Welcome to the Investors Hub User and Moderator Handbook!
- 1 About the Handbook
- 2 Communicating with iHub Admins
- 3 Site Features
- 4 About Message Boards and the Moderators' Role
- 5 The Moderators' Toolbox
- 5.1 The iBox a/k/a Intro
- 5.2 Requesting Board Name and/or Ticker Changes
- 5.3 Managing Sticky Posts
- 5.4 Managing Board Surveys
- 5.5 Manage Board eMail List
- 5.6 Deletion of Posts
- 5.7 Banning Posters and Requesting Sanctions
- 6 Deletion Review
- 7 Definitions Used in This Handbook
- 8 Related Pages
About the Handbook
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
You will also find many places where portions of this handbook are linked to FAQ pages, and where the FAQ pages link back to portions of this Handbook.
Who is This Document For?
This reference is provided for the benefit of all Users of the site and particularly Members acting as board Moderators. It focuses mainly on boards in iHub's investment forums with emphasis on stock-specific boards in particular. Moderators of boards in our Premium Zone are allowed a greater degree of latitude in moderating those boards, while boards in the Free Zone are held to a higher standard for Terms of Service enforcement and specific guidelines for Moderators.
Please be aware of the following when referring to this document, its related FAQ and Help pages, and our Terms of Service:
These documents are not intended to be all-inclusive references explaining and giving examples of every single act that can result in administrative sanctions and every single thing that won't. We have tried, but the fact of the matter is that we will never get there. Such a document would be enormous and really shouldn't be necessary.
It should be good enough and clear enough that iHub participants are expected to be civil with one another and that those who are unwilling to do so may and likely will be shown the door. We ask that everyone show common courtesy and respect for other Members so that all can enjoy and benefit from their participation at Investors Hub.
Communicating with iHub Admins
For contact information regarding Login Assistance, Legal Matters, Copyright Infringement or Advertising, please refer to the Contact Us page which is linked at the bottom of every page on the website.
It's highly recommended 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 appear in all Site Admins inboxes. This allows the first available Admin 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. 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. Your PMs to IH Admin will eventually appear in your Outbox as having been sent to the Admin who actually handled it, or in some cases the Admin to whom it has been specifically redirected for disposition. That way any further discussion of that particular matter can be directed to the Admin who originally handled it.
The Report TOS Violation link found on every public post is another way of communicating with Site Admins. Clicking this link will provide a form for the member to advise Site Admins of alleged violations of the Terms of Service. In addition to a list of possible violations, a comment section is provided that can be used to address your concerns with the specific post, or Member if appropriate. (Note: Admin are the only people who see or have access to TOS Reports and the comments).
If you wish to inquire about a post that has been removed, the means to do so are described on your My Removed Posts page.
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!
- Please refer to FAQ:Reporting Violations for more information.
As described above, iHub provides numerous means for Members to contact site Admins and support staff both privately and in designated public forums. In addition to your communications regarding specific support issues, we routinely solicit Member feedback on site design, functionality, and operating policies and procedures. We encourage and welcome constructive input from our user community and routinely implement changes suggested by Members. However; we do not welcome disruptive or non-constructive communications, or attacks on iHub itself or our staff. Persons who find themselves unable to refrain from attacking iHub and/or its staff, including but not limited to 1) threats of reporting us to [insert list of the usual "name dropped" agencies here], 2) threats of litigation, 3) promises of ensuring our demise, 4) accusations of criminality, conspiracy, or any other alleged violation of law, or 5) vulgar or abusive PMs, should avail themselves of their prerogative to cease using the site immediately as we have no interest in hearing it. Those unwilling or unable to respect those guidelines will be asked to refrain and, failing that, will be shown to the exit.
Message Board Subscriptions
Subscribing Members, otherwise known as Premium Members enjoy numerous additional features. Key Premium features include but are not limited to Private Messaging*, Unlimited Posting*, Batch Reading of Boards, and Advanced Search. Subscriptions can be purchased for as little as one month to as long as three years.
