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- 1 InvestorsHub User & Moderator Handbook
- 1.1 Who is This Document For?
- 1.2 Definitions
- 1.3 About Message Boards and the Moderators' Role
- 1.4 Deletion Review
- 1.5 Communicating with iHub Admins
- 1.6 Frequently Asked Questions
InvestorsHub User & Moderator Handbook
Who is This Document For?
- Terms of Service ("TOS") – See User Agreement.
- User Agreement – These interchangeable terms refer to the rules of the site which can be found via the "<a href=\’Terms.asp\’>User Agreement</a>" link provided at the bottom of every page.
- Stock Specific Board – A board that has a ticker symbol for a listed company. These boards are in our Free Zone. iHub allows only one board per company.
- Mod Squad ("MS") – An experienced group of Members who have consistently shown their understanding of the TOU and ability to fairly apply it to all Members. They have deletion/restoration abilities on ALL stock specific boards. MS Members, like Moderators, are not employed by the site but, instead, volunteer their efforts.
- Site Admin ("Admin") – The group of individuals who administer the site by enforcing adherence to the TOU. They have site-wide abilities to delete/restore posts and warn, suspend, or terminate Members. They are compensated full-time employees.
- Premium Zone – Boards in this area are available for all Members to view but you must be a Subscriber to participate in the dialog.
- Free Zone – Boards in this area are almost exclusively stock specific and available to all Members to read and to participate in the conversation.
- Premium Member/Subscriber – These interchangeable terms refer to Users who have elected to purchase membership privileges on iHub. Membership does not afford Users different rules of conduct, but do allow access to upgraded features.
- PM – Private Message. A message posted privately on the site that can be read only by the sender and recipient.
- iBox – Also sometimes referred to as a "Header", the iBox is displayed at the top of any message board and is created and maintained by Moderators and Assistant Moderators. It typically contains a description of the company being discussed and tools such as charts and links for further information.
- Moderator – A Member of the site who creates a board or who volunteers to and is appointed to manage it. Boards can also have a number of Assistant Moderators. Throughout this document, the term "Moderator" applies both to Moderators and Assistant Moderators unless indicated otherwise.
- User – Anyone who visits the site, whether they post or not and whether or not they\’ve registered a free or Premium account. Users cannot post until they become Members.
- Member – Anyone who has registered a free or Premium account on the site. Members can post and can also become Moderators.
About Message Boards and the Moderators' Role
The principle objective of the iHub message boards is to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio while encouraging the exchange of all points of view. Moderators are an important part of making our message boards beneficial to all participants and readers. Moderating a stock-specific board, particularly those which are controversial due to many divergent perspectives or newsworthy events, can be a challenging and time consuming role. The time and effort expended by our Members who volunteer their time to fulfill this valuable role is greatly appreciated and our Moderators should be treated with the respect they deserve for donating their time and efforts to the collective benefit of our community. Company-specific boards are the lifeblood of iHub. The Moderators' role is simple to define for company-specific boards:
"To promote the civil exchange of on-topic dialog that complies with the Investors Hub User Agreement."
At the same time, Board Moderators are entitled and encouraged to express their investment sentiment in the same manner as any other Member; by participating in the dialog. However; insofar as their Moderator privileges are concerned, it is not the Moderators’ role to promote bullish or bearish sentiment, to guide the "tone" of the content along any particular investment sentiment, or to favor one investment sentiment over another.
It is also not the Moderators’ role to remove posts on the basis of "truth" or "accuracy". Readers determine the veracity of the posts they read and the credibility of other Posters. If a Moderator disagrees with another Member’s post they have the same recourse as any other User; to ignore the post, or to challenge it with a post of their own focusing on the information, not the other Poster.
In short, the role of the Moderator is to help foster an environment that promotes and encourages posting of ALL opinions and information about companies, regardless of the bullish or bearish sentiment of the posts, and to be the site’s first line of defense in ensuring we remain free of spam, vulgarity, and personal attacks.
