Forum Moderation Guidelines

Contributors Contributors Last updated: 05/07/2024

This page includes rules and guidelines for community members who act as Moderators of the Mozilla Support Forums. For general guidelines on how to use the Mozilla Support Forums please check our Mozilla Support rules and guidelines.

What is the Role of a Moderator?

The purpose of the forum is for people to help each other in their use of Firefox (or Thunderbird). Guidelines for the entire community are in place to fulfil that purpose, and the job of moderators is to keep the forum operating for its intended purpose. All moderation action is to that end. The following are guidelines on what to do as a moderator.

Users or fellow contributors that are misbehaving/making bad suggestions should also be reported in the Moderator Forum, depending on how delicate/severe the situation is.

The contract you accept as the responsibilities as a Moderator

This is an contract between your use of the Mozilla Support Forums and Mozilla. As a community member, and a moderator, you have the role and responsibility to stay aware and be accountable for your contributions in this space. As a leader, you are representing Mozilla and it’s community.

As a SUMO community member and forum moderator:

  1. I accept and promise to follow all the above guidelines.
  2. I agree to take action as specified by the SUMO Moderator Guidelines.
  3. I agree to abide by the documented tasks and actions required by my role as a Moderator to uphold the quality of the forum and the quality of its information.

People and Responsibility of My Interactions

  1. I agree to be aware of potential multiple cultural differences between the Mozilla product users and my fellow community members.
  2. I accept that I will be contacted by moderators, community managers, and other Mozilla product users from the private message feature.
  3. I understand that as a moderator that when I see or ask for Diversity and Inclusion to get involved that I will take no further action until the team reaches a conclusion of the consequences of a reported incident that violates any of the Guidelines.
  4. I also understand that I can request for a change in leadership if I recognize any toxic behaviors such as spam, continuous conflict, or a stop in participation.
  5. I understand that if there are any situations in which I am confided in that do not follow the Community Participation Guidelines I will report it and escalate it to and inform an admin if action is not taken.

Responsible for myself I will remember to have fun:

  1. I will remember to check in with myself and recognize I need to take a break when I become frustrated or find myself in a heated debate.
  2. I understand that compassion is a trait I should display when communicating and collaborating with other community members and Mozilla product users.
  3. I am an example and role model to other community
  4. I understand that when I notice a user spending more than 8 hours straight on the forums or in any other Mozilla domain I will remind them to take a break, as well as watch myself to remember to take a break.
  5. I will remember to report any other toxic behavior to an administrator and provide screenshots of conversations.
  6. I understand that I am held accountable for my posts and actions as I represent Mozilla in the support forums and all other domains. This means, but is not limited to showing respect for diverse cultures, remembering my impact with my moderator permissions, remain positive when giving constructive feedback in a professional way, and remaining respectful, but direct in my messages.
  7. I will remember to give positive recognition new contributors for what they know as well as what they do in the forums.

I understand my role is subject to change:

  1. I understand that moderators from different regions will have different interpretations of model behavior, however I promise to have an open mind when escalating any behavior that is out of the basic participation guidelines for all users.
  2. I understand that people in my moderator role are subject to change, and recognize that guidelines in this document can be discussed openly with other moderators active in their role.
  3. As a Moderator, I know that after a year that my leadership role will be evaluated and may be subject to change if I have not contributed in over 3 months, I have exhibited or received any warnings against the community guidelines, or have had to devote my attention to other things, hence having less time for the responsibility of the Moderator role.

What to do when?

There two types of categorical tasks as a Moderator. The first has to do with the operations of the forum and processes that help prepare a smooth support experiences from an operational approach. The second requires an entry level of experience for people management.

Two explicit examples on how to tell the difference: The user is giving the wrong information about Firefox….this is where you can go in, edit the content and guide the user on what should be there in a direct and professional way.

A user is just Rude… this is when a user is affecting the safety of others on the forum and exhibits behavior that distracts from the key use of the forum - to provide user support. For situations like this, if warnings and corrections are not working, please refer to the consequences policy, and make sure a thread is opened up in the Moderator’s forum.

Editing inappropriate content

The following content is considered inappropriate:

  • foul language
  • person attacks
  • spam links
  • sensitive information (personal info, phone numbers, etc.)
  • links to executable files
  • nsfw content in the media gallery or as attachment in a thread

Posts with inappropriate content should be edited to remove that content. Moderators will post a new comment so that it goes out as an email, to explain that inappropriate content has been removed as per Mozilla Support rules and guidelines.