- If you wish to cancel future subscription renewals, simply go to Settings > Cancel My Subscription. This will cancel the auto-renewing component and your remaining subscription will continue until your expiration date.
- If you wish to change the credit card on file with Verisign (our processor), do the same as above, then when you receive the expiration notice(s), re-subscribe with the new credit card.
Subscription options and feature entitlements can be found here.
- Premium subscriptions do not include an exemption from the website rules. Premium subscribers found to be in violation of the Terms of Service or the policies described in this Handbook are subject to administrative sanctions. These sanctions include but are not limited to suspension of and/or limits being placed on posting privileges at the website and/or individual board level.
Premium versus Free Zone 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 although rare, Admin reserves the right to overturn any Moderator action on any board for any reason. 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 addressed with Site Admins. More latitude is offered to Moderators on Premium boards. For example, 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 IH Admin.
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.
When other Users click on your alias it takes them to your Profile. This is the place that you can tell people a little about your personality and trading/investing philosophies, if you so choose. From your profile, you can click on Edit My Profile to make changes.
Please keep in mind any information in your profile must adhere to the TOS.
We highly recommend that you not disclose any personally identifying information here (email address, etc). Remember all Members have access to this information.
- Please refer to FAQ:Composing Posts for more information including adding bold, italics and images to your posts.
Use of Automation - iHub discourages the use of automation to refresh, crawl or post to the website. If a automated refresh is used, the minimum permissible frequency is once per minute. Scripted posting should be throttled to no more than once every 30 seconds, and may be disallowed if found to be excessive or abusive. Users found to be manipulating site content and/or metrics through any means, including but not limited to automation, are subject to administrative sanctions up to and including account termination.
The comments above where the signature is added are pretty self explanatory:
- Please do not put sounds in signatures and keep images as small as possible.
- No racy/sexual/scantily-clad pictures.
- No mention of specific stocks/tickers or links to stock specific boards.
- No links off the site.
- No solicitation.
- No political or religious images/text.
- No comments about ihub members or ex-members.
Note new signatures will not be attached to your posts until being selected as your default in My Signatures
If you see a violation, please send a private message to IH Admin
- Please refer to FAQ:Signatures for additional information.
Member Profile and Images
- Status Messages and Images are subject to the terms of the Terms of Service (TOS).
- No racy/sexual/scantily-clad pictures.
- No mention of specific stocks or links to stock-specific boards.
- No links off the site.
- No political or religious images/text.
Image Upload Feature
Available on the "Other" navigation button on the Image Upload tab.
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 Terms of Service.|
It is no accident that neither the above definition nor the Terms of Service makes mention of investment sentiment, shareholder interests, or considerations such as "the good of the company." That is because the TOS are blind to investment sentiment. In order to be a successful Moderator and conduct a board within the scope of iHub's TOS, it is critical that Moderators distinguish their role and privileges as Moderator from their role and privileges as a posting Member. That is often easier said than done, particularly on active boards with both the typical and atypical controversy.
At the same time, Board Moderators are welcome to express their investment views and 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 dictate bullish or bearish sentiment, command the "tone" of the content be along any particular investment sentiment, or favor one investment sentiment over another when removing or restoring messages. (Please note the bold as this is a vital part of the sentence).
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 Users. 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 on other users.
The Moderators' Toolbox
Moderators have several capabilities:
- Edit iBox/Update Information
- Requesting Board Name and Ticker Changes
- Managing Sticky Posts
- Manage Assistants (Applies to boards that are not stock-specific. Available to Lead Moderator and Admins Only)
- Managing Surveys
- Manage eMail List
- Deletion of Posts
- Banning Users (Premium Boards Only) & Requesting Sanctions
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.
The iBox a/k/a Intro
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.
Please do not include embedded music in the Intro 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 Intro since it increases bandwidth demands for both viewing Users and the sites that host the image files. Do not paste images directly into the Intro. Use the Image Link tool to embed the image either from a third-party hosting website, or upload the image to your iHub Image Repository and link to it from there.
