Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real forums either living or dead is purely coincidental. The modding procedures explained here are for entertainment purposes only and not to be taken as actual moderating advice.
If you've ever seen the hit motion picture Men In Black then you know precisely how moderating an Internet forum works.
You are selected by a secret organization and put through a series of tests, if passed, makes you an elite member of said secret organization. From there you'll deport illegal "aliens" from message boards and send them back where they came from, Mexico (Is that what Men In Black was about? It's been so long since I've seen it).
Of course your job isn't exactly secret and you mainly do it to act like a big man online, but it's kind of similar to Men in Black if you really think about it.
Any man can be a moderator, not every moderator truly lives. So if you've just installed a copy of vbulletin to complement your web site dedicated to cataloging the sexiest anime panty shots and find yourself competing with trolls, flamers, and spammers just to get a word in edgewise, read this guide. You'll thank me on your legally binding government recognized same sex wedding day.
You're Not Just A Moderator, You're an Expert
You weren't selected as a moderator because you're unemployed and home all day but because you're among the best and brightest in your field. Moderators don't just moderate, they educate. Mods are usually college graduates, trained in a specific area of study. Want to be a moderator? Stay in school, kid.
Professor John Hubert from Stanford University moderates the Dragon Ball Z forum at Gaia Online. He tells us, "I rely on my PhD in Super Sayan studies to give the best possible answer to any question that may come up. Who would win in a fight, Trunks or Vegeta? Most people would say Vegeta, but I can run complex algorithms that say Trunks would win within a .01% margin of error."
As moderator your advice is the final word. Take for example this exchange from a forum promoting incest.
Poster #1: Hey my sister is really hot and I want to fuck her pussy but she's pretty much a slut and sleeps with every guy. That turns me on that my sister is fucking all of my friends while I watch and jerk off in her closest while smelling the crotch of her underwear but I don't want to get a disease or anything like that. Anything I can do to protect myself from my sister's festering cunt?
MODERATOR: Yes, you should use a condom, preferably one with spermicidal lubricant so you don't get her pregnant. That should do it. Let me just go ahead and close this thread up...
Poster #2: That's horrible advice! While condoms with spermicidal lubricant may be more effective against the risk of pregnancy they are actually less effective against the risk of STDs. You should really just use a regular condom when you have sex with your sister, Poster #1.
(USER WAS INFECTED WITH AIDS FOR THIS POST)
MODERATOR: Please do not post in a thread that is about to be closed. Just because it's not closed yet doesn't mean I did not intend for it to be closed. I think I made myself clear in my previous post.
As you can see, the user not only broke the rules by talking back to a moderator on duty, a capital offense, but broke an unwritten rule that the moderator just made up on the spot as well. Not only can you ban the user for one infraction, but you can also ban them for the other when they re-register. How do you keep track of all these bannings? That brings us to our next lesson.