This is one of the personal crib sheets used by Vee Martin, Mentor, when training new moderators. The views expressed within this and her other two crib sheets are her own. The other two crib sheets are Moderating a Post and Problematic Posts.
A brief summary of ModTools functions
- messages from moderated members and where you’ll do most of your work as a mod. A pink shape with a number in it indicates how many messages want moderating. The pink shape will appear wherever on the dashboard something needs to be done.
- occasionally you’ll come across a message from an unmoderated member that is wrong and needs attention. Messages can now be edited even if they are on the board. If an edit is needed it is often simpler to do it yourself and advise the member that you have done it, but ideally we should be encouraging members do it themselves. If it’s a minor infringement you should contact the member via a standard message and remind them of the rules, eg reposted too soon. If it’s a major infringement you should inform the member why, eg offering goods for sale, and delete the post using a standard message.
- this is where a message has been flagged up by the server because it contains something questionable. It might be a worry word, something illegal perhaps or possible spam. Worry words are often just false alarms, such as balls, which can be an innocent offer of golf balls for instance rather than porn. If it’s not a legitimate worry the post can be released. MTs has very good spam filters but you will occasionally come across a spam message. These are usually where a member’s email address has been hacked and contain a web address which often leads to a porn site. You should use a standard message to inform the member and delete the post if that is the case.
- fairly self explanatory. If you click on it you’ll see when a member has Edited their post, it then comes through this section for Approval (or not).
- most groups auto-approve members so you would only use this button if your group has special rules which require investigation before approval eg details of addresses to ensure they live in the catchment area. It requires a lot less work for mods to have every application auto-approved and to pick up those who live outside the catchment area when they first post though.
- this will show a list of all approved members and is useful if you want to search for someone.
- members are flagged up by the server if there is something about their membership of a group which is suspicious. A pink bar will tell you why they have been flagged and the instructions in blue at the top of the page will offer suggestions about what to do. The most frequent use of the review is for multi-joiners. Many groups do not allow people to join a multitude of groups especially if they are over a wide geographical distance. Consult your group rules and fellow mods about their policy on this.
- unlike other spam this will come up quite often because the filters are sent to catch any mention of money, addresses etc of which there is quite a lot in chat as people arrange pick-ups, compare notes re costs, offer to pay petrol etc. You need to click on ‘View chat’ to see the context. Mostly these so-called spam chats are actually perfectly legitimate arrangements between members and should be approved ie select ‘Not Spam’. You have the option to add notes to either member where you feel it is appropriate or to the chat itself. Use sparingly or you will give members the impression big brother is watching them! Mark as ‘Spam’ anything that is obviously so and not part of a conversation between members - usually a web address on its own. Whitelisting is where the same chat keeps getting caught up in the spam filters when it is plainly legitimate, and will avoid this happening in future. One problem which occurs from time to time is where a member tells another that the free item has gone but they have one to sell. As all offers on Freegle have to be made freely this is against the rules. The easiest option here is just to delete the Chat. However, you might wish to inform the offending member that this against the rules before you do so. If you add a moderator note to the Chat (make sure you pick the right member to send it to) before you delete it I think it goes straight to that person regardless of whether or not you have released the Chat. The alternative is to send a message to the member via a blank standard message (see later handout on moderating) and also to mark their ‘card” as a seller.
- the instructions which come up when you click on this explain what this function is about. Unless you select ignore you can invite members to combine different email addresses where it is appropriate.
- some members like to make positive comments about how Freegle worked for them, which can then be published. You have editing rights.
- shows the comments members have made regarding the success or otherwise of their posts. Some groups make a point of following up unhappy members to see what might be improved.
- this is a list of notes made about the members of your group. The instructions are at the top in blue.
This is where members can advertise local events. These need approval by a mod before they are published. Local groups have their own rules about these but generally they should be relevant to the area and have some (loose) connection to recycling.
Should be relevant to the group’s area but no hard and fast rules about other relevancies. Need mod approval before they go on the group’s Freegle page.
Most groups have links to Facebook and Twitter. These are centrally composed fliers which may or may not be relevant to your group’s area and which, if approved, will go onto your group’s social media pages. Remember to hide them if not relevant.
Shows all admins sent out to group members in the past. Not for beginners as need approval from all group mods usually. A new addition is that centrally approved admins are now being sent out periodically. You can decide whether or not these are appropriate for your group, the options being Approve and Send, Save Changes if you want to edit an admin first, and Delete if you don’t want to send it at all.
Not really for beginners. This is where you report members you think are spamming your group, get information about them and see who has been whitelisted ie exempted. Beginners should seek advice from other more experienced mods or their mentor if they feel they have come across a spammer.
These list all actions by both members and mods in your group either by message or by membership. Very useful if you want to search for who did what and when eg what a fellow mod did when you were not on duty which requires follow up.
You set your own personal settings when you first start to use MTs. Community settings and Standard Messages should not be altered by beginners in any way.
Info about who’s who centrally. A bit out-of-date now.
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.
Chats - the speech bubble
You’ll find the speech bubble at the top right of the dashboard. You can chat here to anyone in a group of which you are a member. If you look to the left of the chat window you will see there is already a slot for your group mods. We encourage members to use Chat to arrange their transactions. You will only see this though if possible spam is flagged up (see 2 above). What you will also see is a copy of any message you send to a member using the standard messages, though occasionally they do go walkabout I’m afraid and at the moment they do not appear for Trashnothing users. Any reply from a TN member will do however. If that member wants to discuss the contents of your message you can chat here about it. Chat on ModTools works in the same way as that on Freegle Direct except for the flagging up of possible spam.
There are lots of other functions which as a beginner you don’t really need to know about. Indeed some moderators never learn to use them! By all means look at them but don’t change anything without the go-ahead from your group owner or mentor.
Discourse - the Us icon
As mentioned above, you are automatically joined as a new mod. Discourse is a rather complicated piece of software for groups and is not at all user friendly in my opinion. You can alter your preferences for how often you receive notifications, emails etc from the various central Freegle groups, although you may find it easier to read any new messages on the web as finding the right preferences for yourself is not at all easy.
VMM Aug 2020