This is a guide I put together for the moderators on my site who wanted to get to grips with the software. A bit long winded but with lots of images (one of my mods isn't first language English and there's a lot of text as well, so it helps).
Anyway, I hope it's useful to any other forum owners out there, anyone can copy and reproduce it with no worries.
As a moderator for this site you will probably have a number of different roles to perform, one will be as one of the more active forum members but most will be things which normal members can 't do to help the site. You have the ability to stick threads, to moderate content, to use the spam cleaner, to warn members and many other things which can appear daunting or difficult at first. Hopefully this guide will be helpful in teaching the basics of how to perform certain functions using Xenforo (the forum software we run).
There are two main systems that are essential to the job of a moderator on Xenforo, one is the warning system and the other is the report system which I will focus on first. These two systems make it possible to police the site efficiently and keep track of events which are happening and have occurred, all moderator actions are logged and warnings and reports are tracked automatically which is useful to myself and to you as moderators.
The Report System:
Every member has the ability to report posts when they feel that they are inappropriate, the report link can be found on the bottom of the post. For example a user may choose to report this post:
Once they press the button they are prompted to insert a reason for the report and then once they've done that it'll show up in the report centre, however you don't have to check the report centre constantly because as you will see you now have two moderation options in your top bar that will display how many posts are in the report centre or in the moderation queue. If an alert pops up click on it and you will be taken the Report Centre which looks like this:
As you can see there is one report in the Report Centre and that is the post that I've just made and reported. The comments number shows how many people have reported or commented (more on that in a sec) on the reported item. Since you'll be wanting to deal with it as soon as possible the next step is to click on the title and you'll be taken to the report page for that item which will look something like this:
As you can see on this page you get a whole host of information and the ability to do number of things. First you can see the reported content at the top of the page, along with the content creator and the forum that the content was made in. You also have a comment box, in this box you can comment on the content, so for example if one mod isn't sure what punishment to give (more in the warnings section later) then other mods are able to suggest what is appropriate or if you have additional information, such as having talked to the person about this previously than you could add that to the conversation. And below the comment box is the actual comments that have been made, it also includes the comments made when the post was reported and any comments from additional times that content has been reported. So if 4 people have reported it all 4 reports will show up in that one stream.
The most important box is the Report Info box which can be found to the right hand side of the screen. In this box is a little bit of information but also you'll notice two things, one tells you the status of the report, so whether it is open, rejected or resolved but also available is an option which says 'Claim & Handle Report' but this is only available if no one else has claimed the report. If you feel capable of dealing with the content you have seen then feel free to press this button and then that reported content becomes your responsibility. Once you have clicked it the page will fresh and offer you a few more options which will look like this:
Since the report is now your responsibility you will notice that the status has changed to 'Assigned', which means that someone has claimed the report but have not made any actions yet, or are in the process of actions. Next you must deal with the content (that's the next section, so we're going to skip a bit) and once you've dealt with the content you need to go back to the report centre and change the status of the report. If you have resolved the issue simply change the selection to resolved, type in the action you took to resolve in in the relevant area and press 'Update Report', this will then close the report for all, and the situation will be over. However if you felt no action needed to be taken you can do the same for the 'Rejected' option which will also close the report for all. The final option is the 'Open' option, only use this when you aren't sure what action to take and would prefer another mod to take over as effectively it unclaims the report and makes it claimable again.
This is the most contentious part of the work you will have to do on the forum, the decisions you make have the ability to either improve the harmony of a forum or create a negative atmosphere and potentially alienate members. However we've tried to make this process as easy as possible.
Now lets say you've claimed a report and gone to the offending content, you've found that the content is awful and needs to be deleted. You've now got two options, you can either delete the content immediately or you can punish (warn) the user and then delete the content (which is what what we recommend). Simply deleting the content is very easy and once you've pressed the delete button you'll get a pop up which looks like this:
From here you select the 'Remove from public view' option or the 'Permanently Delete' option and then press delete posts. On some forums moderators may not be allow to 'Permanently Delete' posts, in this case just remove the post from public view and enter a reason for why you've taken that action. Then press delete post and you're done, that post is gone so no site members can see it.
However sometimes this option isn't enough. If content has broken the site rules you need to warn (which is punishing) a member on the forum. To do this click on the warn button at the bottom of a post (you will not be able to warn fellow moderators, if you have a problem with their content then report it and an admin will deal with it) and you'll be taken to a new page with a number of options:
As you can see this page gives you a number of options, first of all you can choose the warning type, we've included a number of preset warnings which cover most issues which will probably occur on the forum. These warnings correspond to the number of warning points given and when those points expire. Normally a small issue will be dealt with with a small number of points and bigger things will trigger larger points. If someone has committed breaking of the rules multiple times then you should increase the number of points accordingly. However if you feel someone has only committed a minor offence then you can put the points down to zero and it will act as an official warning not to do that again with no lasting consequences which is a good option for new players or people who may be first time offenders and simply got caught up in a controversial thread. You can also give a custom warning for something not covered by the default warning types.
As certain points levels, which are determined by the admins users will be automatically banned for certain periods of times. Points are accumulative which means that if people get multiple warnings the points from these will add up and bans may become automatically longer or larger. However once the points reach their expiry date they will no longer add to the users total points. On this page you can also add a note for other moderators to look at, this is optional but can be used to justify why you gave that warning. For example, if you increased the standard number of points then you might want to explain that this was because they had committed the same offence the day before.
You also have other options when warning a member, for example all members are notified when they are warned and you can edit the notification they receive on the 'Member Notification' tab which looks like this:
Because we have given him a standard warning type a message has been automatically generated, however if you have edited the warning or created a custom warning you will need to add in those details to the message before sending out the warning.
You also have a final set of options that must be completed before sending out the warning, and these are to do with dealing with the content and can be found the 'Content Action' tab which looks something like this:
It is defaulted to the 'Do Nothing' option, which as it suggests would issue the warning but leave the content itself completely untouched. 'Delete the content' option has the same consequences as usual and hides the content from the public with a reason for why for other moderators. Your final option is the 'Post a Public Warning' option which allows you to issue a warning to the content creator but to display above the post a message to the public, this is particularly good for crowd control in threads that are spirally out of control or growing at a quick rate.
Once you've done all the options above, actions on all three tabs must be completed before you press the 'Warn Member' button.
Sometimes before you give a warning you should look to check if that user has any previous warnings which need to be taken into account, this can be seen in a new section on the user profile, which will look something like this:
This gives a quick overview of the warnings that user has received, including the date, points issued, warning type and expiry. If you need to see more details you can simply press the 'View' button and that'll pull up a lot more information.
And That's the basics of dealing with content and issuing warnings.