Moderator In Training General guidelines
As part of the SCF team you are asked to keep a professional presence to the public. We are leaders of the pack amongst other trading websites and do NOT want to give the enemies fuel for the fire. Things like cussing out other members, and posting questionable content will be tickets out the door from our staff team. A good rule that has been established here is if you have to question it, don’t post it.
Now some of you may be asking what do you want me to do on the site. The willingness to help is a great start I personally can’t thank each and every one of the staff enough for their time put in so far. But a few guidelines that I can tell you as starters include the following for each position.
Advisers #1)Watch out for flame wars/spam and other posts that may need to be closed down in your area. #2)Be prompt in answering or referring a question from someone. If you are unsure of the answer send it up to the assistant in that forum or the forum leader. If the chain needs to go higher then that it would then be sent to meuandthelot as senior mod of member relations. #3)Assist others in your team if they ask for help. It is important to hold our structure together at every level.
Mod in training #1)Read all guides. It is a good foundation for you to start your quest in becoming part of the staff. #2a)Take part in a couple of trade disputes #2b)Help greet new members and assist if need be.
Promotion from Mod in training(MIT)
This is a process that could take a few days, or it could take a few weeks. A lot depends on how well you are able to handle all parts of the website. We here at SCF believe that our staff is capable of handling all daily jobs on the website even though they may not be able to asked to do these jobs. Depending on what group and team leader you are working with, you will stay as a MIT somewhere in the range of 30-60 days. At this time enigma_shadow along with a team leader in the area you would like to join will evaluate your time as a MIT and decide on the chance for your promotion. Please keep in mind that not all people are going to be promoted to a MIT or to an area of your choice. We have a lot of other areas that will be opening up and we may ask you to start in a different spot for the time being.
Using Thread Tools
Certain threads may require you to change their permissions. Things like sticking them at the top/unsticking them are not going to be common for a mod in training. There could be things like editing a thread/thread title or closing a thread down due to flaming. Here is what you need to do when editing thread permissions.
When opening up a thread, you will have a new set of permissions on the top right side of your screen called “Thread tools”. This is located just above the first reply and next to the “Search this Thread” option. These thread tools can also be found just below the last reply by a person but above the quick reply. This is on the right side of your screen.
If you click on the “Thread tools” drop down you will see the various options that are all self explanatory. The first four options under thread tools are things that will not be used. You need need to start on “Moderation Tools”. Two options that you may not know are “Merge Threads” and “Remove redirects”. Everything else is as they describe.
Merging threads will put two threads together into one thread. This is something that most people will not use. The second option is “Remove Redirects”. This option will take off the links that occur when you move a thread from one forum to another. You will see these threads that have a link but when you click on it, it places you in another forum where the thread is located.
That’s what you need to do for thread tools. If you have any questions please speak to your team managers for assistance.
Banning/Suspending a member
If you are working on the boards and happen to find a member who needs to be banned or suspended for spamming/flaming or just causing too many problems, here is what you need to do.
Access their profile by searching their name in the member base or view profile through one of their posts. Once you arrive in their profile please look under the box that says “Forum Info” it is located on the left side of the screen and contains things like join date, number of posts, feedback etc…. In this section there is a link that has “User Notes”. Please click post user note and title it banned/suspended on 99/99/9999(the days date) and in the description put down the why the punishment was issued. You should look to include any possible links of controversy, PM language that was used and any dates of importance. To post the user note in their profile you can click on “Submit note”. The note is posted and you are redirected back to the user’s profile.
Now it’s time to actually take action on the account. Please find the text that says “User Options”. This link is just below the last activity date. Your next window will bring you to a log in screen into vBulletin. This log in information is going to be just like logging into your account here on SCF.
Your next page will be looking at the profile of this person through VB. What you need to do is copy the user name down exactly as it’s shown in the profile.
After you copy the name of the person look at the left side of your screen. There are a bunch of small boxes on the left side of your screen, it almost looks like a second window has been put in over there. If you scroll down about half way you will see a box with drop down options. This box is called “Users”. Click on the “Users” box and then click on the option that says “Ban User”.
In the new window that loads up, paste the user name that you copied in from the profile. The next option is whether you want to ban or suspend the user. A ban is used on SCF as a permanent ban from the site. If you are to only remove the user a few days from the website, please choose suspend. The following drop down option is the length of the ban/suspension. Please choose accordingly to fit the punishment. Last but not least is the reason to show user. It is a must to put down why the user is being banned/suspended from SCF If it’s a spammer you can put down spammer. If it’s for bad trades, please put down bad trader.
Confirm the punishment and then reload the home page of www.sportscardforum.com spoodini has a thread started for all members to post why a member was banned/suspended. Please click into the adviser lounge and find the thread that is titled something along the lines of “I banned _______ today”. Just put down who this member was and why so we know what to say when somebody is asking about the status of that member.
