Training Lesson 3

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This training module has been superseded. Please click here for the current moderator orientation guide


One of the decisions you will have to make as a moderator is whether you will approve new members for your group or allow everyone who applies to join the group. This is one of the Group Options in Mod Tools. As regards moderation, we ascribe to the motto of "Less is more." That is to say, always try to do the least amount of moderating, be it of new members or posts. You'll find there are good mechanisms in place for members to report spam to you directly, local and global hotword lists, and there is a central Spam Control team. So, pre-modding is more often than not over-modding. We have very few issues with spam and a great deal of issues where groups are 50% moderated and members leave because they can't get their posts approved in a timely manner (which for most people, honestly, means right away).

Pros of Open Membership

  • Hotwords will flag most inappropriate posts and they will get caught in pending post queue.
  • Moderating First Posts accomplishes the same goal as Modding New Members.
  • Less work for the mods.
  • Does not slow the joining process.
  • Does not hold up posts that are appropriate.
  • Spammers are removed by Spam Control team or posted on FIOD.

Pros of Modding New Members

  • Allows checking that an appropriate ID/Email address is used, keeping in mind that appropriate is a subjective term.
  • Allows mods to check to ensure that postal codes or cross streets are correct.

If you decide to go with the approval method, it's enough to ask for cross streets, postal codes, or area of town. Do NOT ask for personal information such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. It is an invasion of our members' privacy and is not needed to keep a local group running smoothly. We also don't ask for this information as it exposes local volunteers and the organization overall to the risk of having and maintaining such information. If we don't have such info, we don't risk it being accessed and something happening (robbery, stalking, you name it). Sharing such personal information also makes potential members uneasy. You can find more information in the Moderator Manual. For help on using the Moderator Tools to approve new members, please click here.

If you limit your group by geographic area, you will need to set up a file to go out automatically to ask them to reply with their postal code or landmark (or whatever). For information on using the Moderator Tools to create group files please click here.


For information for members on using My.Freecycle, please refer to the FAQ here.

Day 3 Assignment

Please note: not all of these questions pertain to today's reading assignment. Try to answer the questions based on what you've already learned. If you really don't know the answer, you may have to refer to a previous lesson.

  1. Does your local group you will be moderating on approve memberships or have open membership. If you are not yet a mod on the group and don’t know this, EMAIL YOUR LEAD MOD AND ASK
  2. Is it okay to moderate for a group in another city?
  3. Is it okay to respond to an Offer while it is still in pending messages?
  4. Name at least 2 required rules
  5. Name 3 basic jobs a moderator does.
  6. Name the 2 required files.

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