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Moderator Handbook

FMA UK Forums Moderators' Handbook: Version 1.0

Thank you for taking the time to read the FMA UK Forums Moderators' Handbook. In this installment, you will learn of the various changes FMA UK Forums has undergone, and will have at your disposal, a valuable reference material for moderating at these forums.

While this handbook is a valuable reference material, it is no substitute to experience and human interaction. If you are a new moderator, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of a "Moderator Mentor". There are also the general Forum Rules that users are to abide by and being current with them is an important part of being a moderator. Please also check the Moderator Decision Process as well. With that said, thank you again for taking the time to read this handbook, and good luck moderating at FMA UK Forums.

These rules and guidelines are an ongoing effort and will change over time. They have been written for where the forum is going and may require some adjustment over time. Suggestions and comments are welcome.
- FMA UK Forums Staff


Listed below is the contact information for the administrators.

Des Quinn

Table of Contents

Rules ^^


SPAM stands for Stupid Pointless Annoying Material/Message. Listed below are our definitions of "SPAM":

  • Off-Topic Posts - Any post that is either irrelevant to the topic of discussion, or forum is classified as SPAM.
  • Intentional Post Count Raising - Posting comments just to raise your post count is considered as SPAM. A common instance of this is replying to questions that have already been answered and repeating the answer (see; Bumping Dead Topics), or just posting nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with that forum or discussion at hand.
  • One-Word Replies - One-word replies are classified as SPAM, unless otherwise noted in that specific forum's rules.
  • Bumping Dead Topics - Bumping a topic that has not been posted in in over a month is considered SPAM. If a specific forum's rules notes a different time frame for classifying a thread as "dead", that is the time frame that you are to follow. One month is the standard time frame for classifying threads as "dead".
  • Personal Member-To-Member Threads - If you post a thread directed at a specific member, it may be classified as SPAM. Please use the Private Messaging function to contact members privately about personal matters, or discussions.

Off-topic posts are allowed on the following forums, under that forum's specific rules:


A flame is an insult or slur directed to a member. Listed below are our definitions of "flames":

  • Insults - Any type of insult directed from one member to another member. Please remember that there is a big difference between "criticism" and "insulting".
  • Homosexual Slurs - Any type of homosexual slur directed from one member to another member, whether it'd be false claims that the member being flamed is a homosexual, or mocking a homosexual member for their sexual preference.
  • Sexual Slurs - Any type of sexual slur directed from one member to another member, whether it'd be describing explicit sexual behaviors involving the member being flamed, or typing sexually explicit slurs using the likeness of the member being flamed.
  • Racial Slurs - Any type of slur directed from one member to another member or ethnic background insulting a specific ethnic background.

It is important to remember that it is the moderator's discretion as to what is classified as a "flame". If you would like a moderator to review something that you may feel is a flame, please feel free to contact them. If you are unable to contact a moderator, please contact a veteran moderator or member of the administration.

Trolling ^^

The big difference between "trolling" and "flaming" is that a direct insult is not always the factor. It simply has to be a comment intended to antagonize another person.

Trolling is where a member provokes another member into an argument or flame war by means of flaming the member, or making a post when the member knows full-well that it will cause an argument or flame war.

Example: Posting "Something sucks!" in the when you know that a particular person or group will respond. Such a comment would only serve to provoke a fight.

Please read here for more information on Abuse and Bullying.

Advertising ^^

Advertising is when a member displays a link to a Web site not associated with FMA UK with the intent to draw visitors of FMA UK to their Web site. Advertising is usually done in threads or posts, but it's not uncommon to see advertising done in a member's viewable profile fields, such as their "Signature" or "Location".

Outside Links ^^

Outside linking is when a member links to a site outside of FMA UK without the intent of advertising the Web site he/she is linking to. Outside linking is usually done in threads or posts, or "Signatures". If a member is warned for having an outside link in their signature, they are required to remove it within 48 hours, or the signature will be completely removed by an administrator.

It is important to check with each forum's specific rules before posting a link that leads to a Web site outside of FMA UK.

Censor Bypassing ^^

Censor bypassing is when a member deliberately trys to fool the forum Word Censor. The Word Censor is in place to censor obscene words that may not be acceptable to certain visitors. Remember, FMA UK Forums is a family site, so, the Word Censor is in place to protect children and others that may be offended by obscene words. More latitude is given on the Adults Board.