The Moderators' Toolbox
Moderators (this term throughout is considered synonymous with Assistant Moderator) have several capabilities:
- Removing Posts
- Banning Users from Posting to a specific board (Premium Boards Only)
- Edit iBox/Update Information
- Manage Assistants (Available to Lead Moderator and Admins Only)
- Managing E-mail List
- Managing Surveys
The Moderator's view of a board includes a Manage button between the iBox and the message list. The Manage version of a board listing is used to access the above Moderator functions.
This is where the Board is introduced to other Users. Updating this information is pretty self-explanatory. Directions for adding charts and images can be found here.
The content of the iBox is subject to the same rules as any other Member posting. For stock-specific boards, the content should be restricted to information that is relevant to that stock. The only rules that govern the stock specific boards are the TOU. Moderators should not include a set of rules in the iBox that extend, contradict or modify the TOU, i.e. "this board is for those that believe in the company".
Please do not include embedded music in the iBox as it often causes browser problems for Users, places excessive demand on hosting servers, and discourages people from using the site while at work or in other public places. Please be reasonable about placing embedded images such as charts in the iBox since it increases bandwidth demands for both viewing Users and the sites that host the image files.
Deletions of Posts
While in manage mode, moderators will see a message that says "Click any message below to view, then remove or restore it." Clicking on a specific post will then show the option to "remove" in a box on the left. Clicking this will then provide the following options as a reason for removal: Personal Attack, Duplicate Post, Spam, Off Topic, Vulgarity, Author Asked to Remove, Violation of Privacy, Threat. You have eight reasons to choose from when deciding whether or not a post should be removed:
- Duplicate – an accidental duplicate post by a single Member. This does not mean a similar message posted previously or the same content posted by a different Member.
- Personal Attack – when someone attacks one or more members personally rather than the content of that Member\’s message. The post does not have to be addressed to the "target" of the attack to be considered a Personal Attack. If it attacks a messenger rather than the message, it qualifies for deletion and it is expected that Moderators will remove it.
- Posting the same or similar content to more than two (2) boards;
- Posting the same or almost identical post more than twice in a 24 hour period i.e. "where\’s the pr?", "anyone seen the pr?", "thought there was going to be a pr today?", "geez, is the pr coming out today or not?";
- Posting content that is off-topic to the subject of a board;
- Posting statements that do not add value to the discussion (i.e. simply "LOL" or "Yes");
- Posting excessively on one or more message board(s). If you feel someone is abusing their posting privilege in this manner, please discuss this with Admin prior to removing any posts.
- Spam that overlaps off-topic (see below) are posts containing content promoting other sites, stock-related or not, that has no use in the discussion (for example, if your board is about Ford Motor Company, a post or link about a home improvement company is not relevant to the discussion); and posting the same "noise" posts i.e. "to da moon" or "this stock is a POS" continuously without other relevant content. This does not mean that if someone asked about dilution yesterday, a similar post today is considered spam.
- Off Topic – posts not about the topic of the board including posts focusing on other Members and their reasons for posting on the board (i.e. "XYZDownDaDrain" is just a basher, ignore him", "XYZToDaMoon" is a pumper"). Posts about Moderators and/or deletions are also "off topic". Issues of this nature need to be discussed with Admin.
- Vulgarity – profanity of any kind is unacceptable on investment boards, even when punctuation characters are used to "fill in the blanks" or letters are changed (f\*\*k, azzh\*le, etc.).
- Author Asked to Remove – when a Member has asked that a post be removed and has cited a valid reason for removal, such as accidentally revealing personal information.
- Violation of Privacy – posting of what the member believes to be any personally identifiable information (email, real name, phone, address, etc.) or posting the contents of a private message. For example, if a Member posts that "XYZDownDaDrain is actually Bob Smith", whether the information is accurate is a moot point. The Member was trying to disclose personal information.
- Threat – a Member threatening anyone in any fashion.
If a post does not fit into any of these categories the post must not be removed.
