Moderation of DNA Community Sites and Messageboards
Welcome to the guidelines for moderation, where you can find answers to questions about the moderation process applied across all of the DNA community sites.
Contents of this Section
What is moderation?
Moderation systems are used on messageboards and other community applications to ensure that illegal, rule breaking or otherwise offensive material isn't published on the BBC servers.
What moderation is not is a censorship system that's designed to prevent people from saying what they want to say, its just there to prevent material appearing that breaks the House Rules
There are three main types of moderation. The type of moderation policy that is applied within any community depends on the subject matter being discussed, and the nature and demographics of the audience and community members. For instance, childrens' communities are often pre-moderated, for safety reasons, whereas a more well established adult centred community might be reactively moderated. Here's a brief explanation of the three types of moderation systems used at the BBC:
All of the BBC messageboards and communities aimed at teenagers and children are pre-moderated. This means that when anyone posts, their message will not go live and be read by others in the community until a moderator has read and approved the content of the posting. Some other subject areas may be pre-moderated as well, particularly if the subject matter is particularly sensitive or emotive.
It is possible to put a whole DNA site or messageboard into pre-moderation, so that everyone is effectively pre-moderated. This is rarely used, and then only in extreme circumstances.
When a site is post moderated all content created by community members is looked at by a Moderator. All of the content is instantly visible when it is posted, but at the same time it is added to the moderation queue. The Moderators work through the queue 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and aim to read every piece of new content within an hour of it being posted.
When a site is reactively moderated the Moderators only look at content that community members and readers of the site have alerted them to by using the complaints button. DNA contains a complaints system that has been specifically designed with a reactively moderated community in mind, which enables the community members to alert the moderators and site hosts to unsuitable content.
As any community takes on more and more of the mantle of responsibility for developing itself, it will hopefully move towards reactive moderation and self-policing. Community members generally prefer to be reactively moderated than moderated, because it enables members of the community to uphold their own communities' conventions and ethics; by asking other people not to swear on site, not to be nasty to others, and so on. Reactively moderated communities have a lot of trust placed in the members, since they are responsible for making sure their area doesn't contain illegal content (such as defamatory or copyright material).
In a reactively moderated community it is important that members try not to be over-protective about moderating the site, they should just enjoy posting as usual, but be aware that they are now helping the BBC to be responsible for the content. We don't want vigilante moderation police groups to form and patrol the site, that shouldn't ever be necessary. We'd just like you, the members, in reactive communities to take care of their own areas, a bit like a neighbourhood watch scheme.
How does moderation work?
If your content doesn't break any of the House Rules, then you won't even notice the Moderators. However, if you see a moderation message on one of your articles or Postings then it has either failed moderation, or has been referred by a Moderator to the in-house team for a decision. (as described below). The message will tell you more.
How does moderation affect Members?
If you are the sort of person who abides by the House Rules, then you won't notice a thing. Your content will appear straight away, and when the Moderators read it, they will leave it alone. The vast majority of Postings and articles are absolutely fine.
However, if a Moderator sees something that potentially breaks the House Rules, they will have to do something about it; the steps they will take are outlined below in the next section.
The House Rules are effectively our guide to online etiquette, and sit alongside the site's legal Terms and Conditions as part of the agreement all Members sign on registering. Please make sure you read them both before contributing to any of the sites.
What do the Moderators do with content that breaks the House Rules?
For every piece of content seen by the Moderators, they will do one of the following:
What happens to non-English content?
As the Moderators' first language is English, they cannot necessarily understand content that is not in English, and therefore whether it breaks the House Rules. We therefore ask you to contribute in English only. Please note that some sites may have been able to make special provisions to enable non-English Postings within their community, please refer to local House Rules.
How does the complaints button work?
The complaint buttons and links1 enable readers to flag content that breaks the House Rules Complaining doesn't immediately remove the content from the board, otherwise it would be very easy to abuse this system by complaining about lots of posts to deliberately disrupt; all is does is flag this content for the immediate attention of the Moderators, so that the moderators can react to complaints promptly.
Only content that breaks the House Rules will be removed, and the same rules will be applied to complaints as to normal content undergoing moderation.
Can an individual Account be set to pre-moderation?
If a Member breaks the House Rules seriously enough for the Hosts to be considering a suspension of their account, the Hosts may put that Member's Account into 'pre-moderation' instead of suspending them.
This means that everything they contribute to the site has to be approved by a Moderator before it appears on site; in the meantime, suitable messages are displayed instead of their Postings or articles.
The Moderation of Nicknames
Adopting an inappropriate Nickname is not allowed, and if you do pick a Nickname that isn't acceptable, we will fail it. All House Rules also apply to nicknames, so names that are vulgar, harassing, offensive, racist etc. are not acceptable.
Please don't impersonate others. Members are not allowed to impersonate other members of the public or public figures by adopting an identical name, or by claiming to be that person in the content they post.
Please note that we do not allow URLs, personal contact details, or email addresses to be included in Nicknames.
You are allowed to use 250 characters in your membername. However, please ensure that longer names include character breaks, if it is one long, continuous name without breaks, ie. 'The_man_in_the_moon_came_down_too_soon_with_a_balloon' your name may be failed, because it is distorting the appearance of the messageboard.
Your nickname may be reverted to your user number if you open new accounts in order to get around the premoderation or banning of one of your message board accounts.
Please do not include spoilers in your Nickname. Spoilers are comments that unnecessarily give away the plot of a narrative e.g. of a film or book.