No Moderator should be deleting or editing other Moderator's content in the iBox. Feel free to add any information to the Intro that adheres to the rules of this site. However, prior to deleting others' content, it should only be done with all Moderator's approval. New moderators should add their content to the bottom of the Intro. We recommend that all moderators group and delineate their content into a section by adding a horizontal line to the top and bottom, and indicating at the top of the section, for example "This section maintained by [alias]".
When a stock specific boards loses all Moderators, then the iBox will be deleted. When a new Mod is added, then they have the option to place their own content in the Intro or to restore previous versions of the iBox. This is accomplished by clicking on Manage/Edit iBox/iBox Version History/Select a Version (click on the date to preview)/Revert to This Version.
Requesting Board Name and/or Ticker Changes
Moderators can request a board name and ticker change by clicking on Manage/Board Name-Ticker Change/Submit. Don't forget to include a link to FINRA detailing the change when it pertains to a stock-specific board.
Managing Sticky Posts
Any message posted within the last 48 hours can be stickied provided it adheres to the TOS.
On non-stock boards, Moderators can add up to six sticky posts to be highlighted at the top of the message list.
On stock-specific boards, each Moderator can add one sticky post and can only remove their own. When a moderator is removed their sticky post is automatically removed.
Managing Board Surveys
- Please see FAQ:Board_Surveys for more information.
Manage Board eMail List
With this feature Moderators can send a mass email directly to people who have signed up to receive such emails on that board. Some Moderators use these to give daily wraps-ups or notify people of important information that they may want to come to the site to read and discuss. There are many reasons for sending such emails. The only people who can receive such emails are those who voluntarily enroll in them. Moderators have access to the list of subscribers but not their email addresses. However, note the email address that the Moderator uses will be visible to all recipients. If you are having problems with bounce backs, please send a PM to IH Admin asking for assistance.
Deletion 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.
This is 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.
This is 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 within a calendar day;
- Posting the same or almost identical post more than twice within a calendar day 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?";
- Sending the same or similar unsolicited PM to multiple recipients More on PM spam.
- Posting statements that do not add value to the discussion (i.e. "My cat ate my homework" or "Bzinga");
- Posting excessively on one or more message board(s). The boards are for discussion not a pulpit for individual Users. If you feel someone is abusing their posting privilege in this manner, please discuss this with a Site Admin without deleting any posts that don't otherwise violate the TOS. Admin will review posting history and may, at their discretion, impose posting restrictions if deemed to be warranted.
- Spam that overlaps off-topic are posts containing content promoting other sites.
- Spam promoting other stocks/companies on a stock specific board. For example, if your board is about Ford Motor Company, a post or link suggesting someone buy stock in a pharmaceutical company is not relevant to the discussion. This does not apply to industry or trading comparisons/discussion. For example, someone comparing a stock run to a similar run on another stock is fine. It also doesn't apply if someone makes an off hand comment that they took profits on another specific stock and brought them here. The goal is to remove clear, egregious promotion of other stocks ("Get out here and take your money to XXXX", etc.).
- Posts that victimize, harass, degrade, or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on the basis of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, or disability
- Posts about or focusing on other Members or groups of people and their reasons for posting on the board (i.e. "XYZDownDaDrain" is just a basher, ignore him", "XYZToDaMoon" is a pumper", "the naysayers are very loud today", "c'mon, where did all the cheerleaders go?"). The post does not have to be addressed to a specific person. If the post is about other Users then it should be removed.
- Posts with religious or political statements should be removed as "off topic". These inevitably create an avalanche of replies that are off topic as well.
- Posts about Moderators and/or deletions are also "off topic". Issues of this nature need to be discussed with a Site Admin.
- The PG13 rule is loosely used as a guideline to what is/isn't acceptable when determining whether a comment is vulgar. The theory is that if society has deemed it appropriate for a 13 year old to hear, it is unlikely that it will be offensive to the majority of Users.
- Otherwise, profanity (as explained above) is unacceptable on the stock boards, even when punctuation characters are used to "fill in the blanks" or letters are changed (f**k, azzh*le, etc.). Note that there are also "polite versions" for many acronyms and these are assumed to be the case when in doubt (i.e. "wtf?" = "what the freak?" in the polite version).