Some posts fall into a "gray" area and are borderline depending upon the way they are read. Feel free to use the "Report TOS Violation" button at the bottom of the post with your comments. One of the Site Admins will review it and make the decision for you.
Bottom line: Please use your best judgment in removing posts based on the above guidelines and let us know if you have any questions or need any help. And keep in mind that post removal and non-removal have to be given the same emphasis. It is not permissible to, for example, remove a post that calls someone a "pumper" while not also removing a post that calls someone a "basher". Investor sentiment, including your own, can NOT be part of the removal/non-removal decision.
Posting on the Board as a Moderator
What a Moderator chooses to post on the board is often perceived to be a guideline for other Users. If the Moderator frequently violates the TOU others are going to feel it is permissible for them to do so also. It is not acceptable for either the Moderator or Members. Moderators who are also Premium members should use PMs to communicate with board Members about their conduct, such as a reminder to "stay on topic." If you are unable to send PMs, please ask a Site Admin to communicate the message to the member. Any logged-in user can communicate with the [Site Admins-http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/site_admins.asp] via Private Message (PM).
Moderators should never threaten other Users. For example, a public post or a PM stating "Get on topic or your posts will be deleted and you will be banned" is not healthy and usually just inflames the situation.
Deletion of Moderator Posts
Frequent or multiple deletions of a Moderator's own posts is considered abuse of Moderator privileges. Think before you post, and if it\’s a TOU violation or you would rather it not be in the public domain, please don't post it.
Requesting Sanctions for a Poster
All deleted posts are automatically queued for review by one of the Site Administrators. Additionally, all Users have the ability to request a review of any removed posts. This goes into a queue that can be viewed by all Moderators, Mod Squad and Admin. If the message is restored it is removed from the queue. If it is not, then Admin will review and "close" the request. When a post has been deleted and subsequently restored, this image will appear next to the post in the message list: There will be times that you receive a private message asking why you made the decision to remove a post. Please don\’t be offended or defensive when asked this. Sometimes the reason chosen i.e. "personal attack" was mistakenly given and it was really supposed to be "duplicate". Or sometimes the post appears to be discussing a public figure of the company, but it\’s actually a Poster on our site, not affiliated with the company. Additionally, a large part of Site Admin\’s role is to, as much as possible, have the rules applied consistently across the site. Users need to be able to move from board to board and have a clear understanding of what is or is not acceptable. Of course, mistakes are occasionally made and posts are removed in error. When a deleted post is clearly not a TOU violation, most times it will be restored without asking any questions. However; if there are too-frequent deletions made "in error" by the same Moderator, they will receive a private message to address the situation. Moderators who are unable to act within the defined scope of their position will be relieved of their position.
Communicating with iHub Admins
Its highly recommend that Users add The Question and Answer Board to the list of Favorites and follow the discussion there. In addition to Site Admins, there are many knowledgeable, helpful Members who offer timely answers to questions that Users and Moderators have about the site. In many ways, it is the "hub" of iHub.
Private Messages sent to IH Admin go into each Admin\’s inbox. This allows the first available Site Administrator to assist you . Choosing this route (instead of PMs to specific Admins) will likely elicit a more timely response as each Admin does not work 24/7. Please include related links to expedite this process further. The TOS Report is another way of communicating with Site Admins. At the bottom of each post there is a link to "Report TOS Violation" and there is a comment section you can use to address your concerns with a particular post or Member if needed. Indicating in the comments that you are a Moderator on the board is also very helpful. The "Support Request" link" is also very useful for issues of a technical nature i.e. chairmail problems. And, of course, you may send us a private message. Please see the Site Admins page to understand the different roles and who can best help you with your situation. If you choose to send a private message, please make sure you include links. If Admins have to search for what you\’re talking about it is very time consuming and slows the entire process. Many times if a PM is received without links you\’ll receive a reply asking for them. How to include links in posts and PMs: Go to the top of your screen where you see "address". Highlight (hold the left mouse button down as you move your cursor across the text) the entire line beginning with "http". Right click and move the arrow down to "copy". Then place your cursor where you want this information to be copied, right click and select "paste" and Voila! Premium Boards Boards in the Premium Zone simply mean that Moderators have more flexibility in managing the content by removing messages and banning specific users from the board. Posting on these boards is also restricted to Members with Premium account features.
