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Brad
11 Mar 2006, 15:48
Couple of questions for you guys with 'large' forums. How many staff members do you currently have working under you? How do you manage your staff? What are some of the things you have done (code mods or otherwise) to help manage and work with a large number of staff members?

I reckon I should start....

Some of the things we've done here at vB.org:

- Reported posts go to a private forum, if a moderator takes any action it's followed up on there. We do this so everyone knows what everyone else is doing when it comes to dealing with reported posts.

- Hidden posts so staff members can discuss issues within the thread we are dealing with.

- Deleted threads also go to their own private forum. This is for record keeping purposes mostly.

- Automatic PM to users when their threads are deleted. This is also added to the end of the thread in a hidden post (again so staff members can keep up with each other's actions).

Lee
11 Mar 2006, 17:58
I do some of things you mentioned above on my larger forums, but I have found that a good and well-rounded staff that I can trust is key. The heirarchy of staff is also key, so that you as the owner/admin don't have to be in the middle of eveything. I like forum mod < category mod < super mod (global mod) < Asst. Admin < me!

Paul M
11 Mar 2006, 20:36
Well obviously we use the "Reported posts go to a private forum" (have you clicked install on it btw ;))

We also have a Junk forum for all removed threads (With a 'Move to Junk' option in the thread tools).

We've never found the need for hidden posts.

We also have a mods forum and an admin forum.

Oh, and the forum has about 12 staff atm, with some responsible for different things (so I do server admin, vb and vb mods).

buro9
12 Mar 2006, 16:49
We've got three admins, and a rolling stack of 4 > 8 super moderators.

The admins are roughly:
1) Me... tech, bills, politics and last word
2) Treasurer (one person (me) shouldn't pay bills and manage incoming cash), and politics
3) Politics and sanity checks on making sure the first two don't get power happy ;)

Then we have super moderators which we recruit quarterly from recommendations from the community made by PM to us 2 weeks before the start of a new quarter. This works great for us as it effectively means we're permanentely training new mods, whilst always having a fresh point of view. It also means that it's very very easy for us to non-politically get rid of a bad mod whenever one turns up, we just roll them off at the end of a quarter! :)

The hidden forums are structured thus:

Admin & Mods Forums
Admin Forum
Moderator Forum
Reports & Incidents
User Logs

The top level just being a container for the other two.

Admin forums is basically the 3 admins sorting out bills, tech stuff and anything ultra-sensitive.

The mods forum can be posted in, and is for non-incident stuff... basically questions on how to use the mod tools, policy, etc.

The Reports and Incidents room is auto-copied on reported posts, and centralises all incidents into one place. Mods record all activity in here, including our communications to the person who reported stuff and the people we take action against.

The User Logs room contains 1 thread per user that we have taken action against, it's a factual log of things we've done... and you just search for a user, and you have a record of all probations, bannings, warnings, etc that that user has received. We gradually increase the severity of our punishments, and use this room as a guide to what to do next. Slaps come first, perman-bans are very rare and are the last straw.

It all works really well. Though one thing I do want to ask other vb admins:

Do any of you publish a full log of your activity? Such as, who you ban, when and possibly even why?

cirisme
12 Mar 2006, 19:53
We have about 30 staff, probably on the high side but it works well for us. We have three owners (including me), two who are dedicated to tech stuff (me + a cowner) and the other owner works closely with the admins on moderating issues. We have four admins below us. One works on problem posters, another on staff development, another on site development and the last one is our member relations person. (she leads a team that relates with members, for instance we welcome every new member and help people get oriented and she leads that)

Below admins are Admin Assistants, one for every forum section. (and a few others that do special things, like watch our chat room and help with technical support) Each AA is responsible for developing their section, mentoring the mods, and taking care of large sectional problems.

Finally, we have mods at the bottom. They take care of all reported posts, editing and deletion of posts, etc, and just do day to day stuff unless it gets escalated higher.

Each level has it's own discussion forum. All reported posts go to a special forum for discussion, we have a warning system to keep track of warnings, but that's about it. It may seem like overkill, but I'm never going back to the way it was. We have a great team (all volunteers) and they do a great job of quelling controversy and any issues that arise.

