to be aware of these guidelines and are asked to correct inaccurate information via a post to the thread in the spirit of customer service. We don't expect volunteer moderators to handle any violations but instead take the approach of "If you see something, say something," flagging actual or perceived issues to APS Staff Moderation Leads (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
APS Staff Moderators: APS Staff Moderators provide the support necessary to keep our communities running smoothly, backing up our busy volunteers through continuous monitoring of posts and supporting users. Staff moderators escalate potential issues to APS Staff Moderation Leads as well.
APS Staff Moderation Leads: In addition to supporting Volunteer Moderators, APS Staff Moderation Leads are responsible for enacting the appropriate response to situations that threaten to affect the safety and well-being or willingness to participate of others on the forum, distract from the key use of the forum, or otherwise violates the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines.
APS Staff Moderation Leads: What to do When?
There are two types of duties as an APS Staff Moderation Lead. The first has to do with the operations of the forum and processes that help provide a smooth support experience from an operational standpoint. The second is largely related to people management and ensuring the forum remains a healthy environment for discussion.
Two explicit examples of how to tell the difference: The user is giving the wrong information about where to register for an APS event…this is where you can go in, edit the content and guide the user on what should be there in a direct and professional way by including a brief message explaining why an edit was made.
A user has begun taunting and attacking personal characteristics during a discussion…this is when a user is affecting the safety and well-being or willingness to participate of others on the forum and exhibits behavior that distracts from the key use of the forum. For situations like this, warnings and corrections are the first option. If these are not working, or if the offense is particularly egregious, please refer to the consequences policy and make sure you escalate the situation appropriately.
Identifying Inappropriate Content
The following content is considered inappropriate:
attacks on ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or any other individual characteristic
trolling: non-constructive posting purely to elicit emotional reaction, to cause others to engage in argument, to knowingly spread false information, and similar
sensitive information (personal info, phone numbers, confidential data, etc.)
links to executable files
anything that violates the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines
Locking, Editing, or Deleting Threads and Posts
APS Staff Moderation Leads can lock threads, edit posts, or remove them completely according to the following guidelines:
All spam posts in discussion forums should be deleted.
Posts including content in violation of the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines should be edited by APS Staff Moderation Leads to feature only the language below:
This content has been removed as per the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines. If you believe this post was removed in error, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
APS Staff Moderation Leads should follow the Consequences Policy as appropriate should multiple such posts occur.
APS Staff Moderators Leads who lock a thread should always post a new comment to explain that the thread has been closed to further replies and why.
Deactivating user accounts
APS Staff Moderation Leads can deactivate accounts that are clearly used for spam purposes.
APS Staff Moderation Leads must maintain a record of and seek consensus regarding deactivating any account for reasons other than spam.
These are the consequences if users are not following these guidelines:
Level 1: Initial Warning
APS Staff Moderators Leads should post a public message and send a direct message to users that are not following forum guidelines or are violating the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines.
Level 2: Serious Warning
At this point, APS Staff Moderation Leads will post a public message explaining why moderation has occurred. In addition, moderators will explain that any future violation of forum guidelines or the APS Code of Conduct and/or the APS Engage Community Rules and Privacy Guidelines will result in deactivation, suspension, and possibly a permanent ban.
Level 3: Deactivating, Suspending, or a Permanent Ban
Deactivating a spammer can be done without additional approval. For all other deactivations, suspensions, or bans, the APS Staff Moderation Leads will jointly review the user’s history and determine the best course of action. If a user reaches Level 3 due to actions on our forums, the minimum penalty is a two-week suspension of access, with the final decision at the discretion of APS leadership based on the specific situation.
What Should I Do if I Encounter a Problem That Is Not Covered by These Guidelines?
Volunteers and APS Staff Moderators should report to the Staff Moderation Leads any situation that is not currently covered in these guidelines. This also applies to "grey areas" or when any Moderator doubts whether a certain action should be taken. Please report to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.