How Moderation Works

All of the Moderators at FRDB are unpaid volunteers. We live in different times zones all over the world and moderate the board in our spare time. We are all real people who work real jobs, have real families, and have real life concerns. Though we read as many of the posts in our assigned forums as we can, we also rely on other members to report any rule violations they notice. We simply do not have the ability to carefully read every single post on the board looking for rule violations.

This means that we depend on YOU, the FRDB members, to report rule violations when you see them. If you see any content on FRDB that you think violates our Terms of Use, use the "Request Mod Action" button to alert moderators. Moderators will then work promptly to 1) assess whether the rules were really violated and 2) if so, decide what action they will take to remedy the situation.
  1. Q: How do moderators decide what to infract and what to leave alone?
    A: When someone reports a possible rule infraction, the moderators of the forum in question discuss it among themselves until they reach consensus on how best to deal with it.

  2. Q: Who makes these decisions?
    A: All of us, working together. Forum moderators vote democratically on their decisions, and in certain instances they even debate among themselves. If the forum moderators cannot reach consensus, they ask for help from the Administrators.

  3. Q: If I report a post, will I get told about the action that is taken?
    A: Typically, no. If a post gets edited, you will see a message at the bottom of the post that indicates that it was changed. That part is public. But if a warning or an infraction is given, you will not know. Warnings and infractions are private.

  4. Q: How did you get to be moderators?
    A: We volunteered, or were asked by the existing moderators if we would be willing to help.

  5. Q: How much money does FRDB make?
    A: None. FRDB is funded through donations. These donations are distributed at the discretion of the owners for the purpose of FRDB and FR.

    Donating members are not given any special entitlements or privileges other members do not have. All donations go to cover the cost of the server. The difference between donations and cost is covered by the Owners' personal contributions.

  6. Q: Why do some posts get infracted and others don't?
    A: Two reasons. 1) Some are reported and others aren't. 2) Some are in violation of the rules and others are close, but not quite.

  7. Q: Why do moderators sometimes take sides?
    A: The short answer is, we don't. If you think moderators are unfairly targeting a specific poster or otherwise taking sides, it is far more likely that another FRDB poster is diligently reporting every single rule infraction s/he sees in the posts of those s/he disagrees with. If you want to balance the scales, report the infractions you see as well.

  8. Q: Why do moderators always side with their other moderator buddies?
    A: Again, the short answer is, we don't. Moderators also have to follow the terms of use. If a moderator has violated any FRDB rules, the other moderators handle this situation like any other. Moderators can be infracted just like anybody else. Generally, however, volunteers are not allowed to be moderators if they have any history of insensitivity or disrespect for board rules, meaning most moderators don't break the rules to begin with.

  9. Q: Why did I get infracted for cussing but other people get away with it?
    A: Nobody ever gets infracted just for cussing. What probably happened was that you made a personal remark about another member, which included cussing. Personal remarks are against the rules.
    Example: Saying "you are a jerk" is a personal remark. Saying "only a total jerk would write that post" is a personal remark.
    BUT - Saying "It's been a fucking long day" or "My job is shit" may be crude, but it is not a personal remark.
    This is why we repeat, over and over, "address the post, not the poster."

  10. Q: Aren't the moderators biased?
    A: Of course we are. We're human. That's why we try to reach consensus on what actions to take, so that our biases will hopefully cancel each other out. We are imperfect, and rely on the input of others to try to keep things as fair as possible.

  11. Q: Why moderate at all? Why not just let people say what they want?
    A: An unmoderated message board - especially one which deals with both religion and politics - will quickly degenerate into a free-for-all flamefest. All it takes is a few unrestrained abrasive posters to goad the entire board into snide, cutting remarks and insults. That's not the kind of board we want to have here.

  12. Q: Isn't that censorship?
    A: Yes, it is. FRDB is a privately-owned, privately-financed message board. In every private venue in the real world, there is some degree of censorship imposed in order to maintain order. We strive for the minimal amount of censorship possible, in order to maintain a fun and healthy place for people to explore Freethought and Rationalism.