Premium status does not give a board license to blatantly violate the rules of the site. Any concerns with Mods or deletions on other boards still needs to be done through Admin. More latitude is offered to Moderators on Premium boards. If two posters are having a heated debate that includes what might be considered a personal attack on Free Zone boards, the Mod has some flexibility to allow this. However; one sided deletions in this example are inappropriate. Additionally, using these boards as a place to launch personal attacks on other Users of the site is not allowed and should be deleted. Premium boards are also not a haven to "archive posts in case they are deleted" and/or in the event they are removed. If a User feels a post has been inappropriately removed then their recourse is to request a review either through the automated system or by sending a pm to iHAdmin.
If many of the messages on a Premium board fall into the above categories, the Moderators need to take immediate steps to rectify the situation and return the board to it\’s original intended purpose. Failure to do so will at a minimum result in moderators being removed and/or replaced as well as possible administrative sanctions. Again, thanks to everyone who participates in our community and especially those who help to moderate and keep the boards high on signal and low on noise. Your energy, dedication and efforts are integral to iHub and your efforts are appreciated.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Deletions Are replies to deleted posts supposed to be removed, too? A good rule of thumb is that if the post can "stand alone" within the TOU, it should remain. Examples: a reply to a deleted message that states "I agree" makes no sense on its own, however, one that says "the o/s is 5.5 million and the float is 4.5 million" still makes sense. Delete the former but not the latter. I get the whole off topic bit, but if someone says "Good morning" am I supposed to delete that, too? It seems harmless enough and keeps the board friendly. While, technically it is off topic, non-inflammatory posts are occasionally fine. The problem with this one occurs when everyone else decides to respond with their own "good morning". Now you have 20 posts on the board that, while friendly, have nothing to do with the company. Remember that a defining trait of a good Moderator is their ability to maintain a high signal/noise ratio and the bottom line is that if a post is not about the company, it\’s noise, no matter how friendly, genial, or innocuous it might be. Try to keep in mind that people are often quickly checking in as they are working or doing other things in their busy lives. Coming to the board and having to wade through multiple posts that aren\’t about the company can be very annoying to many Users and dilutes the value of the board and the site. Additionally, as people who are unfamiliar with the company check in to see what the company is about, they would also like to quickly read information about the company to aid in their trading/investing decisions. Discussion about someone\’s vacation, for example, is neither of interest nor the reason they chose to read the board. As a Moderator, you\’ll find it\’s a very fine balance of keeping the board to discussion of the stock while allowing some, minimal friendly dialog amongst the Users. Off topic posts that should always be removed is discussion about other Users and/or their motivations for posting on the board, the Moderators and deletions. I think off topic posts before/after market hours and on the weekends should be allowed. Why isn\’t it? Many people don\’t read the board after hours or on weekends. So, after a weekend away, coming back to 120 unread posts that have nothing to do with the company is a waste of their time. The topic of the board is the company and that\’s why people make the choice to read your board. This is another good example of diluting the value of the board. There are plenty of other boards on the site for general discussion that Members can go to for this. A good one to suggest if you see the off topic discussion snowballing is the Parking Lot. Unlike the Premium boards, which only Subscribers can post on, all Members can post on this board What if someone is bashing the same topic over and over again? I think this is spam and think all future posts about this should be deleted! "Topics" are not considered spam. Lead by example and debate the information contained in the posts. As long as there are no TOU violations, the posts need to stay on the board. It\’s understood that occasionally a Poster needs to be asked to "move on". If you