Locking or deleting threads

Moderators can lock threads or remove them completely according to the following guidelines:

Locking threads

  • Duplicate threads should be locked after posting a reply with a link to the original thread.
  • Threads that have completely degenerated will be reported to moderator. It will be up to the moderator to decide whether to lock the thread or not.
  • If an unsolved thread is getting new replies from other users seeking help, and the original poster hasn't replied in the thread for some time, post a new comment and
    • explain that users with similar issues should post a new question (refer to Mozilla Support rules and guidelines).
    • Ask the original poster (OP) if he has resolved the issue or if he still needs help.
    • Do NOT lock the thread, since the OP may still need help.
Moderators who lock a thread should always post a new comment so that it goes out in email, to explain that the thread has been closed to further replies, and why (refer to Mozilla Support rules and guidelines).

Deleting threads

  • In general, only spam posts in discussion forums should be deleted. Spam posts in the support forum should be be marked as spam (see below).
  • Moderators should delete posts that are entirely personal attacks or profanity, and deactivate users for multiple such posts (or refer to admin if in doubt).
    • Moderators will post a new reply explaining that an inappropriate post (as defined in Mozilla Support rules and guidelines) has been deleted before removing the post/thread, so that it goes out as an email.
    • Moderators should also leave a record in the moderators forum that they removed a particular non-spam post (until a better solution is found).

Marking support forum posts as spam

Moderators should use the Mark as spam button for support questions or replies in the support forum rather than deleting those posts. Posts marked as spam will no longer be viewable except by moderators, do not appear in Mozilla Support search results, and are not indexed by search engines. This effectively removes spam posts from the support forum.

Deactivating user accounts

  • Moderators can deactivate accounts that are clearly used for spam purposes.
  • Moderators should report in the Forum Moderators forum when deactivating any account for reasons other than spam.

Moving threads

If a thread has landed in the wrong product or language forum, moderators should move it to the appropriate forum (i.e. a Portuguese question in the English forum or a Firefox for iOS question in the Firefox Desktop forum). Moderators can move threads by following these steps:

  • Click on "Question Details" on the right hand side
  • Click on "Edit Details"
  • Select the right product or language
  • Click "Save Changes"

Marking threads as "Solved"

Moderators can mark threads as solved when the original poster (OP) clearly indicates his problem is solved (such as "thank you, problem fixed now" or "ok, it looks like it worked" etc.).

  • We will not mark as solved threads which appear to be solved and probably are but where the OP did not make any comment.

People, usernames and your responsibility and safety online on this forum.

What should I do if ...?

In general this forum is not any different from a professional environment that the Mozilla community upholds in all of it’s domains. It is any behavior that does not follow the Community Participation Guidelines.

Any behavior that is considered toxic is anything disrespectful, disruptive and unprofessional.

Any asynchronous communication that includes an “emotional hit and run”, if SUMO is treated as a game or a stage, or any alternate universe, these toxic behaviors are not welcome in this professional environment. You can be anonymous, but you cannot be deliberately malicious or disrespectful because you are a magician, sorry.

Consequences Policy

These are the consequences if users are not following these guidelines:

Level 1 A Warning

Moderators should send a message or a warning to users that are not following the guidelines

Level 2 More Serious Warning from more than one person

Moderators should report in the Forum Moderators forum when deactivating any account for reasons other than spam.

Level 3 Deactivating a user, Banning or Temporary Ban

Deactivating a spammer can be done without admin approval Admins and Diversity and Inclusion have the final decision on open Moderator Threads. This is when you should contact diveristy and inclusion -

Self Care

Remain Active, proactive and healthy.

  • General adherence to the Mozilla CPG (because being awesome to each other is important).
  • Healthy, Sustained contribution (doing the work) for a period of time
  • Tolerance with boundaries when it comes to interacting with unpleasant users

however this requires a sense of level-headedness when dealing with unpleasant users.

  • A Growth Mindset - With active participation in the community side of SUMO (such as contributing to a non-technical discussion in the contributor forum or on Discourse).

What should I do if I encounter a problem that is not covered by these guidelines?

Moderators should report in the Forum Moderators forum or to Admin any other situation that is not currently covered in these guidelines. This also applies to "grey areas" or when Moderator is in doubt whether a certain action should be taken.

Situations where users or fellow contributors are misbehaving/making bad suggestions should also be reported in the moderators forum or to Admin depending on how delicate/severe the situation is.

Was this article helpful?

Please wait...

These fine people helped write this article:

Illustration of hands


Grow and share your expertise with others. Answer questions and improve our knowledge base.

Learn More