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Moderation on h2g2

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The Moderation Volunteers | Moderation on h2g2 | Applying to be a Moderation Volunteer

Moderation on h2g2 has three main purposes. Firstly, moderation protects the site from legal risk. Moderation also protects Researchers from negative behaviour (see the House Rules for more details), and finally it makes it easier for us to keep h2g2 safe and pleasant, as well as interesting and fun.

The Moderation Volunteers act on behalf of Not Panicking Ltd., the company that owns h2g2, and all moderation volunteers go through a vetting process as well as a training programme to make sure that they can handle the responsibility they have been given by the Board. They moderate in accordance with the Transgressions Procedure.

Raising an Alert

If you see something on h2g2 that you think has broken the House Rules please use the complaint button (informally called the Yikes button) on that post or Entry to bring it to the attention of the moderation team. Please provide specific details as to what you believe the problem to be.

If you see behaviour or a pattern of behaviour that concerns you, please feel free to contact the moderation team via email at [email protected]. Again, please provide as much detail as you can. All complaints are investigated, but we won't be able to respond to requests to discuss individual people or cases.

Keeping concerns off-site will help us to find resolutions to the issues; making complaints known on site can can create drama which can quickly escalate into unacceptable behaviours.

Please bear in mind that as volunteers, the moderators do have other responsibilities and may not be able to get back to you immediately. Remember, too, that the moderators may disagree with your assessment of the situation. Sometimes taking a short break from a difficult discussion may help provide clarity or perspective.

Scenarios and Consequences

In an effort to make our procedures more transparent, a cause and effect list follows. Please note that since not all behaviours are identical, this list is a rough guide of consequences which can be expected if people behave in ways that are considered inappropriate for the site. This list is by no means comprehensive, and should not be used as ammunition against the moderators if action is taken against a user of the site.

Moderating a Post

If a post is reported to the moderators through the complaint button, a moderator may immediately edit/remove/hide it permanently, or may hide it temporarily and consult with other members of the team. Once a decision has been made, the post will either be reinstated or will be edited/removed/hidden permanently.

Foreign language posts will be reviewed individually. However, if there is any doubt as to the meaning of any post which appears in any language other than English, it may be removed by the moderators. This may include "coded" posts. Links to web sites in languages other than English may be removed.

Moderating a Thread

A thread may be closed for a number of reasons, either temporarily or permanently.

  • Temporary closure to give people time to calm down and refocus.
  • Temporary or permanent closure if a thread is considered to have gone totally off topic in a way which no longer represents the ethos of h2g2.
  • Permanent closure/removal if a thread is considered inappropriate for h2g2.
  • Permanent closure if there is a series of posts which appear to be offensive or abusive toward others.
  • When a thread has been closed, it will still be visible, but it will no longer be possible to add new replies.

    Moderating People

    Three removed posts within a six month period will constitute a first offence. Any further posts removed will each be counted as a further offence. After any such offence, the Researcher's account will be subject to pre-moderation, suspension, or other sanctions (see list of possible actions below).

    After 6 months have passed without further infractions, any future offence will be treated as a first offence.

    Actions Available

    We must remind you that every single person who posts on h2g2 is unique and therefore each case will be handled in the most appropriate way for that individual Researcher.

  • Restricted to writing in Journal space only.
  • Restricted from starting new threads.
  • Restrictions regarding who a Researcher can and cannot approach directly.
  • Changing of nicknames
  • Post moderation – posts will display normally but will be reviewed later by the moderators to check content.
  • Pre moderation – all posts and entries made by the Researcher will be hidden until they have been reviewed by a moderator.
  • Suspension – removal of posting privileges for a specified period of time. Suspended Researchers are unable to make any postings or edit any entries.
  • Ban – permanent exclusion from the site.
  • Time Scales

  • 1st offence – 24 hours
  • 2nd offence – 72 hours
  • 3rd offence – 7 days
  • 4th offence – 30 days
  • Subsequent and more serious offences may result in suspensions lasting 90 days, 6 months, or one year, and/or permanent pre-moderation.
  • In extreme cases it may be necessary to skip steps and move straight to a long-term suspension, permanent pre-moderation, or a permanent ban.
  • More serious offences may require immediate sanction:

    Death threatImmediate 24 hour minimum suspension, no discussion. Please note that any death threats will be taken seriously, and will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
    TrollingImmediate pre-moderation/ suspension depending on extreme
    Linking to illegal, obscene, or graphic materialImmediate pre-moderation/suspension depending on extreme
    Flooding Immediate pre-moderation/ suspension depending on extreme. If flooding continues during pre-moderation, all posts will be failed without notification, and another suspension may be necessary
    Operating other accounts while suspended or pre-moderatedSuspension / pre-moderation will be applied to the other account(s) and the duration of the suspension/ pre-moderation period will reset
    Posting on behalf of a banned researcherWarning; if it happens again, suspension

    Suspension and Pre-Moderation

    In any case where a Researcher has been suspended, that Researcher will be required to email the moderators, agreeing in writing to adhere to the House Rules and Terms and Conditions. Posting privileges will not be reinstated until this acknowledgement has been received.

    A period of pre-moderation lasting 30 days, unless advised otherwise, will follow every suspension, beginning once the Researcher resumes posting on h2g2. In order to minimize disruption, a Researcher in pre-moderation status is not permitted to submit entries to Peer Review or to start new threads other than in their own Personal Space. It may be deemed necessary in some instances for a Researcher to be pre-moderated on a permanent basis upon their return from suspension.

    Out-of-Hours Moderation

    Any time moderation is necessary after 3 PM GMT on a Friday or prior to a major holiday, a suspension may be applied until 9 AM GMT the following business day, regardless of the Researcher's moderation status. It is also possible that a suspension or pre-moderation scheduled to end on a weekend or a major holiday may remain in effect until the following business day. If a suspension is applied only because moderation has occurred "out-of-hours", the Researcher would not be subject to pre-moderation afterward.

    Appeals Process

    If a person has been moderated, there is no appeals process. All such decisions are final. The only exception is in the event of a permanent ban. In this case, if you feel that this decision is too harsh, please email your reasons to [email protected]. This will be reviewed by the Moderation Team Leader along with Not Panicking Ltd. Board members, and a final decision will be emailed back to you, where possible, within 7 days. Reviewed decisions will be final.

    In the case of hidden/removed posts, it is extremely unlikely that a moderation decision will be overturned, and appeals of posts failed for disruptive or abusive behaviour will not be considered. However if you believe that a true mistake has been made, you can request a review by emailing [email protected] explaining your reasons for appealing the decision. This will be reviewed and a final decision will be emailed back to you, where possible, within 7 days. Reviewed decisions will be final.

    In the case of Guide entries, it is possible to have a moderation decision reviewed by emailing your reasons to [email protected]. This email will be reviewed and a final decision emailed back to you, where possible, within 7 days. Please note that the Guide Editors will be involved in the decision process any time an Edited Guide Entry has been flagged for review by the moderators. If you still feel the decision is unfair, you may request that it be escalated further to Not Panicking Ltd. NPL’s decisions are final.

    The h2g2 moderators do not publicly criticize moderated Researchers or expose confidential moderation details. Researchers should likewise afford the moderators the courtesy of taking issues they may have with moderation decisions to private communication.

    In Closing

    It is important that moderation is fair, but that it also reflects the context of where people are posting and between whom. In return, we ask you to think before you post. It takes all sorts to make h2g2 a fun, friendly and interesting place, and that can often require tolerance and understanding from all members. We will do our best to abide by the spirit of the House Rules and we ask that you do, too.

    Last updated on 15 May, 2016 (edited for formatting).

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