Members/moderators bypass the Word Censor by using BB (Bulletin Board) codes to act as a wedge in between censored words, i.e. "fu[b][/b]ck". It is also possible to bypass the censor by using ALT-#### codes. This is not allowed.

Members/moderators are allowed to use the following characters to obscure at least one character in a censored word, so the word is not completely censored and the viewer can still understand what the word is: ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + ` { } [ ] : " ; ' , . ? /

Forum Information ^^

Introduction ^^

There are two different routes that a forum suggestion may take before it actually becomes a forum. A user could suggest the creation of a forum or the admin/mods could suggest one. If a user suggests a forum then part of the discussion may begin on the public boards with the decision and final discussion being carried out on the private boards. Alternatively and most likely a board may be suggested by the admin or the trustees. Discussion of this will more likely be carried out on the private boards prior to the board being created.

Private Moderators' Forums ^^

There are several forums that are not visible to the general public here at FMA UK Forums, some of these are the private moderators' forums. Each of those forums serve a different purpose. Their purpose is outlined below:

Forum Staff - The category in which all private moderators' forums are housed.

  • Moderators - The main moderators' forum. This is where moderators post their requests, from bans to forum drops.
    - Important Threads - A sub-forum in the main moderators' forum where all threads of importance are stored.
    - Mod chat - A sub-forum in the main moderators' forum for off-topic discussions.
    - Inappropriate and Abuse - where abuse posts are placed when they are moved from the main forum.

Moderator Information ^^

Introduction ^^

Moderators are subject to the same rules as members, and other guidelines used to help set an example for the members. This section outlines those guidelines, the tools moderators uses to efficiently moderate their forums, an explanation as to how new moderators are chosen, and a list of reasons why you could be removed as a moderator.

Code of Conduct ^^

Private Moderators' Forum privacy - There are reasons why certain forums are viewable by members of the forum staff only. They contain sensitive forum information, and information that is not deemed "accessible" by the general population. As a moderator with access to the "Forum Staff" category, you are trusted with the responsibility to not disclose anything posted in the Private Moderators' Forums. Failure to abide by this guideline may result in your immediate access removal to the Private Moderators' Forums, or your immediate removal as a moderator.

There are few exceptions to this rule. They are as follows:

  • General Discussions - If a thread and/or post is made in any of the Private Moderators' Forum that an administrator may deem viewable by the general population, you may request to disclose it to the general population, or request a copy of the said thread be sent to an appropriate general population accessible forum. DO NOT DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION UNTIL APPROVED SO BY AN ADMINISTRATOR. IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOMETHING APPROVED, PLEASE CONTACT AN ADMINISTRATOR AND PROVIDE A LINK.
  • Questions Directed To The Administration - If a member requests that you ask an administrator a question in the Private Moderators' Forums, you are allowed to disclose the answer to that question and nothing more. You are permitted to directly quote any administrator that may answer that question.

If you would like to find out whether or not any other material can or cannot be disclosed, please feel free to contact an administrator with a description (or link to, if available) of the information you would like to disclose.

Fair Judgement - As a moderator, it is your responsibility to execute fair judgement. It is important for you, as a moderator, to be able to make decisions regardless of personal interest, relationship, or benefit. If you are unable to do so, then, you are unable to do your job to it's fullest. A major part of moderating here at FMA UK Forums is interacting with other members or the forum staff, and members. You are expected to treat all members of the forums staff, and general population the same. It is very important that any action that is taken is based on proof and the balance of probabilities. Guessing or gut instinct is not enough even if suspected abuse continues beyond the initial report.

Activity - As a moderator, you are required to be an active poster and visitor of the forum(s) you moderate, as well as a visible rule-enforcing figure. If it is discovered that you are lacking in any of the previously mentioned fields, you may be contacted a maximum of 3 times in regards to your performance. Following no response, or no shown improvement, you may be removed from the forum(s) that are are failing to meet requirements in, or you may be removed as a moderator. If you have not posted in 30 days, you are also subject to be removed as a moderator. Failing to inform the administration, and your co-moderators that you are going on a leave of absence may also result in your removal as a moderator of a specific forum, or completely.

