VGF Articles of Moderation
Although member moderators have been a vital part to the survival of VGF, there have yet been any descriptive criteria that the selection has followed. The whole process, from topic to new moderator, has been left to the will of the administrators and moderators. Even the members only know little of the whole process. Due to recent events, the need for clear protocols about moderators and the election has been made clearer. The following articles have been written to put rules for the election into stone.
I. Definition of Moderator
A moderator is defined as:
- an individual who watches the forum
- a forum leader
With watching a forum, the moderator must regulate discussions by locking and deleting the necessary topics. Also, they must be active in their forum, and, if necessary, promote growth and activity.
Because the moderator is defined by the UBB as a forum leader, they must serve as a role model to the forum community. A moderator cannot spam, flame, or encourage or promote negative conduct as defined in the “Rules, Policies, and Disclaimers” of VGF, which were agreed upon by the member before joining.
Also, part of being a leader means being exposed to a higher level of information in the Moderator Forum. A moderator must be responsible and understand that this information is private. Nothing discussed in the Moderator Forum, unless otherwise noted, is to be repeated to anyone who is not a forum leader.
A moderator who significantly refuses to meet the definition will be punished. See Article V.
II. The Moderator Election
At any given time, the forum administrators have the right to select a new moderator for a forum. The causes of such selections are usually A) a forum has become too active for the administrators to watch alone, B) the current moderator has quit or has been fired, or C) the current moderator is or will be inactive. In any of these cases, a “Mod Wanted” topic will be posted by an administrator in the chosen forum. A member will nominate himself or herself in the topic, and others will vote for them.
*Please note that in rare cases, a new moderator may be selected by the forum leaders without the whole election process.
Certain specifications must be met in order for a moderator candidate to have a chance to win. Failure to meet these specifications will result in instant disqualification. Disqualification appears on three levels:
Level 1- Disqualification by physical member status
Physical member status is defined as all things about a member pertaining to post count, member number, and date registered. A candidate for moderator MUST have registered at least two months before the election and have at least two hundred posts. Overall, the ratio between months as an active member and post count should be reasonable. A member with a registered time of less than two months and a low post count cannot run for moderator.
Level 2 – Disqualification by participation
A candidate must have been an active part of the forum BEFORE the start of the election. A newcomer will be disqualified. This holds true in all forums except VGF Main.
Level 3- Disqualification by behavior
A disqualification on level three is the highest, but it is also the most subjective. Any member who does not show leadership qualities cannot become a moderator. Disqualifications may come as the result of:
- excessive profanity
- posting of inappropriate material
- recent warnings by forum leaders
- having been banned in the past
Time must also be taken into consideration. If a candidate was a troublemaker two years before the election, but has shaped up since then, they will be in better shape than a candidate who has been reprimanded recently for posting offensive material. Other variables include, but are not limited to, magnitude of the offense, number of times done, and intent of doing so.
Level 1 disqualifications will be decided by forum leaders or members in the election topic. Level 2 disqualifications, if necessary, will be decided in the topic or in the Moderator Forum. Level 3 disqualifications will be decided by the forum leaders in the Moderator Forum.
II.2. Primary Election
The moderator election in the chosen forum is a primary election. It is solely for the purpose of the forum leaders to get an idea about who is favored to lead that forum. Candidates post that they are running, and other members vote for them. To prevent cheating, votes from members who would be disqualified on level 1 are not counted. Votes from members who would be disqualified on level 2 are counted, but votes from regulars of the forum may be worth more (See Article III.) A voter may post why they feel the candidate is qualified, but it is not necessary. A candidate SHOULD NOT:
- Post what they will do as a mod. The responsibilities are always the same (outlined in Article I.)
- Post multiple times in the topic. Extra posts make it hard to be sorted through.
- Bribe members.
- Discourage others from running
- Be a bad sport. Doing so will hurt the candidate’s chances of winning.
It is advised that someone (a non-candidate) take up the responsibility of keeping a tally of the votes.
When the primary election has gone on long enough, an administrator will close the topic and send it to the Moderator Forum for a final decision. The winner of the primary will not necessarily be selected as the new moderator, and all candidates should recognize this before running.
III. The Moderator Election- Final Decision
After the primary election is closed in the chosen forum, an administrator will move the topic to the Moderator Forum. It is here that the final decision is made. All candidates are reviewed. Usually, only the top two or three winners of the primary election are looked at. Their record is reviewed; allowing disqualifications on level 3 to take place. Also, this is where comments made by the forum regulars (mentioned in Article II.2) will come into play. The moderators will vote on who they believe is the most qualified. After a certain amount of time, the votes are tallied and the chosen moderator is put into power.