would like a User\’s posts reviewed, please send IHubAdmin a private message with links asking for an evaluation. I sometimes see deletions by Admin or Mod Squad on the board I moderate but I don\’t understand why they were removed. Or why other posts weren\’t also? Admin is made aware of posts that violate the TOU through various ways. If you see a random deletion on your board, it most likely came up on the TOS Report. When a Poster uses the "Report TOS Violation" button at the bottom of each post it goes to a report that is reviewed regularly throughout the day. If it isn\’t obvious (from this post) that there is a larger issue, the post on the report is evaluated without further review of the board. Another common cause of this is a post being removed for spam (posting the same or similar message on more than two boards). Admin has many tools to detect this in addition to the TOS Report. It is also often reported on the Question and Answer board and a member of the Mod Squad many times will remove these posts from all boards. Don\’t make the assumption that if there is a deletion by Admin or Mod Squad on your board, that all the surrounding posts were also checked and deemed "ok". Seeing a deletion by Admin or MS is in no way a reflection of other posts. If there are others that violate the TOU, please remove them. Also, please feel free to ask the person who deleted the post the reason. If it was Mod Squad, please send a PM to IHubAdmin. Additionally, all Users should understand that not all posts are removed by board Moderators or the Mod Squad. Site Admins do (very frequently) remove posts for numerous reasons, many of which are unrelated to the content of the posts. Posts removed by a Moderator or Mod Squad Member will always be reviewed, so if it remains deleted an Admin made that decision. Therefore it is inappropriate (and considered off-topic) to engage in a public debate on the board regarding the appropriateness of a deleted posts. Take it up with an Admin. Another Assistant always deletes other Mods\’ posts! We are also Mods and know the rules. I don\’t think he should do this without at least talking to us first. It\’s understood that there is a certain protocol amongst moderating teams. However; a situation of this nature has a much larger underlying problem of either Mods posting TOU violations or Mods removing posts that don\’t violate the rules. If the posts violate the TOU, then they should be removed whether it is discussed among the Mods or not. If a Mod is removing posts that do not violate the TOU, then please send a PM to Admin to discuss this. This guy has been attacking the company I invest in for 3 years now. I have just taken over the Mod spot and I have a responsibility to defend our investment from people posting this garbage about the company.
Moderators have the same recourse available as any other user when they disagree with the views and comments of other users; respond to the content of the post, or ignore it. In any event, there is no role for the moderator insofar as their moderator duties and privileges are concerned.
I received an email from the IR lady at the company asking me to remove certain posts from the board. I don\’t think they violate the TOU but she said it was best for the company if this information was not posted on the board. Can I remove them?
The companies discussed on iHub nave no standing whatsoever regarding the content on the boards. All opinions are welcome on our boards irrespective of whether they are bullish, bearish, or neutral. A User thinks it\’s hilarious to post "News" and then go down a couple of spaces and type something like "gotcha". I (and others) find this very annoying. Can I delete these posts? Yes, they are "off topic", "noise" posts and qualify for removal. People are coming to our board to attack our company because one of our "longs" says negative things on their board. I think I should delete his posts because he doesn\’t care about the company, he\’s just trying to retaliate against this other User. Speculation about other\’s motives for posting on your board is an exercise in futility as it has no bearing on enforcement of the TOU. There are no requirements in order to post on a stock board other than abiding by the rules of the site. Your conjecture on why the person is posting on your board could be true, but it also may not be. The bottom line is "why" someone posts on the board has no relevance to the exercise of Moderator duties and privileges and should not be part of the dialog. Each user determines for them self the veracity of information they read and the credibility of other Members who post it.