Rules - As a moderator, you are subject to the same rules as the general population. However, because of your rank, your infractions are logged, and your punishments are more severe. For example, where a member of the general population may receive a caution, you may receive a logged warning. It is your responsibility to not only be an authority figure in your forums, but to also be an example in all of the forums you visit. The members emulate the way moderators post and carry themselves, because they figure that everything you do is within the rules. If you violate the rules, you set a bad example for the members, and you will be punished.

Terms and Abbreviations ^^

As a moderator here at FMA UK Forums, there are several terms and abbreviations used that you may not know. This section covers most of those terms and abbreviations.

Closed - Member of the forum staff closes a thread.
Opened - Member of the forum staff opens a thread.
Moved - Member of the forum staff moves a thread. Destination or source forum is commonly used when announcing the movement of a thread.
Stuck - Member of the forum staff sticks a thread, and perhaps adds an "Important: " prefix..
Un-stuck - Member of the forum staff un-sticks a thread, removing the "Important: " prefix.
Forum Drop - Member of the forum staff "drops" a forum, meaning they no longer moderate it.
Forum Pick-Up - Member of the forum staff "picks up" a forum, meaning they now moderate it.
Modless - The forum(s) being mentioned do not have any moderators.
LOA - Leave of Absence
ROA - Reduced Online Activity
Banned - Classification used for a member that is no longer permitted to post under their primary account.
BOS - Ban on Sight
De-mod - A former moderator that was removed as a moderator by the administration for breaking moderator guidelines.
Co-mod - Moderator that moderates a forum with you
Mod - Moderator
Smod - Super Moderator
Admin - Administrator
M-C - Mod Chat

Candidates ^^

"Candidates" are members of the general population that are going to be voted on to decide whether or not they are promoted to "Moderator" status, and become a member of the forum staff. To become a moderator, a candidate must meet the following requirements:

  • Mature - A candidate must be at least 16 years of age, or mature enough so age is not questioned. If a candidate is over the age of 16, but lacks the necessary maturity to handle situations in an adult and responsible manner, he/she may be denied the ability to be a candidate for a moderator position.
  • Post Count - A candidate must have at least 300 posts in order to be considered a candidate for a moderator position. It is true that post count does not affect one's ability or likeliness of becoming a moderator, however, it must be evident that the candidate is an active contributor to the forums.
  • Active - A candidate is required to be an active contributor in the forum that he/she is recommended to be a candidate to moderate.
  • Approval from all forum moderators - A candidate must be approved by majority of the moderators of the forum that the candidate is being recommended for. Please consult all of your co-moderators before recommending a member to be a candidate to moderate a forum. If no forum moderators are present, an administrator must approve the nomination.
  • Decent Past - A candidate must not have a troublesome past as a member. If a member is known to have behavior problems, he/she will be denied the ability to be a candidate for a moderator position.

There are also some behaviors we do not allow candidates to display during their vote, or waiting period before their vote. There are as follows:

  • Campaigning - Candidates that "campaign" to get moderators to vote in favor of their vote are looked down upon. If a member is caught campaigning, their vote may be canceled (and automatically failed). Campaigning is usually characterised as candidates including in signature, or profile fields pleas to "VOTE YES FOR ME".
  • "Pre-moderating" - Some candidates often jump the gun when it comes to moderating, and begin attempting to enforce rules and punish members before their vote is completed and they are informed as to whether or not they've passed or failed.

To recommend a candidate to moderate a forum, please complete the following steps:

    1.) Post a thread in the main Moderators' forum recommending the candidate for a specific forum. Be sure to include the candidate's EXACT user-name, a link to the candidate's profile, and a link to the forum that the candidate is being recommended to moderate. This information is used in the voting process and must be included before a vote begins.
    2.) Have your co-moderators (if applicable) post their agreement.

Moderating More Forums ^^

It is possible for a moderator to moderate more than one forum. This is often done through a process called "picking up" forums...

