Sample letter explaining modding style once new mod has been recruited
This is great news. I have upgraded your membership status to moderator. Thank you and welcome to the moderating team.
Before we speak to go through the practical duties of a mod, this email is to outline the modding style that we try to employ on XXX-Freegle. It is not exhaustive, but should give you an idea of where we are ‘coming from’ and how you’ll be able to fit in.
- We try to use a gentle touch when moderating members
- We remain calm, respectful, reasonable and democratic with the members, as well as with our own and our neighbouring mod teams
- Although the group does have rules, we are flexible (where appropriate) for everything other than the basic premise that everything must be free and legal - common sense prevails
- We never take advantage of our position as a mod and never respond to posts before they appear on the list. We strongly discourage members from using a first come first serve basis for choosing recipients and we take members off moderation as soon as possible
- We discuss with our fellow mods as necessary before dealing with questionable posts or member queries – there is no urgency and it is always better to check than act in haste
- We try to show consistency between mods
- We are always respectful to members – if we receive inflammatory replies we cool off and talk to fellow mods before responding
- We are supportive of other local groups, networks and mod teams
- We remember that the group belongs to the local community and not the mod team
- We seek advice from the mod groups as necessary
- We refer confidential/sensitive difficulties that we are unable to resolve to the nationally elected Freegle Committee.
I hope this is helpful. Please do not hesitate to ask if I can clarify anything about the role for you. I'll call you later today to arrange a mutually convenient time for us to proceed.
With warmest wishes,
XXX Freegle Team
Sample letter explaining preparation jobs prior to training
OK, before we meet up at XX PLACE on XX TIME/DAY, may I suggest 3 things for you to do first:
Please could you check that you are very familiar with the XXX Freegle group rules and other group admin material here:
<Include link to local group rules and files>
1: Please could you take a really good look around XXX Freegle group with the additional features that you can see as a mod.
2: Please explore everything, including the pending boxes, but hold off actually doing anything at all as yet. I suggest that we schedule an hour one evening in a couple of days time to do some actual modding together on the phone or in person – it is much easier to explain the role this way than by email.
3: Finally, please join us and say hi on our local moderators’ group. I have sent you an invitation. We are a friendly bunch and delighted you can join us. Reading back through the messages there will give you a good idea of what we do, as everything is archived there.
The role will become clear after a very short time. It is really worth investing the time initially to learn the role, and you’ll be able to moderate much faster and more confidently. Importantly, this preparation will enable you to really enjoy modding.
4. Will be for you to let me know when you feel ready to go through some modding on the phone or in person. Ideally we’ll need a day's notice; we can get the other mods to leave the pending messages alone for 6-8 hours for us to work on together. In the meantime, please contact me by email, phone or text with any questions.
One final thing to say...there is no such thing as a silly question, please feel comfortable asking anything at all, and asking for clarification as many times as necessary if I have not explained it coherently.
Welcome, and enjoy.
With warmest wishes,
XXX Freegle Team
Ways to communicate the training to the new mod
- Have a face-to-face meeting, get to know each other
- Spend time on the phone with a new mod, both of you looking at pending messages and talk through what to do with the messages. This could also be done by visiting your new mod at home, or meeting up somewhere public with a laptop and wi-fi. This can give more advice, discussion and instant feedback than a training group
- Consider communicating with each other via instant messaging, such as with Yahoo, Gmail or Skype to talk through pending messages. This can be useful as the mod can look back the message archive if they forget something
- Try to have an established mod available for contact by email or phone/text or IM
- Make contact with the new mod at least once a day until they find their feet
Try to ensure clarity and consistency for mods
- If you want mods to use the plug-in establish this as a requirement from the beginning and help as necessary with the download.
- Figure out what your policies are* and make sure any new mods know what they are (it's also helpful to include them in your members handbook so all members and mods can refer to this) *ie: phone numbers, pets, number of wanteds per month xposting etc (link to advice doc)
- Help group consistency by providing them with template rejection emails (even if not using the plugin.
Sample letter to accompany templates
Choose…If planning to use the plugin: In preparation for our mod training I have attached my group plugin preferences file. This needs to be imported into the plugin at your end ready for use.
Choose…If not planning to use the plugin: In preparation for our mod training I am now sending you copies of all the template rejection messages we use on the group.
All message rejection messages are sent (as BCCs) to the local mods' group. Please could put our local mods’ group email address in the BCC address line of all communications with members, without exception:
<include email address for mods’ group here>
This will provide an effective means of letting the other mods know why a message has been rejected and as an online archive for all member communications, even routine ones.
With warmest wishes,
XXX Freegle Team
Tips for new mods
- It's not too hard
- It's not the end of the world if you make mistakes
- How to moderate pending messages using the plugin (the ModPlugin group can help people through the setup and give them some settings to import)
- The most common posting errors: e.g. missing location/type
- Don't get carried away and start rejecting lots of things
- Remember that some people are much ruder by email than they are in person, so not to take it personally.
