[Admin] Moderator Guidelines and User Management

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[Admin] Moderator Guidelines and User Management

Post02 Mar 2007

Everything in Moderation

In the spirit of openness that we hope to engender, this post describes the purpose and role of Forum moderators. Moderatorship is not a position of rank and confers no status the user. It is merely a useful function, an additional service to others, a responsibility that some individuals offer to take on and others have thrust upon them.

Moderators have the ability to move, remove or edit others posts as well as their own, and merge complete topics, either in specific forums or the entire Forum. In an emergency, they are able to suspend from posting and personal messaging but not ban or delete other users.

The role of moderators is to act as a guide to the Forum as whole, helping other users, protecting the forums form abuse and improving the general, overall look and feel of the forums. To avoid the excesses of other internet forums, the BrahmaKumaris.Info Forum is not primarily intended for social networking nor forums of self-expression. It is a public resource to fully document issues arising from BKWSU teachings and lifestyle, and to support those individuals effected by it.

As not all forum members are native English speakers, nor experienced in using the code that formats the forums, moderators are encouraged and able to correct errors in grammar, spelling and 'bbcode' formatting. We do not and have not changed the meaning of any posts and have only very rarely removed posts, or part of posts, when they have seriously broken the guidelines or are too offensive even for our fairly liberal standards.

The reason we do this is to make the forums as condensed and easy to read or follow. It puts all users on a more equal footing and to some extend helps to protect the identity of users by removing idiosyncrasies by which they might be recognized. The forums are archived by Google and other search engines to become a widely available resource and so we wish to create the best possible impression of what we are doing.

Guides to Moderators

1] Spelling and grammar

    The correction of spelling and grammar is according to your ability and discretion. Perfection or de-personalization is not the aim, we wish to merely to remove the most obvious obstacles to others understanding what is being said. In case of doubts, where posts are difficult to understand, refer back to the original author.
2] Off topic discussion

    As a rule, discussion is allowed to wander but where it becomes an obstacle to others or an indulgence, completely "off topic" discussion can be moved to the "Lost Property" topic in the Admin forum. In many cases, valid "off topic" discussion can be split or merged with other already existing topics. Again, this is for moderators discretion.

    One other alternative is just for moderators to steer conversation back "on topic".
3] Abuse

    Foremost consideration is given to those that wish to remain incognito. It is understood that many individuals are still practising BKs that maintain a relationship with their local BK center and many ex-BKs, especially recently ex-BKs maintain friendships with current BKs. In the case of PBKs, individuals may well experience direct discrimination and abuse from the BKWSU if their identity was revealed. Accidental or deliberate attempts to reveal identities should be removed.
4] BBcode

    BBcode is the code which creates custom formatting of posts. You can see the buttons above the posting window, please experiment with them. They are very similar to HTML used to writing webpages. There are two main issues where individuals have difficulties, the quote and URL tags.
5] Splitting, merging and moving posts and topics

    The forum software allows single posts and complete topics to be split, merged, or moved. Each of these can be done in order to keep the forums concise and orderly, e.g. , splitting a thread to create two new ones where discussion goes off topic or an important new issues arises, merging two similar or identical topics to keep an old discussion active or moving a universal topic into The Commonroom from a usergroup forum.

    As a moderator, you will see small buttons/icons at the bottom of the page which allow you to perform these actions.
6] Moderator control panel

    Moderators will see a link to a Moderator control panel at the bottom of the page after logging in. This allows them to perform certain action including adding to the word censorship list and suspending but not banning other members to allow them to cool off when necessary.
Common errors or problematic constructions

1] Lack of paragraph breaks

    Some posters have a habit of writing without paragraph breaks, or using only one carriage return to break text. Traditionally, it is not clear if or where BapDada intends there to be paragragh breaks in the Murlis and some users are uncomfortable at inflicting their own. General practise on the forums is to use double carriage return paragraph breaks at regular spaces, or at obvious points of emphasis. In this case, the readers' interests are put before the contributors and breaks are added. Tidy spacing helps make posts more readable.
2] Too many fullstops and other strange characters

    The software cannot tell the difference between characters of a word and a fullstop, e.g. "too.....many". This can cause it to break the frame that holds the forum and cause layout problems. Please limit fullstops to 3 and create a break between the words, e.g. "just ... right".