That’s it. You have just banned or suspended somebody on SCF. If you have any questions on this, don’t be afraid to ask your team managers on what you may need to do. If we can all follow this policy together it will keep all necessary information together in case there is need to research it later.
How to work on disputes
Working on disputes is not the most glorious part of moderating a sports card forum. You will have to deal with angry, upset, or desperate members who may lie to you. But it’s a key part of the forum and it needs serious attention.
What’s our goal? Our first interest is to make sure both members involved in a trade receive what they are entitled to receive. Also, we try to find repeat offenders and take corrective and preventive measures to make sure the site becomes safer.
How to start on a dispute? Take the oldest dispute that’s not assigned to a staff member and assign it to your name (go to the bottom of the dispute and you will find a drop down menu where you select your name to assign it to you). Then post in the dispute a message to the starter of the dispute to find out why he put it in dispute. Also ask what he/she has done so far to resolve the issue him/herself. Our goal is to get every dispute assigned and responded to within 24 hours! Be aware that everything posted in the dispute can only be seen by the staff and the starter of the dispute!
The dispute starter will normally answer pretty fast and explain what happened (or didn’t happen).
80 to 90% of disputes are for trades that are not completed by one of the members. More about this later. The other 10 to 20% are erroneous where one of the trade partners clicked “put trade in dispute” by accident. This situation can be easily resolved by resetting the trade to or “awaiting” or “completed” thru Modcp.
If the dispute is for an incomplete trade, you will start by doing the following: Click on the link for the actual trade to see what the deal was for and who both traders are. Click on both trader names to check out their profile: is one of them already banned or suspended, have you seen one of the names pop up before in other disputes or in the advisor forum, what are their feedback numbers, when were they last online, and are there any user notes. Based on these findings you can set up a strategy:
- A – if the non-sending member is still active on SCF, send him a PM and/or email (you can send an email by going to the profile of the non-sending member or, if that member has set the email option to “not receiving emails” you can find the email address thru Modcp) telling him/her that you received a dispute against him/her and asking them “IF and WHEN they did send and to show some proof of sending (like a PO receipt or a DC number) if they already have sent”.
- B – if the non-sending member hasn’t been online for quite a while (check non-sender’s profile and see what the last time they were online), please use the email only. Chances are better that they will read an email.
- C – if the dispute starter has paid thru Paypal and hasn’t received anything, please advise them to start a Paypal dispute right away! The Paypal dispute can be raised to a claim later if the other member doesn’t respond. This is the best way to get people that are slow senders to get going! And if they don’t respond to Paypal, there’s a good chance Paypal will try to get their money back. Make the buyer aware of the following deadlines Paypal has: 45 days from day of Payment to file a dispute and 20 days after filing a dispute to raise it to a claim.
- D – if the non-sending member has already been banned or suspended, please provide the dispute starter with all the info we have, including full name, address, and phone number. Chances are that this is a repeat offender (scammer). Ask the dispute starter to start calling. Also, get the Bad Trader manager involved (Spoodini) and try to come up with a plan to help all “victims” at once: provide links to file Mail Fraud, provide names of other victims so they can combine efforts with local PD’s (start a thread on the main forum under Chit Chat like “To everyone ripped off by ……..”). Combined efforts have a much better chance of actually being looked at by local PD’s than single complaints. A link to a tool to find all the trades one member has: http://www.sportscardforum.com/modcp/trade.php Enter the traders name and you’ll find all trades he has done so far and in what status they are.
- E – if the dispute starter is the seller or had the other member send first (both cases the dispute starter is not out of anything), please send a PM and/or email to the non-sending member (like -A- and -B-). The upside of these disputes is that the loss of the dispute starter is limited to missed opportunities to sell to others. You will find a lot of situations where the buyer comes up with all kinds of excuses, basically wanting to cancel the deal. This is against forum rules, but we cannot make them send. So a neutral (sometimes even a negative) has to be left for the non-sending party. Please advise the dispute starter to do so.
- F – if the dispute starter asks you to cancel a trade or sale, please do not follow this blindly! You will have to contact his/her trade partner to get confirmation on the cancelation. If the agree you can go to the actual trade and hit “Cancel Trade” inside the trade options in the right upper corner (dropdown menu where you normally complete, confirm trades).
You get a response When you get the response from the non-sending member, please copy and post this response into the dispute. You can’t imagine what answers you can get, so your follow up depends on the answer. One thing: our goal is to get the dispute starter what he/she is entitled to get! If you think corrective measures are needed based on the answer, please see below.
What to do if non-sender is not responsive? If you have sent a PM or Email to the non-sending member and you do not get a response, please check if they have been online since the time you sent the PM. If they have and didn’t respond, please send another PM or Email with a harsher tone. Warn them that not responding can have serious consequences. If you had only send a PM and they have not been online since, please send an email.
