PlaymoFriends Moderator F.A.Q.

· What exactly is a Moderator?

At PlaymoFriends our Moderators are people who are here to help our members feel welcome, to answer their questions and concerns, and to ensure that the site runs smoothly so that all members might enjoy the time they spend here.  They are all individuals who are enthusiastic about Playmobil and knowledgeable in at least one area of collecting, customising, or simply having fun with Playmobil toys. Further, they all care deeply about PlaymoFriends and wish to make this a relaxing, respectful place for our fellow Playmobil fans to gather and share.  Moderators have the ability to organise the boards they are assigned to by moving posts and topics to other areas of the forum, and they also have the capacity to delete a post, should that need arise (see Member Guidelines for more info).

· How long does a PlaymoFriends Moderator's "tour of duty" last?

In order to cut down on the need to train new Moderators at frequent intervals, it is recommended that volunteers are willing to sign up for at least 3 months service. Six months in succession is the maximum time any member will be allowed to perform this role before being asked to step down, because we want to make sure that everyone at PlaymoFriends is given an equal opportunity to take part in moderating the forum at some stage during their membership. If a Moderator finds, for any reason at all, that they are unable to continue moderating before having completed 3 months duty, then they should notify the Administrator as soon as possible, so that alternate arrangements can be made. We don't want to force anyone to take on a responsibility they do not feel comfortable with.

· How often should a Moderator browse the site?

This will depend on each person's situation in life and will therefore vary. In general, they should try to log in every day and look over the board(s) for which they are responsible. This will probably take 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how active their area of the forum is. For any week during which they know they will be unable to do so, Moderators must inform the Administrator, in order that someone else can be brought in to cover their area until they return to full duties.

· What should a Moderator be looking out for?

Moderators must watch for the introduction of objectionable and offensive material, including but not limited to pornographic material and spam, and any other activity that does not conform to the guidelines set down for our members. Having identified such material, the Moderator must act decisively by taking whatever steps are necessary to protect the whole community and ensure that the forum continues to run smoothly. (See Moderating Policies for more detail).
Moderators should also watch for tone being used in members' posts. Our goal is to maintain a tone of courtesy, respect and tolerance. If a post strikes all or most of the Moderators as having a sneering tone, it will receive some kind of Moderator response so that a possible nasty situation can be avoided.

· Is a Moderator assigned to specific areas?

Yes, each Moderator will be placed in charge of a designated board or boards, depending on which areas have vacancies or choices made by themselves or the Administrator. The Moderator's name will appear next to the board(s) they are moderating on both the forum's board index (home page) and at the top of the individual board's message index page, so that all members will be aware of who they can approach for help or guidance when using each area of the forum.
If a Moderator sees something seriously amiss in another area which they do not have control over, and the Moderator responsible for that area cannot be found promptly, they should contact the Administrator straight away.

· Are there some standard 'boilerplate' responses to specific situations?

There is one Boilerplate/Flag for PFZ topics that look to be controversial:

This topic looks to be potentially controversial. As our focus here at PlaymoFriends is on Playmobil and friendship, we wish to avoid member alienation.  At the same time, we do not wish to dampen honest and respectful discussion. Please make sure that you abide by the PlaymoFriends Member Guidelines:

Many thanks, The PlaymoFriends Team.

If a Moderator feels that they are unable to retain an impartial stance, they should hand the issue over to another fellow Moderator or the Administrator. In the majority of cases this won't be a problem, as Moderators can simply refer back to the Member Guidelines, but if they feel at all uneasy with a topic, they should pass it on.

· Can I ask one of the other Moderators or Founders for help?

Yes! This is strongly encouraged and recommended. We all have our biases, our individual "filters" and "hot button" issues. It can be very helpful to connect with a fellow Moderator, Administrator or Founder to sound out a situation or proposed response.  As most of us know, the written word is void of much communicative content.  Running a response past a colleague can help weed out unintended ambiguities, so talking to fellow Moderators and posting issues on the Mod board as they occur is a very sensible approach to take.
However, if a Moderator sees any harmful material or action by a member, they should not wait for consultation but rather remove the post in question (or find someone who can) and contact the Administrator if the perpetrator needs to be suspended. The key word here is harmful, keeping in mind this is a family site.

In the case of an emergency where immediate action is needed, all Moderators will have the option to telephone the Administrator to ask for assistance.