Web standards and guidelines


  1. Moderators enforce the rules of participation in a discussion by removing contributions and users that break the moderation policy. They require an understanding of what makes statements potentially libelous, false, or defamatory and an ability to make judgments on content that is borderline. The SRO should ensure that there is sufficient training in place for moderators to operate effectively.
  2. Moderators should work with a profanity list which is updated if an unknown and unacceptable word is submitted by a user. A word’s context ultimately determines its acceptability and the list should be used as a guide rather than being definitive. For example, the use of sexually-derived words on a social network discussing contraception may accept the use of a word in one context and reject it in another.
  3. Moderation decisions must be transparent as a user may not know nor understand why their contribution has been removed.
    • If a contribution, excluding spam, is not published on a pre-moderated site, the user should be emailed with a reason why their content has not been published.
    • If a contribution is removed from a post-moderated or a reactively moderated site, leave the timestamp and a comment with the reason for removal. Then users know that the contribution has been removed officially and it is not a system error. Sending an email to the user would also clarify what has happened.
    • If a user has been blocked from further contributions they should be told why they have been blocked.
  4. Moderation decisions are editorial decisions and so are subjective. When considering borderline content, Moderators must weigh the value of the freedom of expression against the value of providing readers of the discussion with a safe environment in which to express their contributions.
    Moderators should follow the escalation process if they cannot decide if a contribution is acceptable. Users should be invited to follow the appeal process if they disagree with a moderator’s decision.

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