If still no response, you have the following options: – apply infractions points / warnings – apply a Must Send First Tag. This tool works very well against active members that give you the run-around or do not respond. They hate the tag and want to get rid of it ASAP. Tags must be requested thru Rick (Turd Ferguson) or Jay (pr0phet) with reason for the tag. This is standard procedure if you have received a second (open) dispute against the non-sender. – suspend. Please suspend the member if they are totally uncooperative, haven’t been online for a long time, and you’re not getting anywhere. You can suspend members by going to Modcp, finding their profile, and hitting “Ban Profile,” but please select “Suspend” instead of “Ban”. List the reason “Suspended until trade(s) with ….. is/are completed”. Please discuss this with Kevin (Spoodini) or me (Hendrikus1967) or any senior staff member before you suspend. – ban. The final resolution. For repeat offenders, scammers, etc.
Please discuss this with Kevin (Spoodini) or me (Hendrikus1967) or any senior staff member before you apply the ban. Also….when this non-sending member has several unfinished trades outstanding, please wait with a ban until you can inform his other trade partners or have at least most trades finished. Meanwhile, have a MSF tag applied right away! Damage control is of the highest importance!!
These tools are listed in order of severity and can be applied in this order or separately. Use your experience (on SCF and in daily life) and use the tools provided to achieve the best result.
I sent the package days ago! This is a common response by non-senders to your initial PM or Email. I do not put too much weight to this response until they can show me a scan of a PO receipt (the PO receipt lists date, ZIPcode and Town), a DC number, a Money Order stub or a Paypal Confirmation Receipt of Payment. Just like Ebay, you will have to show proof that you actually shipped out or paid! Put your money where your mouth is or shut up! If they can’t show any of the ones listed above, do not automatically accept it! But please keep feedback ratings in mind as well. It’s very unlikely that a trader with 500 feedback does not send out! And USPS does lose packages!
Sender showed proof but receiver never got anything Tough situation! Like mentioned before, packages do get lost. It will take quite some people skills to make both parties happy. Try to get both parties to agree to a middle of the road deal. Both take half of the loss, if possible. Send replacements. This would be ideal but will not be obtainable often.
Closing a dispute Hopefully your actions paid off and the non-sender sent out and everyone is happy! Or maybe there’s nothing more you can do. You gave the “victim” all the info you had, supplied him with links to file charges, etc etc, but no results. Nonetheless, there’s a time to say goodbye to the dispute. To close, go to the bottom of the dispute and click “Close this dispute” Plus….you will have to reset the trade. It will stay “In Dispute” forever otherwise. By resetting the trade you will give parties the chance to normally close out the trade and leave feedback. Go to the actual trade by clicking on the link at the top of the dispute, and then go to the “Trade actions” drop down menu and select ModCP. It will take you to the actual trade in Modcp and you will be able to reset the trade to “Awaiting” (both parties will have to confirm again).
General notes. – Generally, we do not start on disputes unless the trade is 14 days old. There are some exceptions, like Paypal payments, which do not take 14 days to be received. – Please explain that it sometimes takes USPS a bit to deliver packages. I’ve seen them up to 3 weeks. The package still might be coming! – Online trading always involves risks. Please let parties know this! – Record all relevant info for future purposes in the user notes (click on the profile and add a note), especially for the non-senders. This helps out in the future when tougher decisions have to be made. Always explain why you applied one or the other corrective measurement. – Only take actual disputes thru the Trade Manager. If you get a PM or email about a deal gone south, ask them to put the trade in dispute. – We cannot take disputes to trades that didn’t run through the trade manager. – Follow up frequently. Let the dispute starter know after a few days what the status is, even if you have not received a response. Or ask the dispute starter for an update. You’ll be surprised how many times they have received in the meantime but “forgot” to tell you!
Summary – Always try to get a trade completed before you take corrective measures. A banned member will probably never send while a suspended or tagged member might. – Always be polite. The first messages should be friendly and without prejudice. Obtaining all info is the first goal. – Play “Good cop – Bad cop”. Play on a non-sending member’s good side first (“You have been an outstanding member so far”, “I assume it’s all an oversight”, “Please let this one little mistake not affect your good rep here” etc etc). Harsher words and threats with tags, suspensions or bans can be used later. – You represent SCF so please be professional in your words of choice.
For the new Managers-in-Training Kevin, Jay, Tony and I will look at several things during the time you are in training. When it comes to doing disputes we will look at how well you integrated these guidelines listed above in your approach of the disputes. We will also ask MIT’s to carbon copy Kevin (Spoodini) or Henri (hendrikus1967) on all PM’s and/or emails sent to trade partners and to forward all responses received while working on disputes to the two people listed before. We will look at these pieces of correspondence to see how well you are able to handle disputes.