From Freegle Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Starting with Modtools

You can use ModTools from any browser, e.g. Chrome, Edge or Firefox. If you don't have a preference, use Chrome.

If you're using a phone/tablet, then you should get the ModTools app from the Play Store or iTunes. That will work best, and you'll get notifications when there's stuff to do.

Or do both.

Getting Set Up

First things first - set up ModTools for you and your community. Select Settings from the left hand menu bar.

You will see 4 tabs/sections for this:

  • Personal - these are ModTools settings just for you.
  • Community - choose ModTools settings for each community you are moderating, either as an active moderator or a backup. The button to change you from actively moderating or back up is under Your Settings in this Community section.
    For more information on shortlinks, have a look at Shortlinks. Also How to add a picture to a community home page
  • Standard Messages - these are a range of template messages that you can use for moderating posts and members on your community.

Substitution strings are used on lots of messages; they are a special terminology you can put in standard messages, which ModTools expands more fully before it sends a message. For a full explanation of these, have a look at Substitution Strings.

  • Bulk Operations - this section will have some actions that you can use - watch this space!

You may like to get going with the basic features offered and once you are confident, come back and edit as you gain confidence or things change. It is also a good idea to review these, say, annually to check that everything is still fit for purpose.

Now your Settings are sorted, you are ready to go. ModTools should be self explanatory on each of the sections/pages, but for some more information and ideas, there are other sources/pages that might help - see below (in order of how they appear in the toolbars).


For more information on stats, have a look at Statistics


If you need extra message templates to deal with any member messages, see Sample Messages for ideas. See Postcodes for an explanation of how the website handles postcode and location information in posts.


This is where the messages that need moderating arrive, whether generated on the website, email or via Trash Nothing. The red number shows those for communities where you are lead moderator, the blue for those on which you are back-up moderator. If messages are left for more than 48 hours they will automatically approve. This means a community can survive a glitch of non-moderation, but it shouldn't be relied on - it is important for the messages to be looked at as members and scammers will notice problem posts.
Marking a message as Spam: If a message is spam, you can just mark the message as spam, or also mark the member as a spammer. Under 'other actions', there is a button to report a member as a spammer, but only use this is you are sure the spam message isn't a one off anomaly as the member seems to be a sound freegler usually. A message that is marked as Spam is used, behind the scenes, to train our spam filters, the Delete button just removes the message.


The list of all messages on your community/communities.


Messages that are not subject to moderation might have worry words involved, so these are flagged up here for you to review.


When members edit their approved posts, you can see the edits in this section.


Member Notes gives more information about moderator and system notes on a member's account.


List of all members in your community/communities. See Banning for explanation of banning and unbanning a member. See Trouble unsubscribing for more information about unsubscribing. See Inactive Members for information about members not active for a long time. The list view default is to show all members, but you can select members who are banned, bouncing, who have notes or who are on the moderating team. You can reactivate Bouncing members if you wish.

Member Review

This section flags up members who have unusual freegling behaviour. Information about possible spammer behaviours and present measures can be found here - Spammers.

There is no national rule about how many communities it is reasonable for one person to join, that is up to local discretion. But please don't ban a multijoiner unless you have clear evidence of 'wrongdoing'.

You have the option to ignore the member, they will pop up again if they do something that is concerning on your community or others.

Chat Review

Chats between members which include worry words or might be spam or scams are diverted for moderation. This allows you to review the messages and catch anything that might be a concern. Spammers gives more information about spam detection. Member Chat gives more information about the chat facility.


These are members who have used the same device for different member accounts. You can merge members who you know have ended up with more than one account within Members>Approved section, but this section automatically detects possibles and lets you send an auto message asking if they wish to merge.

We can't merge TN memberships with Freegle ones.


Members are encouraged to submit a story of their freegling experiences. A selection is then sent out in a newsletter to members and as a post on Discourse for volunteers to read.

Stories submitted in your community are subject to your review in Modtools, so inappropriate ones can be declined at this point. The approved stories should be good for publicity purposes and suitable for public view on chitchat, a community page etc. They are then put in a pending list to be voted upon at for selection for publication and then reviewed and compiled into a newsletter by the Stories Team.

If you want to search through published stories, you can do this at


See Feedback for more information about this. Member Ratings also has some information.


We invite members to do some basic moderating tasks to encourage participation and identify possible new volunteers. See Microvolunteering for information about the continuing development of this facility.


Notes that have been added by volunteers for members on your communities, oldest first. Please keep the number and content of notes to an absolute minimum to comply with GDPR requirements.

Misc Moderation


Community event posts for your community can be reviewed here before publication.


Posts asking for Volunteers can be reviewed here before publication.


Facebook posts produced for the Freegle national page are provided here for easy sharing to individual community Facebook pages. If you want to see the full post on the national page, just click the post shown or go to

The most popular post on a group is also offered here daily to share on Facebook. You can choose whether to share it or not. The idea is to get interest from those not currently freegling to go to the website and have a look.


See Admins for some templates you can use for Admin messages for your community. There are three options when composing Admins - Pending, Create and Previous. Write the Admin in Create, send it, it goes to Pending, approve it, a copy goes to Previous for future use. "Call to Action" fields are explained here -


See Spammers for a full explanation of how this spam system works.

Misc Admin


You can see the chronological logs of activity on your community - select your community and then messages or members to see a list. Or you can search for individual messages or members.


See Getting Set Up above for basic information. It is good practice to have a quick look through these on a regular basis to check they are all still fit for purpose.

We have guidelines for deciding on community geographical areas in Community Mapping and Freegle Affiliated Community Area Guidelines. Maps for all groups can be found at


There are various teams and groups of people working nationally to deal with a variety of tasks. You can see who they are and a brief description of what they do this section. If you are interested in volunteering to help with any of these, find out more information about them via the links on Getting Involved. If you wish to volunteer to do any specific piece of work or want to know what you could do, please don't hesitate to email It will be great to hear from you!


This brings you here! If you can't find the help you want on this page or the links provided, ask on Discourse (click 'Us' on the top ModTools menu) to ask your question and/or to ask for more information to be included here.

Log Out

Self explanatory. Probably best to stay logged in, though, to save you having to sign in each time you wish to moderate.

Top Menu

Red/Orange/Green Dot

You will notice that there are different colour 'dots' that appear over the blue home icon at the top left of each page. These dots denote the platform status - just click on them to see what is happening. Green indicates everything is fine, Orange indicates a problem easily resolved, Red indicates a serious problem. If you need to do something about an orange or red dot when you notice it, it will tell you.


This button on the top menu bar takes you to the Discourse website, where you will find all the national discussion groups. See Central Groups for more detail. All volunteers that are registered on Modtools are given automatic access to Discourse.


This button will take you to the Chats section. This is where all the emails can be accessed between you and your members, along with other emails from volunteers who work with you on your communities. Each of these chats (other than those you initiated) can be hidden from your view by clicking the downwards chevron in the top right of the chat screen.

Please note that if you have a chat with a group you don't moderate, the conversation will appear in your personal chat list, not your group chat(s).

If you see a green tick at the bottom of the chat, it means the message has been read on the site. If you see a small envelope it means the message has been sent out via email. There is a deliberate small delay in sending out a chat message via email, as obviously it would be really irritating if you are reading the message on site and also getting emails at the same time with the same message.

Your list of chats is pre-populated with the communities you are on, so you can use those to chat to the other members of your team in each of them if you wish.

See Member Chat for more information about this feature for your members.

Help and other links

Other pages that might help: