Moderation

Edited: September 12, 2022

This document outlines a basic idea of what’s expected of our community team members, and provides some advice for team members that may be in a pinch. For the sake of transparency, this is a public document — if you have suggestions or feedback, please feel free to contact us (either directly or via #discord-meta).

All of our community team members are involved with moderation — if there are no community moderators around, you can contact a community manager instead.

Moderation as a Concept

Moderation is, at its core, the front lines of community safety. Community team members are responsible for keeping the members of their community safe, by resolving disputes and removing problematic people from the community.

There are many ways to approach moderation, and they’re all effective in different ways. We prefer to take a proactive approach — addressing issues as early as possible, and preventing problematic people ever from joining the community when we can. For this reason, we encourage our community team members to be active participants in the community as well, joining the other users in discussions and otherwise participating the same way everyone else does.

Qualities of a Community Team Member

Every community team member has their own personality and thought process, but we do expect a number of things from every team member:

  • A relatively active presence in our community, with genuine participation
  • A wish to improve the community and support its members
  • A relatively cool approach to problem users, allowing the team member to deal with the issue rather than engaging problematic mentalities
  • An understanding of (or willingness to learn about) the unique challenges that minority communities are faced with, and a willingness to apply that knowledge practically and consistently to the moderation process
  • A non-judgemental approach to those in differing circumstances — people with differing (non-harmful) viewpoints, religions, identities, etc

We ask that all community team members pledge to put the needs of the community above their own personal viewpoints. That said, all team members are people and real life comes first — team members are not expected to sacrifice their quality of life for the sake of the Quilt community.

Our Hierarchy

Note: All community team members can act as moderators, regardless of their named role. That said, Community Moderators are the people you should contact first if there’s a problem — Community Managers should be contacted only when Community Moderators are unavailable, or when your concerns relate to a Community Moderator.

While all community team members have equal influence, there are two primary roles:

  • Community Moderators are responsible for maintaining the safety and welfare of our community members, by enforcing the community policies, aiding in conflict resolution and dealing with problematic users and behaviours. If you have a problem, these are the people you should contact first.
  • Community Managers are responsible for the day-to-day administration tasks in our community spaces, by mobilising and supporting the community team, maintaining community spaces and automations, and keeping everything running smoothly. If you have concerns about how the community is run, these are the people you should contact first.

For more information on how the community team is structured and what processes it follows, please read RFC 7: Community Team.

Discord Moderation Tools

We currently have a fairly lightweight set of tools for moderation, provided by Zeppelin. This bot provides a set of standard moderation commands, as well as some lightweight automations. Additionally, we make use of CrossLink to automatically vet and remove links and attachments that are known to be problematic or contain viruses, and a ModMail bot to allow users to contact the community team if they need anything.

When issuing infractions, community team members must use Zeppelin’s commands. The prefix is !!, and community team members can look at the Zeppelin site for more information on how these commands work.

There are some other useful commands too, such as clean and search — team members should familiarize themselves with Zeppelin’s full list of commands as soon as they can.

We also ask that team members familiarize themselves with Tupperbox, as there are several people present in our community that make use of it.

Discord Infraction Policy

When issuing infractions, community team members should bear the following points in mind:

  • If the offending behaviour happened in a public channel and was relatively recent, consider running the infraction command directly within the channel — otherwise, unless they’re pre-emptive bans to avoid known problem users, they should be run in the #discord-meta channel.
  • Consider the severity of the violation — lower-tier offenses (such as rule 8 violations) are better met with a temporary mute (assuming the user doesn’t listen), whereas more serious offenses such as hate speech and discrimination may be met with a quick ban, depending on the severity.
  • Consider the user’s history in our community, and outside it — do they have a record of previous infractions? Are they usually a prolific, positive member of the community or are they brand new? Are they infamous for causing trouble in other communities?
  • Consider the user’s personal circumstances — do they have any disabilities or social circumstances that may cloud their judgement or give them a less favourable view of the issue at hand? If they’re just generally being disruptive, it’s often helpful to read past the words they’re using and try to understand the root of the point they’re trying to make.

Handling Appeals

All appeals are handled via the @ModMail bot. To submit an appeal, users send a private message to @ModMail — this both allows for a timely response (when possible) and for oversight from the rest of the community team during the appeals process.

Users that are banned from Discord community spaces are sent a private message by @Zeppelin that includes a link to a special Discord server, which allows banned users to send a private message to @ModMail — since a shared server is required.

The community team is human and mistakes can happen — but regardless of whether someone submitting an appeal agrees with their infractions, they’re expected to approach their appeal with civility and respect. Appeals should address the infraction reason (assuming the user is aware of it).

Please note: While the appeals system exists to allow us to rectify mistakes (and as a way for infracted users to come back later and prove that they’ve grown, understand the issue and are willing to work towards fixing their reputation), the community team still reserves the right to deny appeals for any reason other than infractions made in clear violation of the moderation guidelines. The safety of the users in our community is of utmost importance, and appeals will not be successful if the person submitting an appeal is still considered to be a threat to the safety of our users — both physical and psychological.

Appeals made for lesser infractions may result in a more significant infraction if the person appealing fails to approach their appeal with respect, or attempts to abuse the community team members or appeals process.

Health & Safety

All community team members are human, and we care for the health of everyone that contributes to a healthy atmosphere in our community. Team members should always keep the following points in mind:

  • Prioritise your health over community moderation. Get enough sleep, drink enough water, and take time off if you need it. Nothing is worth burning out over, and it’s important that you look after yourself before taking care of the community — real life always comes first.
  • Remember that you’re a volunteer. All community team members are here on a voluntary basis, and we don’t require a time commitment from any of them. It’s up to each individual team member to decide how much time they can spend on the community.
  • You do not have to handle every situation. There are multiple community team members in our community, and some of us are more comfortable dealing with some situations than others may be. If you find that a situation is affecting you negatively, causing you to feel emotionally charged or affecting a psychological trigger, feel free to request that another team member handles the situation — and step away.

It’s extremely important that you take care of yourself before you worry about the needs of the community. You cannot effectively moderate unless you’re in the right frame of mind.

General Advice

While every situation is unique and must be dealt with directly, the following tips may aid community team members when things get difficult, or to avoid problematic situations entirely. Remember to look after yourself, and try to approach these situations with a clear mind when possible. Additionally, it helps to remember that our community is Minecraft-related and, even though some community platforms have a minimum age of 13, it’s likely that we do have members that are younger than this — for this reason, it is a top priority to remove users that are at risk of endangering any minors.

  • Read and understand the rules. Read over them a few times, and try to understand the thought process behind them. Refer back to specific rules by number when you issue an infraction.
  • Get to know the community. Be present and genuine in discussions, and take part in the community. The users will need to get to know you both as a person and community team member, and this will help to build trust and encourage them to behave themselves. You’ll also get to know the active community members, and learn how they communicate and behave.
  • Do not tolerate discriminatory behaviour. Everyone has a right to feel safe, and it’s your job as a community team member to ensure that our community is a safe one. All hateful and discriminatory behaviour will alienate community members and make them feel unwelcome, and you should be quick to moderate it.
  • Be ready to de-escalate heated situations. Everyone has strong opinions, and disagreements will happen — it’s only natural. As a community team member, you should be ready to step in when discussions become too heated, problematic or unhealthy. Encourage users to try to understand each other’s viewpoints, and focus on resolving the conflict. If this is not possible then be firm in asking the users to move on from the subject, but empathetic to the users that are getting emotional. Everyone is human, and infractions and channel locks should only be issued as a last resort in these situations.
  • Be consistent with the rest of the community team. Our policies are in place for a reason, and the community team needs to be internally consistent to help build trust with the users. Policy-related discourse is fine, but try to keep the timing, messaging and placement appropriate — in the heat of the moment, it may be best to disagree in an internal channel at first, especially if you’re unsure why an action was taken. That said, you’re free to use the #discord-meta channel — just like any other community member is.
  • Be your best self. We’re all human, but community team members are expected to provide a good example of how to behave in our community spaces. Try your best to keep a level head, and consider stepping away from situations that negatively affect you on a personal level.
  • Make use of your peers. The rest of the community team is here to support you if you’re unsure how to proceed with a situation. However, if you’re unable to contact anyone, don’t wait around for too long — sometimes you will have to make a difficult call on your own, and there is often no ideal outcome for a situation.
  • Consider the composition of the community. Our community is home to a diverse range of people, spanning various racial, identity-related and sexuality-based groups. We have many members of the LGBT community, and a surprisingly high ratio of plural systems. Additionally, many of our users have been alienated from other spaces in the wider modding community. This should all factor into your decision-making, and you should think about it when evaluating the points people are making.

Closing Notes

While this document does its best to act as an aid for the community team (and as an insight into how we operate), there’s no way a single document can cover everything there is to know. Community team members are expected to learn on the job, and the world is constantly changing — however, any explicit policies we come up with will be documented.

At the end of the day, everyone in the community (whether they’re community team members or not) is human, and we expect everyone to be treated that way. We can all work together to build a safe, friendly, inclusive environment for everyone, and we all have a responsibility to do that — not just the community team members!