One guy can\’t post on the board without calling the company a "POS". I think this is vulgar and his posts should be deleted. The rule of thumb regarding this expression is that if it\’s an occasional reference (not directed at another member) then it is acceptable. As this is a very subjective guideline, please send a PM to Admin with links to the posts asking for a review. Why are there removed posts that show the reason as "User Request" but do not list who removed them? These posts were removed by an automated routine that runs periodically and scans for blank posts that are no longer eligible to be edited by the author. When I\’m viewing deletions, what does it mean if it doesn\’t show who removed the message? This was an account that was terminated (most likely as a multiple alias) and all posts were automatically removed. Another Assistant on the board keeps undermining the rest of us by telling the Posters he didn\’t delete the message and saying who did delete it? I don\’t have any problem talking about my deletions or explaining why other Mods deleted something. But, this just seems like he\’s trying to "point fingers" at the rest of us. It\’s likely this is a new or inexperienced Mod who hasn\’t been exposed to the dynamics of the moderating team previously. If you find this occurring, please let Admin know. We will advise the Mod that any questions he/she is uncomfortable answering regarding deletions should be directed to a Site Admin. It is important that moderators extend the courtesy of professionalism and exhibit camaraderie when performing their moderator role, including when their individual investment sentiments run contrary to one another. Another Assistant and I disagree about whether a post should be deleted? He\’s deleted it and I\’ve restored it 7 times now. What should I do? In the event that there is a disagreement, please don\’t tussle over the post. Please send a PM to Admin or post a note on the Q&A board and either an Admin or Mod Squad will make the decision.
Additional Board Features
- Reduction of posting privileges to 3 posts per day
- Banning from a specific board for either a limited amount of time or indefinitely
- Suspension (or "Jail") from posting anywhere on the site except the Jailhouse board
- Termination (or "Boot") from the site
An argument broke out on my board today while I was away. From looking at the deletions, it seems like one guy started it. Why did the other people get banned, too? Just as your Mother explained to you when you were growing up, "it doesn\’t matter who started it…". All who participate in a brawl on the board usually end up with sanctions. If a User is violating the TOU, then other Members\’ recourse is to contact Admin to assist. Taking the matter into their own hands only increases their violations/deletions. No other post/Poster gives anyone the right to break the rules. Each person is held responsible for their own messages. Four people were just banned from our board. 3 of them were banned for 5 days but one was banned for 14 days. His deletions didn\’t seem any different than anyone else\’s. Why was he banned longer? The most likely reason is that the one individual is a repeat offender. Sanctions are used to elicit different behavior. When conduct doesn\’t change, then sanctions are increased until the Member changes their posting habits or they are removed from the site. Signatures This guy has a link in his signature that says "see my favorite boards" but when you click on it, it gives the guy a membermark. Can I do this, too? No, there should be no links to Membermarks anywhere except iHub\’s link on the Profile page. If you see such a link, please report it by sending a pm to iHubAdmin. I\’m Mod on the board and don\’t understand why I can\’t have the company\’s logo or ticker in my signature? Since this appears in every post you make, it is considered spam when you post on other boards. Feel free to add this to other areas of your profile that are not displayed on each post. This one lady has a political endorsement in her signature. Whenever she posts on the board, someone almost always comments on it and the board devolves into a political discussion. Political or religious sentiments are not appropriate for signatures. People are welcome to place these in other sections of their profile but as indicated here, it often leads to very divergent comments that can quickly create chaos on the stock board. Please alert Admin to signatures of this nature by sending a PM to iHubAdmin. This guy has a very, very scantily clad woman as his sig. Don\’t get me wrong, she\’s hot and I appreciate the picture as much as the next guy. But, any time he posts everyone wants to talk about her and I feel like a real jerk removing these comments. A signature that "crosses the line" is usually apparent when other User\’s can\’t help but comment on it. A good guideline is that it is a picture the User would be comfortable sharing with his Grandmother or Mother-in-Law. Please alert Admin to any pictures that you would like to have reviewed. This woman has a link to a song in her signature. It takes forever to download her posts and really is very annoying – especially since I\’m often quickly checking the board while at work. No sounds should be in a signature. Please send a PM to iHubAdmin. A lady on the board doesn\’t like me and thinks I delete her posts unfairly (I don\’t). But, now she\’s put an attack about me in her sig saying I\’m a biased Mod. Help! Signatures are governed by the TOU. If the signature violates the rules, then it should be removed. Please send a PM to iHubAdmin.