    Microsoft Word, which some write their posts in first, puts in place a single character with 3 dots that breaks other parts of the website. Replace with 3 normal fullstops. It also uses unusual coding for apostrophes and quotation marks that are best replaced.
3] Quoting function

    This is the most common problem individual have becoming used to the forum software. There is a topic, here, that explains how to fix it, e.g.
    Code: Select all
    [quote="author"]... message is here ...[/quote]

    Where one edits out the bits of the message one does not want quoted. One can also type in your own quote tags if you are a programmer type you can just type;
    Code: Select all
    [quote]... message is here ...[/quote]

    or for multiple quotes;
    Code: Select all
    [quote="author"]... quoted text is here ...[/quote]
    Your message goes here without a space
    [quote]... quoted text is here ...[/quote]
    Your message goes here without a space again.

    • The quote tags create a space above and below themselves, so no space is required when posting.
    • When quoting the same person many times in one post, it is only necessary to use their name once.
    • When quoting subsequent individuals is is good to put their name in so that quotations can be attributed to the original contributor.
    • Please limit the amount of quotation to one or a few lines and avoid double quoting a quoting, i.e. a quote within a quote, unless it is really necessary.
    • Please avoid quoting the original contributor's addresses and signatures etc.

    The purpose of all this is to keep the forum as condensed and informative for the reader as possible and avoiding the usual unreadable mess most public forums descend into. Written language is meant to be invisible to allow the meaning of what is being said to come through.
4] SMS
    Ur nt alld 2 wrt in SMS txt language 4 evr. Write in English.
5] Smilies

    The over use of smilies is disuaded because, again, it does strange things to other bit of the site software. If there are too many smilies feel free to edit them down. One is fine to denote mood.
6] Profanity and obscenity

    Thankfully we have very little of this. There are many issues more profane and obscene than bad language.

    We understand that many ex-BK are coming out of the BKWSU and need to let off steam. To some extent we allow and encourage this to the limit that is it nor hurtfully directed at other forum members. BrahmaKumaris.Info is not the BKWSU and has more liberal policy towards individual's self-expression, the sincerity of their intention is more important than the manner in which it is expressed. Priority is given for ex-BKs experience.
7] Lost posts

    No server software is perfect and at times posts or messages have been lost through no one individuals actions. A common fault causing lost posts is users internet browsers either timing out or logging the individual out. This is normally due to a poor or broken internet connection or the editing of a post taking too long. Under such circumstances, it is not possible to recover such posts. If in doubt, users should be encouraged to write and save their posts in a simple text editing application and then copy and pasting into the forum when they are online.
8] URLs

    Again, too long URLs if left as is can break and break the forum. To shorten URLs, copy the actual URL into a URL tag, e.g.
    Code: Select all
    [url=http://www.example.com][b]The name of the domain[/b][/url]

    which will look like this;

    The name of the domain.

    Unlike quote tag it does not create a space after it.
9] Book, Movie & Websites forum

    To lay out recommended books etc.
    Code: Select all
    Book :[list]• [b][url=http://www.example.com/]The Name of the book[/url] by the author[/b][/list]
    A personal review about the book and it relevance to BK life.

    which will look like this;

    Book :

    A personal review about the book and it relevance to BK life.
10] Use of List and Bold tags
    Sometimes posts can be made much more clear my creating a list of items;
    Code: Select all
    How to make a list:

    [list]1. First item
    2. Second item.
    3. Third item.
    4. Another item. [/list]
    The message contines afterwards ...

    which would look like this;

    How to make a list:

      1. First item
      2. Second item.
      3. Third item.
      4. Another item.
    The message contines afterwards ...

    or adding bold formatting to draw emphasis, like so;
    Code: Select all
    adding [b]bold[/b] formatting to draw emphasis

    Not every contributor appreciates this but it is acceptable within reason.
11] Membership management

    New memberships require screening to discover whether they are genuine or merely a spammer attempting to abuse the forum. Generally these "membership spammers" want to promote pornographic sites and are often "bots" or automated software designed to spread links. Any such details are removed immediately they are discovered.

