Because of matters that were recently raised at the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,24275.0.html,
I decided to start this thread on what Moderators actually do, or at least what I do. I'm sure that over time the Moderators have spoken about some of their duties but it might help for the newer members to have an idea as to what Moderators, at least the ones on this forum, actually do. Of course, Steve, as the owner and Administrator of this forum, is also an active participant in all of this. Here is my list, purely from my personal perspective after being on the job for over eight years:
1. Look at all new posts to be sure that they are in the proper place in the forum's indexing system and otherwise comply with the forum's rules and regulations (including prohibition of posting copyrighted works of others). (I was also involved in a lot of the original architectural work that resulted in the current forum's indexing system, and moved hundreds of threads into that system.)
2. Move threads around, split them, merge them, re-title them, and modify and delete posts and threads as necessary or appropriate. Sometimes threads are moved to the Moderator board for review by the Moderators and Steve.
3. Create new boards, or modify existing ones. A recent example of this activity is separating Pizzeria and Restaurant Reviews and Pizzeria and Restaurant Recommendations into separate boards. This entailed having to identify and move over 200 threads into the new recommendations board.
4. Correct dead links in posts. This will always be a problem for the forum because of normal changes in websites. However, if I am able to find alternative material archived in the Wayback Machine or at the websites themselves, I edit the posts to include the new links. I have done this sort of thing hundreds of times, almost always one post at a time. I have also used the forum's improved search engines to identify places with dead links.
5. Encourage members to use the forum's search engines as much as possible before asking for specific help. (I even created a thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3101.0.html
to help explain the forum's search features but it will have to be revised in due course because of the recent forum upgrade.)
6. Monitor forum activity to detect spammers and attempts by members to advertise their goods or services without having become Supporting Members (or Lifetime Members). Spammers and bots were long a big problem on the forum, and I remember being greeted first thing many mornings by spammers who penetrated the forum overnight, but Steve put in an enormous amount of work and time to rid the forum of spammers and attacks by bots to penetrate the forum. To this day, bots continue unrelentently to try to penetrate the forum. Member profiles are also routinely examined to be sure that they don't use Signatures or avatars that are attempts to spam the forum or other attempts to sneak in advertising.
7. Ban members. This is usually in connection with item 6.
8. Respond, as appropriate, to Reports to Moderators (RTMs).
9. Send warning messages to members. This is a new capability, so it may take a while to determine how it will be used.
10. Mediate disputes on the forum including, if necessary, locking threads pending resolution.
11. Attempt to minimize hijacking of threads, and discourage members from discussing topics of a political or religious nature.
12. Engage in and discuss forum matters with Steve. This can cover just about anything, including member behavior or problems, threads moved to the Moderator board, ways of improving the forum, problems on the horizon, vacation schedules and providing adequate forum coverage during absences from the forum, etc.
13. Respond to PMs and emails from members. Over the years, I estimate that I have received and responded to thousands of PMs. I try to answer all PMs but I usually do it after all of my other chores are done. I also discourage members from using PMs to bypass the main forum altogether because I do not fell that it is right for some members to try butt into the front of the line ahead of everyone else. I tell them to post everything on the open forum so that everyone has the benefit of the exchange and so that other members have a chance to offer their views and suggestions which, in many cases, are far better than mine.
14. Reorient misoriented photos. The forum's software cannot do this. It has to be done by a Moderator manually on a photo by photo basis. In some cases, as when a photo in the middle of a series of photos is misoriented, the only way to keep the photos in the original sequence is to save all of the photos, orient the misoriented photo, and put them all back in the original sequence. It isn't always practical to do this sort of thing because of the time needed to do it. A lot of the misoriented photos are from the use of TapTalk but other photo generators can also result in misoriented photos.
15. Edit posts of members who do not know how to use the quote feature or fail to do so correctly. Editing is usually done only when the posts become incomprehensible or hard to follow.
I also get personally involved in projects on the forum that I believe will benefit others. For example, Steve and I wrote the forum's Pizza Glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html
. I and another member designed and implemented the forum's dough calculating tools at http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_tools.html
. I have created and periodically update various compilations such as the ones at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8297.0.html
. A more recent effort is the one at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20056.0.html
. I also worked with member November to develop the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/.
Pretty much everything I do is calculated to make my life--and those of our members--easier, even if it means having to spend a lot of time upfront to do so.
EDIT (1/5/15): Added items 14 and 15.