New Forums - If a forum is new, and has no moderators, you may request to moderate it, and an administrator will add you to the moderating roster.
Experimental Forums - If a forum is currently being tried as an "Experimental" forum, you may request to moderate it pending the success of the forum. Your name will automatically be added to the roster by an administrator pending the forum's success.
Current Forums - If a moderator would like to moderate a forum that is already in existence, and already has a moderating roster, he/she must request the permission of the current moderating roster before he/she is added. All moderators of the forum must give their consent before the moderator is added to the forum.
"Modless" Forums - If a moderator would like to moderate a forum that is already in existence, but does not have a moderating roster, he/she may request to be added to the forum.

"Admin Options" Toolbar [Threads] ^^

In the forum(s) you moderate you have the ability to use some of the "Admin Options" toolbar in every thread. Each option performs a different task, those tasks are explained in the following section:

  • Lock / Unlock Thread - If you use this option on an open thread, it locks it to prevent any further replies from the general population. Moderators of the forum, and administrators can still reply to the thread even though it is closed. Using this on a closed thread re-opens the thread, allowing the general population to post again.
  • Move Thread - Using this option allows you to move a thread to a different forum, or make a copy of it in another forum. Choosing to leave a redirect when moving a thread leaves a link in the source forum. DO NOT LEAVE A REDIRECT UNLESS YOU ARE CERTAIN YOU WANT IT TO BE THERE.
  • Edit Thread - This option allows you to edit the thread's title that appears in the forum index, the thread's post icon that appears in the forum index, or close the thread.
  • Delete Thread / Posts - This option allows you to delete individual posts from the thread, or to delete the entire thread.
  • Merge Threads - This option allows you to merge two threads together. Copy the exact URL of the thread you would like to merge with into the "Thread to merge with:" field, and click "Merge threads". The URL of the new merged thread will be the same as the thread that you accessed the "Merge Threads" option from.
  • Split Thread - This option is used to reduce load times in threads. At 90-100 posts, moderators are required to split threads. To do this, access the "Split Thread" screen, and select "No" on the first post, and the last 3-5 posts. You can uncheck "No" on any other posts that may be needed. Doing this directs you to the "trash" thread after you split the thread. After accessing the "trash" thread, please close it.
  • Stick / Unstick Thread - This option allows you to add a "Important: " prefix to the thread's title on the forum index, and "sticks" it to the top of the forum right under the forum's announcements. Using this action on a thread that's already stuck removes the "Important: " prefix.
  • In the moderators board there is also the option to mark a post as solved / unsolved. "Report to Moderator" posts come into this board.

Termination & Resignation ^^


Moderating at FMA UK Forums is a job, and a responsibility. Like any other job, you can be terminated for violating the code of conduct, rules, or failing to fulfill your responsibilities. This section outlines the most common issues that result in removal as a moderator.

Breaking FMA UK Forums' Rules - Members of the general population are banned for repeatedly breaking FMA UK Forums' rules, moderators are subject to removal as a moderator if they are proven guilty of breaking forum rules.
Violating Code of Conduct - Moderators that violate any section of the "Code of Conduct" are subject to an immediate removal as a moderator by an administrator.
30 Days Without Posting - If a moderator does not post for a period of 30 days or more without providing a Leave of Absence notification, he/she will be terminated with no questions asked.
Leaking Private Moderators' Forum information - There is a reason that members of the general population cannot access the Private Moderators' Forums. As mentioned in the "Code of Conduct", information posted in the Private Moderators' Forums is deemed private unless otherwise noted by an administrator. If it is proven that you have leaked information from the Private Moderators' Forums, you are subject to an immediate Private Moderators' Forum access removal, immediate removal as a moderator, or Veteran Moderator Group Investigation.
Administrators' Discretion - If an administrator feels that a moderator does not meet the requirements necessary to successfully moderate his/her forums, an administrator can remove the moderator in question if valid reason accompanies the removal.


You are free to resign from your position as a moderator here at FMA UK Forums at any time, however, we request that you take care of the following before stepping down:

  • Replacements - It is important that you and your co-moderators have a replacement for you selected. This is especially important if you moderate a high-traffic forum. If your replacement is a member that would need to be voted on, you and your co-moderators should select a temporary moderator.
  • Inform The Administration - After choosing your replacement, please inform the administration that you are resigning so that they can remove you as a moderator.