    Spammers can generally be identified by searching for either their email or website in Google but be warned, most sites are XXX pornography.
12] Moving topics

    When moving topics DO NOT leave a shadow in the old forum. There is a tick box to do so which should be unticked. Suggest discussing the move in the forum before doing so.
Demo forum

If you wish to experiment and learn more, there is a trial forum with full access; here. Please request access.[/list]

Moderator mistakes

It takes time, experience and experimentation to learn the skills of moderatorship which we allow. If any individual feels that their post has been moved, removed or edited unfairly, please contact the moderator or Forum Administrator in the first place to discuss the matter or leave a note in the Admin forum.
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admin

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[Admin] User Management

Post20 May 2007

New User Management.

Unfortunately, there is a high amount of "membership spam" created by individuals or automotic 'bots' attempting to join phpBB forums in order to fill them with unsolicited Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE), or "spam". These are selling everything from pharmacy to pornography. Due to this Forum membership has to be done manually. The process is as follows;

1] New Account Notification

Either the Forum Admin address will receive an email stating;
Hello,

The account owned by "example" has been deactivated or newly created, you should check the details of this user (if required) and activate it using the following link:

http://www.brahmakumaris.info/...

Or go to the 'Members' link above and view the members' list in reverse order to see the newest members.

2] User Management

Onced logged in, go to the Admin control panel, then on the left hand side find User Admin section.

There are now two different ways to manage users. If you knw the user name, you can go to User Management'. . If you are logged in as an Admin rather than a moderator, you can also use 'User list'.

3] Processing membership

Once you have gone to the new user's profile management page, at the bottom you will see "Special admin-only fields" with links for;

    User is active: Yes No
    Is allowed to upload pictures: Yes No
    Can send Private Messages: Yes No
    Can display avatar: Yes No
    Rank Title
    Delete this user?
a) If the user HAS given which Usergroup they wish to join in their membership application, e.g. BK, ex-BK, PBK etc then selected it in 'Rank Title'. Tick 'Yes' to all other options and 'Submit'.
b) If the user HAS NOT given which Usergroup they wish to join in their membership application then contact them via email and request it.

Once you have received from the new member which Usergroup they wish to join, follow option 'a' above. The purpose of this is only to provide the group title as seen below the Author name and avatar on forum posts to indicate to other forum users which group their belong to.

4] Group membership.

The new user now has to be assigned to their chosen group. To do so, follow the link for 'Groups' at the top of the page. Chose which group they wish to belong to, e.g. BK, ex-BK, PBK etc, add their username at the bottom and 'Submit'

The purpose of this is to allow a certain amount of control, or 'permissions', over which users are allowed to use which forums, e.g. Youth forum. Initially, on xBKChat, there were problems with some BKs or PBKs "flooding" or "flame warring" on the forum and so a system was enabled that allowed complete control over forum access to immediately dowse any "flames" or stop any domination. Thankfully this has not been necessary.

New user membership is now complete. Please send the new user a "Welcome email", an example is given, here, in the Admin section.

5] Fake or Spamming members

Spam memberships have to be dealt with manually. The forum will recieve 3 or 4 times as many fake spam membership applications than genuine ones. In general, these are very easy to spot. Indicators will be;

    a Russian (.ru) email address,
    an IRC address,
    under 'Profile' for "Location ... Group ... Philosophy" instead of BK related connections they will list; Pharmacy, web, golf, sport, driver, sex etc,
    a URL/domain name that is clearly poronographic.
    a name that involves an unusual mixture of lower and uppercases, e.g. "TordEforb", "estercrenshawXX" or "linnHalss"
Where it is not entirely clear, a quick Google for the username or IP address will usually discover many hundreds of similar memberships or spam complaints on other forums.