- Any form of vulgarity directed at another User is unacceptable and should be removed (i.e. "you're a sh*thead", "being an a** doesn't help your case").
Author Asked to Remove
- When a Member has specifically asked that a post be removed and has cited a valid reason for removal, such as accidentally revealing personal information. This is an occasional accommodation and is not to be used to "mask" the removal of bona fide TOS violations. If you are asked as a Moderator to remove more than 2 messages as Author Request, please send the User to discuss with Admin.
- Messages over 48 hours old are not removed, even when requested by the Author, unless there are extreme circumstances (i.e. accidentally revealed an account number).
Violation of Privacy
- Posting of what the Member believes to be any personally identifiable information (email, real name, phone, address, etc.) about another User or posting the contents of a private message is a privacy violation. For example, if a Member posts that "XYZDownDaDrain is actually Bob Smith", whether the information is accurate is irrelevant. The Member was trying to disclose personal information. This is a serious violation and can get you suspended or terminated from the site.
- Posting or referring to the contents of private messages without the author's prior consent is considered a violation of privacy and can get the User suspended or terminated from the site.
- A Member threatening any other Member in any fashion is to be removed.
- Threats or insinuations of violence or physical harm against anyone is a serious infraction and can get you suspended or terminated from the site.
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. As inclusion is favored over exclusion, please err or the side of not removing posts if they are not clear violations. Please use the "Report TOS Violation" button at the bottom of the post with your comments if the post is not egregious in nature and Site Admins will review the message.
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, for example, to 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.
- More guidance about acceptable removal of posts can be found at FAQ:Deletions and Restores.
Posting on the Board as a Moderator
The way a Moderator chooses to post on the board is often perceived to be a guideline for other Users. If the Moderator frequently violates the TOS 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. All Users can communicate with the Site Admins 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.
Moderator Disagreement on Deletions/Restores
Occasionally, Moderator's disagree on whether a message should be removed. Mods do have the ability to "overturn" another Moderator's decision and restore that post. However, if the disagreement continues beyond one or two actions, the Moderators should hit the "Report TOS Violation" link at the bottom of the post and Admin will make the final determination. A "mod-war" of deleting/restoring messages is not acceptable and may result in removal of the Moderators who choose to play this game.
Moderators cannot reverse an action by Mod Squad or Admin. If you are confused about why any action was taken by either of these parties, please send a PM to iHAdmin.
Deletion of Moderator Posts
Banning Posters and Requesting Sanctions
Only Site Admins can ban users from stock specific boards for TOS Violations.
Moderators can request bans from Admin on other boards in the Free Zone that are not stock specific. This request is generally honored.
Moderators on Premium Zone boards can ban users from those boards. This can be done from the Message List.
All Members have visibility to their recently removed posts and in most cases the ability to request a review of any removed posts they believe were done in error. For logged-in Members, the My Removed Posts page can be accessed from the Settings button at the upper right corner of the page or from My Removed Posts tab. These requests for review and comments go into a queue that can be viewed by individual board Moderators, Mod Squad and Site Admins. If the message is restored it is automatically removed from the queue and the Author's My Removed Posts page. If it is not restored, then an Admin will review and either restore the post or close the request. Mod Squad and Moderators can only restore posts in this queue, they cannot remove the message from being reviewed by Admin. When a post has been deleted and subsequently restored, will appear next to the post in the message list.
At times moderators may receive a private message from Admin asking why you made the decision to remove a post. Please don't be offended or defensive when asked. 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.
A large part of Site Admin's role, with the valuable assistance of our Mod Squad members and Moderators, is to endeavor to have our rules of conduct 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.
|Thank you 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.|
Definitions Used in This Handbook
- Terms of Service ("TOS") – See Terms of Service.
- 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 Terms of SErvice 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.
- 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 does allow access to upgraded features.
- PM – Private Message. A message that can be read only by the sender and recipient.
- iBox – Also sometimes referred to as a "Header" on "Intro", 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 have 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.