Member Information ^^

Introduction ^^

Members are the key to FMA UK Forums' success, however, not all members come here are truly here for the experience of being a part of one of the largest Fibromyalgia communities on the Internet. Some members are troublesome, and are you are bound to encounter those types of members during your time as a moderator. This section is dedicated to explaining the various methods of disciplinary actions, and informing you of various other member-related functions.

Disciplinary Actions ^^

There are several different ways to handle situations with members. This sections covers all of the various disciplinary actions, in order of severity.

Caution - An informal warning that is not logged. Usually given to first-time offenders, new members, or members that are not known to have any major infractions against the rules.

Warning - A formal warning that may be logged by a moderator. Usually given to those that have refused to acknowledge a previous caution, or those that have committed an offense worth more than a caution. It is not common for members to have an account ban after 3-4 warnings.

Member Watch - A thread is posted in the main Moderators' forum informing the forum staff that a member has not heeded any given warnings, and that the member is on the verge of receiving serious action taken against their account.

Forum Access Removal (FAR) - A thread is posted in the main Moderators' forum requesting that a members' access to a specific forum is removed for a period of time, or permanently. The period of time is decided upon by the moderator posting the request.

Temporary Ban - A thread is posted in the main Moderators' forum requesting that a members' account is temporarily banned. The moderator requesting the ban is required to post again informing an administrator that the ban term is up, and is in need of removal.

Account (Permanent) Ban - A thread is posted in the main Moderators' forum requesting that a members' account be permanently banned. The member no longer has access to the said account, and is allowed to register a new account pending good behavior. If the member returns and continues to display disruptive behavior, then further action may be taken to prevent the member from registering other accounts.

Ban On Sight (BOS) Status - After 2-3 new accounts are created by a previously banned member with the intent to cause trouble, a member can be placed on "Ban On Sight" status. This means that if the member is identified under a new account, he/she can automatically be banned by notifying an administrator.

IP Ban - Members that are on a static IP address can be completely banned from registering by having their IP address logged and stored on a list of IP addresses that are not permitted to register accounts. Members on dynamic or proxy IP addresses cannot be IP banned, they are placed on Ban On Sight status as an alternative.

ISP Notification - Members that are a constant problem can be reported to their Internet Service Provider for violating the Terms of Service for their Provider, and this Web site. This can result in the Internet Service Provider canceling the members' Internet Service.

Administrative Information ^^

Introduction ^^

There are basically three levels to the administration here at FMA UK Forums, they are the Moderators, Public (and Global) Moderator Group, and Administrators. Each group has their own responsibilities, powers, and limitations. This section outlines those responsibilities, powers, and limitations so that you can work together more efficiently.

Administrative Groups ^^

This section describes the general purpose of each of the three levels of the administration.

Moderators - Moderators are basically the police of the forums. Their job is to oversee the forums and keep order. They require the assistance of the Administrators to handle any major disciplinary issues, but are independent as far as rule-enforcement goes.

Public (Global) Moderator Group - The Global Moderator Group act as normal moderators, but, they have the ability to handle disciplinary issues regarding moderators, as well as those with members. They still require the assistance of the Administrators to handle any major disciplinary issues for both members and moderators, but, they also act as an advisory panel that helps the Administrators decide on various issues regarding the members, moderators, and forums. This is outlined in the next section. This distinction between a Public and a Global moderator is that a Global moderator has a view of the private charity boards as well. This will normally be Charity personnel and not forum staff. However the role is the same and it is a moderator that has the role of overseeing multiple forums.

Administrators - The Administrators are responsible for governing the members, moderators, and Global Moderator Group, as well as handling all of the other administrative tasks, such as forum management. Administrators can choose to work together with the Global Moderator Group to handle various forum issues, or at their discretion, an issue may be important enough to be handled independently without Global Moderator Group involvement.

Administrative Groups' Powers ^^

Each level of the Administration has various powers. This section outlines what each group can and cannot execute in the forums they moderate.