- Initially, leave all queries and difficult members to established moderators, but later have a go, and copy in the –owner, training group or moderators group.
Suggested training stages
Take your time and pace the training according to the individual. Allow the new mod to say when they are ready to move on to the next stage. Stage 1 Suggestions for practical modding to be explained on the first session – ideally on the phone or in person after the pending box has been left to accumulate for 6-8 hours:
- Approving new members if group settings requires approval
- Identifying & approving an acceptable pending message
- How to return a message to its sender using a template rejection message
- When to edit a member’s post and what is not acceptable (e.g. correction of grammar etc)
- Which posts need to be be referred to the café group if there is one
- Ensuring that the mod is aware to refer non-local members to their nearest group where necessary to try on their most local group(s) at least 24 hours before trying this one. Explain that this practice is to show support to neighbouring groups, especially ones trying to establish themselves. This establishes expectations of a non-territorial/competitive attitude and strengthens relationships between groups
Stage 2 Suggested material to cover for Stage 2 – ideally on the phone or in person after an adequate amount of time practicing the skills learned in Stage 1:
- Assessing their retention and understanding of Stage 1 learning
- Responding to any queries which have arisen as a result of Stage 1 practice
- Checking that non moderated posts are within the rules and what to do if they aren’t
- Changing a member to group settings & explaining why never to use the unmoderated setting
- Putting members back on moderated – when and how
- Reminding to ask mod team as often as necessary
- Explaining anything else that comes up and going over anything previously covered as necessary
- Responding to –owner emails
- Group set-up/settings - what they are and why, e.g. New Members Moderated, group archive on view etc [need a link to recommended group set up with rationale here]
- Review of progress so far from both sides
Joining wider mod groups
Sample letter suggesting new mod joins mods' groups
In order to helyou consolidate your training please join our regional and national moderators’ groups. You will be able to ask advice of fellow mods, search for answers to questions and generally learn the ropes more thoroughly:
- XXX Region Freegle Mods' Group – for groups mods and owners within the whole region: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/GROUP-NAME (I have asked the owners to send you an invitation)
- Freegle Central – for group mods and owners throughout the UK: http://freegle.it/Central
(I have asked the owners to send you an invitation. This group generates a LOT of mail so you may wish to read online or get a digest)
I have enjoyed our training and hope that you feel comfortable asking me or any of our mod team anything at all, and asking for clarification as many times as necessary. We were all new not so very long ago.
With warmest wishes,
XXX Freegle Team XXXFreeglefirstname.lastname@example.org contact number
Discuss individual future training requirements, agree a plan and a timescale for review
Advanced plug-in features
Firefox Moderation Plugin is a simple, safe and effective Add-on/extension which works only with the Firefox web browser but allows moderators to manage most activity directly from the pending and main messages lists.
It enables you to see the full content of messages and a count of the poster's recent offers and wanteds etc. You can change the membership setting to "group settings" with one click and can create your own set of template "reply buttons" complete with a standard text of your choice, and much more.
For further information, advice and to download the Firefox moderation extension, please join the following group: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/ModerationPlugin/
When using Firefox , follow the “Quick Install ” link from the home page of the Moderation Plugin group.
For further info please see the wiki
There is training in setting up the Moderation Plugin using powerpoint slides or with a Plugin buddy
- It can be easier to train a mod on a larger, busier group than on a smaller group. Consider buddying up with larger neighbouring groups who could help to train mods from smaller groups
- Consider using a training group to post sample messages for a new mod to moderate, these should include messages that should be edited or rejected. Once confidence is gained the training group can be used for asking questions. This can also be done through the moderators group. The new mod can say when they feel confident enough to move to the “real” group. A training group can also be used to train a new mod in using the other functions of the plug-in, home page editing and so-on.
- Give link to one stop shop and handbook - but reassure them that they don't have to read it all at once!
- invite to join regional mods group and central - perhaps not immediately, but once the mod has had some initial training and is still enthused. This reduces the sense of being overwhelmed and also helps to reduce the numbers of inactive members in these groups
- In some areas several groups train moderators together, perhaps with one mod training all new ones. It has been suggested that a national training group could be set up. If not at national level this could be done a regional level
- Moderator Handbook
Sample demotion letter to unsuitable mod
1. Group owner address 2. Local modlist address 3. Regional modsquad owner address 4. Freegle Central owner address
Subject: Mod ---> member Hi XXX, As I haven't heard from you on email or IM I have reverted your membership status back to member. This will mean that you'll need to unsubscribe from any mod group that you are in please. Sorry it hasn't worked out, but thank you for your interest in Freegle. Your group membership will continue to operate exactly the same as before of course. With warmest wishes, XXX Mod Team XXX Freegle Team XXXFreegleemail@example.com