III.1. Special cases
A majority of final decisions are made easily and quickly, but some are not. The following are procedures for these special cases.
III.1.A. Split vote
Sometimes, the moderator decision may be split between two candidates. The participation of each in the forum will be looked at, along with any comments made by members or moderators in either stage of the election. The ruling may be made in two ways:
- the votes are tallied and the winner gets the job, or
- both members are given the job.
*It should be known that in this case, the administrators have the final say. Therefore, it is possible for the final ruling to be against any votes of the moderators.
III.1.B. The Ambiguous Cases
Special procedure must be followed if two candidates cannot be simply chosen due to the situation. There are two major ambiguous cases:
Candidate 1 is a current moderator and candidate 2 is not. C1 won the primary election, while C2 was second.
C2 is examined. If they have a good record, they will be chosen. However, if the forum is busy and could use two new moderators, both will be picked.
Candidate 1 is the primary winner by far, but their record is not as good as that of candidate 2.
C1 is examined. Normally, they would have been disqualified on level 3, but the votes make this an ambiguous case. If C1’s record still outweighs the votes after the examination, then C2 will be declared winner. If C1 IS chosen, then they will be closely watched by the forum leaders for a period of time. See Article IV.
IV. The Aftermath
The new moderator should prove to the forum leaders that they made a good choice. For this reason, all new appointees are placed under a small probation period. A normal probation means being helped out and having mistakes corrected. Candidate 1 from Article III.1.B.Case 2 will be put on a more strict probation. During this period, the forum leaders will closely monitor them. One mistake could cost the new moderator his or her job.
Also, the primary candidates who did not win should not whine. Whining over losing will be placed in their record, and will be held against them during the next election.
“Demodding” is defined as the process of removing a moderator from power against their will. The first step is the impeachment. Impeachment may be the result of:
- not living up to the definition
- causing/starting/encouraging disruptive activity
- becoming unpopular with the members due to behavior
- messing up during probation
- leaking information from the Moderator Forum
When impeached, the problem is brought to the moderator’s attention by an administrator in the Moderator Forum. The situation is then reviewed by the other forum leaders. The response of the members is also taken into consideration. At the end, there will be one of two outcomes:
- The moderator is demoded. This will go onto their record for future elections.
- The moderator is let go, but put on a strict probation. They can be easily impeached, and the whole process will start again if they are. Impeachment rarely happens three times.
VI. Moderation Maximum
Restrictions are placed on the number of moderator jobs one member can have at VGF. The number varies for different members.
- An administrator can moderate as many forums as they feel necessary.
- A site owner is allowed to moderate all forums of their site along with one extra. Basically, all site related forums count as one.
- A normal member is allowed to moderate two forums.
In addition, a moderator of two forums is NOT allowed to quit his or her job at one of the forums in order to run in an election that has just started. The maximums are set for normal circumstances. In special cases or by the will of an administrator, the maximums may be changed.
Summarized, the moderator selection process is as follows:
- “Mod Wanted” topic posted
- Members nominate themselves.
- Other members vote; Level 1 and 2 disqualifications.
- The topic is moved to the Moderator Forum
- Winning candidates of the primary election are reviewed and voted on; Level 3 disqualifications
- A new moderator is selected; probation period starts
The Articles of Moderation were drafted by BoltDragoon on November 28, 2002. They were finalized on (date) and ratified on (date). Amendments may be added with consent of the forum leaders of VGF.
Section I. Any moderator caught leaking significant information from the Moderator Forum shall have their access to the Moderator Forum revoked, may be removed from their position, and may even be banned outright, depending on the severity of the information leaked. Evidence does not have to be conclusive in order to initiate punishment.
Section II. Significance of the leak is to be decided by the forum leaders.
Section I. A voter in a moderator election needs to have a registration time of at least one month and a post count of at least 100. Also, the voter needs to have registered a week before any mention of an election in that forum.
Section II. A voter needs to be active at VGF and especially in that forum. The vote from a forum usual may carry more weight than a less frequent visitor.
Section III. Ballot stuffing, or the act of registering multiple accounts in order to increase votes for a candidate, is strictly prohibited. Ballot stuffing may be performed by a candidate registering other accounts, or a candidate having others register for the sole purpose of voting. A candidate who is caught will be disqualified from the election and from any future elections for a time decided on by the forum leaders. A voter who is caught will be disqualified from running in any future elections for a time also decided upon by the forum leaders.
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