    Caution Members - YES
    Caution Moderators - YES
    Warn Members - YES
    Warn Moderators - NO
    Issue Member Watches - YES
    Request Forum Access Removals - YES
    Request Temporary Bans - YES
    Request Account (Permanent) Bans - YES
    Request Ban On Sight Status - YES
    Request IP Bans - YES
    Request ISP Notification - NO
    Request Global Moderator Group Investigations - YES

Public / Global Moderator Group

    Caution Members - YES
    Caution Moderators - YES
    Warn Members - YES
    Warn Moderators - YES
    Issue Member Watches - YES
    Request Forum Access Removals - YES
    Request Temporary Bans - YES
    Request Account (Permanent) Bans - YES
    Request Ban On Sight Status - YES
    Request IP Bans - YES
    Request ISP Notification - NO
    Create Global Moderator Group Investigations - YES


    Caution Members - YES
    Caution Moderators - YES
    Warn Members - YES
    Warn Moderators - YES
    Issue Member Watches - YES
    Execute Forum Access Removals - YES
    Execute Temporary Bans - YES
    Execute Account (Permanent) Bans - YES
    Execute Ban On Sight Status - YES
    Execute IP Bans - YES
    Request ISP Notification - YES
    Create Global Moderator Group Investigations - YES

Frequently Asked Questions ^^

How do I split a thread? ^^

On the post that requires to be split click on the button "split". You now have a screen with the choice of the level of splitting that you want to do. Choose to split the individual post, this post and all following topic, or you can select the posts to split. If we choose the last option, you now have a screen with all the posts listed on the left and arrow buttons beside each post. Click on the arrow and that will put those posts in a new thread (with a new URL). Those not clicked on will cause the posts to stay in the thread (same URL). Use your judgement on how it would be better to split out the unwanted posts. (For example, if you are updating a topic that people post in frequently, it is often better to say 'No' to the posts you want to keep so people do not have to change their bookmarks or thread subscriptions.) Make your choices and click 'Split Topic'. You have just split a thread. You will now be taken to a screen where you can choose to go to the 'new' thread, the message index, or the orginal topic. Make sure to close the one you no longer want people to post if this is what you were aiming for. Go back and amend the posts, or subjects as required.

How do I merge a thread?^^

Choose which thread you want to be the 'main' thread. Enter that thread and click on merge thread at the bottom of the thread. Select the board and from the list of topics displayed choose the topic to be merged in. Use the 'select subject' box to change the thread title if you wish by either entering a new subject or choosing one of the merged topics subject titles. All posts from this thread will be merged into the main thread in order by post time/date. Click "Merge Topics". You can also change the subject of all merged topics as well but this is normally not required.

How do I request a ban?^^

If a member is causing problems in your or any other forum, you can request action be taken. Post a thread in the mod forum with the subject containing the member's name and that you want a ban (for example: Ban Request on desquinn). Be sure to provide links or the admins may not ban this person! Keep in mind that we also have 'spam bans' and post count resets that may be a more fitting punishment for the offender.

What if I need to take a break from here?^^

If you need to take a vacation from the forums or have anything that will cause you not to be able to post for a while, please let us know. If you'd like to make a thread in the mod forum to let us know you'll be gone and for how long if possible.

What if I see a moderator breaking the rules? ^^

If you see a mod breaking the rules you should report it immediately to a PM/GM or Admin. You may 'informally' warn or caution the mod to stop if you wish. If it is a PM/GM member breaking the rules, report it immediately to an Admin.

A member is trying to tell me that they have Private Moderators' Forum information...^^

Talk to the member. Try and find out how they came to have the info. Especially try to find out what mod gave it to them or if they are logging in to a mod's account. You can then contact an Admin or PM/GM with what you have learned (screenshots, conversations, and any other proof are very helpful). You can also post it in the mod forum if you wish, but it may be better that the 'leaking mod' doesn't know about it right away.

An Admin deleted my only forum, what do I do? ^^

You are now a mod-in-waiting. You have 30 days to pick up a new forum or you will be demodded. Check the 'Modless Forums' topic or ask around for a forum that needs help. When you find a forum, simply post to be added to that forum.

How do moderators make their decisions?

Please check here for some of the background on how we make a decision when  diusputes happen.

I have a question that isn't covered here...^^

You can contact one of our other Moderator , or an Admin. Any of these people will be glad to help you.

This version of the FMA UK Forums Moderators' Handbook was made possible by the following people:
Mark Dunnigan (Wicked) of GameWinners.com Forums | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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