Handbook

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Contents

InvestorsHub User & Moderator 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 and Assistant Moderators. It focuses mainly on boards in iHub\’s Investment forums and 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 Use enforcement and specific guidelines for Moderators.

Definitions

  • Terms of Service ("TOS") – See User Agreement.
  • Terms of Use ("TOU") – See User Agreement.
  • User Agreement – These interchangeable terms refer to the rules of the site which can be found via User Agreement link provided at the bottom of every page on iHub.
  • 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."

It is no accident that neither the above definition nor the Terms of Use ("TOU") makes mention of investment sentiment, shareholder interests, or considerations such as "the good of the company." That is because the TOU is blind to investment sentiment. In order to be a successful Moderator and conduct a board within the scope of iHub's TOU, it is critical that Moderators distinguish their role and privileges as Moderator from their role and privileges as a Member. That is often easier said than done, particularly on active boards with both the typical and unusual controversy.

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.

The iBox

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.
  • Spam
    • Posting the same or similar content to more than two (2) boards within a 24 hour period;
    • 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. All Users 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

Site Administrators are frequently asked by Moderators to "do something" about a poster on their board. There are many times that a ban or suspension is the appropriate course of action. However; there are other times that this decision is not appropriate because the board has not been moderate "consistently" and/or based on the Terms of Use. When a request of this nature is received, Admin reviews the Member's posts, then the posts that he/she is replying to and the replies to his/her posts. If there are other TOU violations (personal attacks, etc.) still on the board, it makes it difficult to justify sanctions against one Member and not others. While no other Poster or post gives anyone the right to violate the TOU, it's simply not fair or representative of the spirit of IHub when an inconsistent message is being sent regarding acceptable user conduct.

Moderators must endeavor to consistently moderate based solely upon the Terms of Use.

Deletion Review

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

Additional Board Features

I want to create a survey, how is that done?

From the "Manage" screen, click on "Surveys" then "Add Survey". Then complete the template provided. Please keep in mind, all surveys are subject to the TOU. Surveys about Posters and Moderators, for example, are not acceptable.

I want to delete a survey, how is that done?

Surveys cannot be deleted but they can be removed from public viewing. If you would like to have a survey to be "hidden" please send a PM to iHub Admin asking for assistance.

I see a link for a "Board Email List". What in the world is this?

This is a feature whereby you can send a mass email directly to people who have signed up to receive such emails on your 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. As a Moderator, you cannot view the email list. If you are having problems with bouncebacks?, please send a PM to iHubAdmin asking for assistance.

Miscellaneous

The company's name or ticker will be changing tomorrow, how do I make this change?

Please click the Board Name/Ticker Change in Manage mode. Don't forget to include a link to the PR detailing the change.

I think this User is posting under different names. What should I do?

First, please do not post this speculation on the board. It just leads to more off-topic discussion. The most effective and quickest way to have this reviewed is to use the Report TOS button and indicate in the comments that you feel the poster is using multiple aliases. If you think it is someone specific, please include a link, or at least the other alias you suspect. You can also send a private message to IH Admin.

How do I ban someone?

Site Admins are the only people that can ban someone on the boards in the Free Zone. If you would like to request a ban, please send a private message to iHub Admin. Please include relevant links.

This board is for "longs" and I want people to understand this board is NOT for bashers. I put this in the iBox so everyone would understand what this board was all about. But, someone has said that I can\’t have my own rules for my board. What's this all about?

The only rules that govern boards in the Free Zone are the Terms of Use.

InvestorsHub favors inclusion over exclusion. Stock specific boards are for both positive and negative discussion of the company. If you feel strongly that you would like a board for only "positive" or "negative" information about a company, consider creating a "Bull" or "Bear" board on iHub's sister site, Silicon Investor, which allows multiple boards per ticker and also allows boards to be treated by their moderators as being specifically for bullish or bearish sentiment. Keep in mind, though, that the most valuable accumulation of information and opinions occurs when both sides have their voice, which is why forced one-sided discussion is not tolerated on iHub.

I created a board that was for people to discuss all stocks, not just a specific company. All of a sudden "Free Members" can't post on it. What's going on?

Chances are you weren't moderating the board based on the TOU. If a significant amount of the dialog is discussion of topics other than stocks, the board belongs in the Premium category.

Discussion of other boards, Moderators on other boards and deletions are not appropriate for any board. If someone feels these matters need to be addressed they need to so privately with a Site Admin. While some technical support boards (i.e., computer related) are in the Free Zone, in general, boards not related to stock discussion are the only boards non-subscribers cannot post on. However; anyone can read these boards.

This one guy keeps posting that I'm violating his "Free Speech" whenever I delete his posts that violate the TOU.

Constitutional protections often referred to as "free speech rights" are an obligation of government, not private enterprise or individuals. Unimpaired speech on message boards is not a right but rather a privilege extended by the owners of the site. iHub welcomes all points of view as long as they are expressed in compliance with our Terms of Use. Any posts failing to meet those standards of conduct are eligible for removal. So-called "free speech rights" are not a consideration or factor in the operating of iHub.

Two Users made a bet on the board. One agreed that if the 10k was delayed past the due date that he would no longer post on the board. The other agreed not to post again if it was out on time. It was filed on the correct day and the guy has not lived up to his agreement!

The posts regarding the "bet" should have been removed before it ever got to this point. They were off topic (i.e. not discussion of the company) and, at the conclusion, invariably lead to further off-topic and/or personal attack posts. At this point, all you can do is remove the posts discussing this topic and post a message indicating that posts of this nature will be removed. If this doesn't help, please send a PM to Admin asking for their assistance.

Shareholder Counts

We are conducting a shareholder count on our board and one woman keeps saying it's off-topic. Is it?

Technically, dialog regarding individuals' holding in the stock could be considered off-topic. However; some have argued that the number of shares "controlled by the board" is a key technical indicator. As there is no confirmation that any of the alleged share ownership claims are accurate, the benefit of any exercise along this line is debatable at best. Even so, we currently allow so-called "shareholder count" dialog and leave it up to readers to determine the validity of the information.

We are having a shareholder count on our board and this guy keeps updating his shares saying now that he owns 95% of the float. It's obviously not true; he's just trying to be a troublemaker. Can I delete these posts?

It's likely that the User is trying to make a point about the authenticity of any of the numbers given by other Posters. He/she makes a very valid point. But, no, the post cannot be removed. Messages are not removed based on what you, other Moderators or Admins believe to be "true". First, it's too subjective and secondly, it would be impossible to enforce. If you have made the decision to hold a shareholder count on your board, then this would be a biased deletion as you have no "proof" of other's holdings either.

There was a shareholdercount on our board and now we have one Poster who is using this information to make fun of other posters for how many shares they have. He basically says that people's opinions don't count if they have less than a million shares.

This is another great illustration of why this type of tally is discouraged. It just creates too much fodder for other TOUviolations. If the post is a personal attack or off-topic (i.e. focusing on the other User), then it should be removed.

Sanctions

People say that someone who used to post on my board is now in Jail. What in the world does this mean?!

People who continually violate the rules are subject to administrative sanctions. These include:

  • Reduction of posting privileges to 3 posts per day;
  • Banning from a specific board for either a pre-determined amount of time or indefinitely;
  • Suspension (or "Jail") from posting anywhere on the site except to the Jailhouse board; and
  • 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 younger, "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 and accountable 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.

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 expressions and references 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, 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.

Signatures are governed by the TOU. If the signature violates the rules, then it should be removed. Please send a PM to iHubAdmin.

Frequently Asked Questions