Forum administration Reports is where administrators can see all activity that has been reported by forum members.
For each topic or reply that is reported, the administrator can View Post or Delete Report. When a report is made, if you have report notifications turned on (see Settings – Reports) the administrator will receive a notification that the report has been made.
Whether a topic or reply is acceptable or not should be governed by some kind of rules of conduct or guidelines in the forum that are published so that determination and member feedback can be made with specific reference. See our suggestions for Rules Of Conduct. If it has been determined that a topic or reply complies with the forum rules of conduct or guidelines, the administrator can simply delete the report.
It is important to note that there are some best practices concerning the reporting of behavior that is deemed unfavorable or an issue by another member.
- Never delete a topic or reply, with qualification that under very severe circumstances deleting a topic or reply could be warranted. Severe circumstances are something the administrator will have to determine and can be subjective but usually include security, racism, harassment of any kind or legal violation that puts members or the forum at risk.
- Forms of abusive or offensive language, strong emotions or opinions (i.e. personal attacks) or other behavior considered bad do not likely fall in the category of a severe circumstance. In these cases, the offensive or unacceptable part of the topic or reply should be edited-out by either replacing the letters or words with ***‘s or if an entire sentence or paragraph they should be replaced with [this section removed by administrator].
- Decision that a topic or reply complies or mostly complies with the forum rules of conduct or guidelines.
- If the topic or reply fully complies, privately communicate to the member who reported the potential issue that there was no problem found.
- If the topic or reply mostly complies, privately communicate to the member who wrote the topic or reply that a portion or section of what they wrote has been replaced by ***‘s or [this section removed by administrator] and ask that they refrain from doing this in the future and that repeated valid reports could result in their removal from the forum.
- Decision that a topic or reply does not comply with the forum rules of conduct or guidelines.
- Privately communicate
- Warnings and removal from the forum. We are all human and consequently we can and will make mistakes. Using a US Baseball concept where the batter is “out” after 3 strikes, consider the following:
- First offense, in full or in part, Strike 1. Warning and explanation of the specific behavior and request to not repeat it.
- Second offense, in full or in part, Strike 2. Stern warning and explanation of the specific behavior and communication that the next warning will result in a temporary or permanent removal from the forum.
- Third offense, in full or in part, Strike 3 and now “out”. Communication that a temporary or permanent removal has been placed with explanation of the specific behavior and also citing the first and second warnings. If temporary, also explain that this will be a “cooling off period” and for how long. In the case of temporary, be sure to unblock the user after the cooling off period and let them know they have been re-instated but that anything they do that does not fully comply with rules of conduct or guidelines will result in permanent removal.