At the bottom of the 'User Profile' page, prepare to;

    "Delete this user? Click here to delete this user; this cannot be undone."
But before doing so, ban the user and IP address. See below.

6] Ban Control

In the 'User Admin' section, click on the link for Ban Control.

    a) add spammer's name and submit.
    b) return to Ban Control
    c) add spammers IP, email address etc, and submit.
Generally these individuals, or bots, use fake addresses, compromised or hacked proxy servers and, as with all spam fighting, is an endless war. Thank Gorbachev for the fall of the Iron Curtain and Bill Gates for an immorally insecure Windows Operating System which allows these individuals to endlessly spread their rubbish across the internet.

That is 'User management' now complete.

7] User maintenance and notes

Although most users are honest, it is necessary to be conscious of new contributors in the first place. There are obvious politics between different parties, e.g. BK, PBK and Vishnu Party and members might misrepresent themselves. Group membership can be changed for them. New members might need some help with formatting and finding their way around the forum.

    a) If a user changes their username, email address or password, or forgets password, the Admin will receive a notification and the user will have to be reactivated again.
    b) It is possible for moderators or admins to change or provide an 'avatar' graphic icon for each user or any other detail, e.g. spelling errors in Profile details.
    c) It is possible for an Admin to subscribe or invite a new user entirely on their behalf via 'Register User'.
    d) It is possible to control either individual user, usergroup or forum access via "Management" and "Permission" control panels. These are messy and complicated systems that can conflict with each other and so should be used, or explored, with care. Always note where you started in case you have to revert any changes you made. From time to time a user might note an inability to post in a certain forum. This is generally best fixed on a user to user basis in; 'User Admin' then 'Permissions'.
8] As a matter of form, keep all user names lower case.

9] User ranks

Due to the limitations of the software, the "user ranks" seen below account names by posts have to be manually set by moderators. They are not titles, nor do not confer status.

Users are requested to suggest which applies to them when they join and request new ones later where appropriate. Their purpose is to assist non-BKs readings the forum to as to from which point of view the author is writing. User ranks are approximate, often points of view change.

Ultimately, because of willful misrespresentation in the past, the final decision rests with the moderators.

Current ranks include;

    Media and academic
    BK
    BK & ex-PBK
    BK supporter
    BKWSU
    Floundering BK
    Friends and family of
    Lay BK
    Not sure
    PBK
    Questioning PBK
    Post BK
    Questioning BK
    Reforming BK
    Satish Group
    Site Admin
    Spiritual seeker
    Surrendered BK
    Suspended
    Vishnu Party
    ex-BK
    ex-BKWSU
    ex-BK married to BK
    ex-PBK
    ex-Vishnu Party
    exiting BK
    non-BK
    veteran BK
    working towards unification
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admin

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New Group

Post16 Dec 2007

By request, we have introduce a new group or title;

    Working towards unification
Forum members are current discussing the use of titles on the forum at the "Shall we drop all titles ?".

The present list, created by requests or necessity is;
    Academic
    BK
    BKWSU
    ex-BK
    ex-BKWSU
    ex-PBK
    Floundering BK
    Friends and family of
    Lay BK
    non-BK
    Not sure
    PBK
    Reforming BK
    Satish Group
    Suspended
    Vishnu Party
    Site Admin
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ms orange

BK Academic

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Re: New Group

Post10 Mar 2008

I would certainly support dropping all titles. Invariably as soon as someone classifies themselves, or others as one of the aforementioned 'types', a whole bundle of presumptions are made. I think it could promote broader and deeper discussion with users not using any titles. Yes ... great idea.
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admin

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Re: New Group

Post12 Mar 2008

On the basis of a 50%, 45%, 5% voting split, the decision was to leave it to individual choice,

"Any member wishing to have the title under their user name changed or removed, please do so in your 'Profile'.

If this does not work, or there is not the correct titles, then please contact an Admin or moderator to do so; info@brahmakumaris.info"

Thank you

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