Do any of you publish a full log of your activity? Such as, who you ban, when and possibly even why?

Only privately. We have a thread that lists banned users and why, but it's ust a sticky thread and doesn't always get posted to when a ban occurs.

FlyBoy73
14 Mar 2006, 04:37
I'll come back later when I have a bit more time but the quick version is this.

120+ well trained and versed Staff (very important)
Multi-Tier'd staff levels:
-Research Assistants (No mod powers)
-Forum Leaders
-Moderator
-Senior Mod
-Super Mod
-Admins

There is a reason for each level and each level has different responsibilities.
Each level has its own staff forums.

No posts are to be deleted, ever. We have staff "trashcan" forums when something needs to be removed or stripped.

We have staff "teams". Each team is lead by a super mod.

Due to the nature of our forum, we have all 50 states represented, plus a variety of other countries and regions. The larger states and regions also have team forums where staff can work on projects and discuss forum specific things.

We are very hands on with our staff and we feel very strongly that staff can make or break a community, especially bad apples. Fortunately, we have been blessed with having some really fine people get involved with our community.

We are heading toward a major upgrade and with it we will likely try and incorporate a help-desk into the system since we get a huge amount of emails to the admin box that I share with one of my two fellow admins.

AF-Brandy
14 Mar 2006, 14:36
Our staff is pretty small I guess...

Our team consists of me (admin) a web project manager and a developer. Those are all of our 'paid' employees. We have five volunteer Super Mods and 4 volunteer forum specific mods. We also have about 20ish (and counting) Forum Hosts - they are also volunteer and they have no moderating abilities.

When I first came on board as the admin last November, we had three Super mods, that was up from just one...I had actually been the only super mod on our site for over a year...with 700+ forums and 130K+ members, that was interesting.

You guys have given me some great ideas - thanks :)

Brandy

Erwin
14 Mar 2006, 22:16
Yup, we have staff teams too:
http://www.christianforums.com/staff.php

We hover around 100 staff.

FlyBoy73
14 Mar 2006, 22:52
I like how you have that setup, Erwin. I've never looked yet, but is there a hack out there for this, or did you code it for CF?

Thanks,
David

TCooper
15 Mar 2006, 00:00
I like how you have that setup, Erwin. I've never looked yet, but is there a hack out there for this, or did you code it for CF?

Thanks,
David
I agree, nice setup. Would like to know the same.

Carnage
15 Mar 2006, 02:35
Well, i'm admin/coder on a fairly large board. (i'm taking large as it needs its own dedicated server)

The way we try to work it is somethign like this:

6 admins; In theory we all have a responsibility such as coding, or dealing with problem members.
5 Smods; some look after a section of the board each, some just float between sections helping out where needed.
about 50 mods; They do most of the day to day grunt work in their indervidual forums.

We've got a custom built warnings system which helps alot with dealing with threads + posts, we also have a forum for each level of staff and a warnigns forum to deposit trash in. Again in theory there should be regular meetings help on Irc between various groups of mods/smods/admins to discuss new policys and other such occurances.

RedWingFan
15 Mar 2006, 15:08
We topped 7000 users recently. We have 12 on our staff right now. I have two "super admins" (myself and one other) who have access to everything, including board configuration. I've learned never to have the full admin responsibility on only one person. Sh-tuff happens. ;) Two others have limited admin privileges--they can edit users, add to the banning options list, and access a few other admin functions. All the rest are super moderators.

We run a completely separate password-protected forum for moderator/admin issues. We used to have our moderator issues in the main forum, but we once had some database corruption in the search index, and our new moderator posts were showing up in search results for ALL members! (Posts were not accessible, but the thread titles were...) In the main forum, we have areas for Problem Threads, Problem Posts (which is now unused due to being able to soft-delete posts), Private Archive (for removed posts or threads that had nothing wrong with them), and a couple other areas. Our private forum has a member issues area, a forum business area (tech issues), a moderator reference area, and a break room to keep all off-topic banter out of the working areas.

Reported posts come via e-mail, since our admin/mod forum is separate from the main forum. We also have a special "911" mailing list for all the moderators, in case the forums are down.

I know we'd like to add a couple more moderators, since I'm thinking we should have maybe one moderator per 500 members.