Moderator Guidelines
This page describes guidelines for performing your duties as Moderator in the Battlesnake Community on Discord and Twitch.
Welcome to the Battlesnake moderation team!
This section serves to describe some moderation guidelines for performing your moderator duties.
While all situations will require moderation judgment to adequately handle, these guidelines should serve as a good framework for dealing with situations that occur on Discord or in Twitch chat.
Please always keep these in mind when interacting with other users, resolving conflict, and handing out warnings.

Guideline 1: Lead by Example

Users learn how to act from their moderators. As such, you should be very familiar terms of the Battlesnake Community Code of Conduct and exemplify them to the highest degree at all times.
If you think to yourself “Is this really ok?” then you should consider not doing whatever you are considering, or ask an administrator first. However, it is encouraged to be regularly active and chatting with server members about Battlesnake. Being a part of the community is one of the most important things a moderator can do.
This professionalism should also extend to your interactions with your fellow moderators and the usage of the #moderators-only channel on Discord. Moderators should be open and honest with each other in regards to their opinions of the server management and each other as open communication is key to creating a healthy mod team.
However, criticism should always be constructive and never used to demean another moderator. If you feel that a situation is getting too personal or heated between you and another moderator, step back for a bit or ask an administrator to help mediate the issue.

Guideline 2: De-escalation is Key

The most important thing is to treat other users with respect and patience and always de-escalate a situation before applying harsh punitive measures when possible.
It is easy to lose one’s cool and use one’s authority as a moderator to instantly silence anyone who is starting to break the rules, but everyone else on Discord and Twitch is a member of the Battlesnake community just like you and should be dealt with tactfully.
In most cases, users should be officially warned for all offenses (see note below on communication channels for warnings). However, exceptions can be made for cases where user behavior is non-malicious and borderline or “group” behavior such as:
  1. 1.
    the on topic chat starts to go off topic (give them 10-20 messages and/or a couple minutes to get back on topic before interfering)
  2. 2.
    two people start arguing and it begins to get heated (without devolving into a full on cursing shouting match)
  3. 3.
    someone starts making suggestive remarks that could lead to decidedly NSFW text/pictures being posted
In these cases, the offending party or parties can be gently reminded to steer away from the rule-breaking behavior without issuing an official warning. Please do not hesitate tag moderators in the #moderators-only channel on Discord to request backup if need be, especially if your personal bias towards users in chat may prevent you from moderating fairly.

Communication of Warnings & Corrective Actions

If someone does need to be warned, calmly and clearly explain the reason for their warning without any malice or belittlement and remind them of the proper appeal process if they want to appeal their warning.
Communication channels for warnings and actions should be based on the situation and nature of the actions, and is generally at the discretion of the moderator.
For example, if the warning related to a borderline action which was directed at a group of users, a moderator might choose to post a message in the associated channel and link to the Code of Conduct, whereas if an action is being taken directly against a user for a specific action which contravens the Code of Conduct, a moderator might choose to contact the user by DM.
In cases where action is being taken in DM, it is especially important for moderators to ensure that the actions are logged in the #moderators-log channel.
Users that continue to argue or exhibit the warned behavior can be muted for 24 hours.

Guideline 3: Dealing With a Rowdy Chat

The next thing to know is how to deal with a situation where it is not a one or more users definitively breaking the rules, but rather the general conversation is becoming unsavory or treading close to rulebreaking territory.
In these cases, a simple “Hey guys, this conversation is getting pretty close to breaking the [rule name] rule, why don’t we talk about something else?” is usually sufficient.
If individual users refuse to comply, you can deal with them according to Guideline 1 and take it directly to the “final warning before being muted” step based on the situation.
If groups of people continually tread close to breaking the same rule, it may be worth bringing it up in the #moderators-only chat so that we can adequately address any shortcomings in the rules or deal with instigators.
Please do not hesitate to tag moderators in the mod chat to request backup if need be.

Guideline 4: The Spirit of the Rules

Remember that enforcing the spirit of the rules is more important than following them to the letter. Critical thinking is encouraged over blind adherence to the rules.
If you think that someone should be warned for behavior that isn’t covered by the rules, or that the rules dictate you should warn someone for something that you don’t think they deserve to be warned for, please bring it up to the rest of the mod team before taking action.
The rules are a living document and the moderators should ensure that they exist for the good of the server, rather than accepting them as gospel.

Guideline 5: When and How to Mute and Ban

In line with Guideline 1, Mutes and Bans should not be a moderator’s go to punishment except in the following cases:
  1. 1.
    A user has accumulated a sufficient number of warnings to be muted or banned (ask in the #moderators-only channel for the current thresholds for a user being muted).
  2. 2.
    A user starts spamming, raiding, or otherwise deliberately and maliciously flouting the rules in an effort to stir up trouble in such a way that one can reasonably assume they cannot be reasoned with (in which case they can be muted or banned based on moderator judgment), especially if they lack prior chat history on Discord or Twitch.
  3. 3.
    A user has broken a rule that merits an instant ban or mute.
A user that is muted has the right to discuss the moderation action taken against them by contacting the Community Manager via DM. If a user attempts to appeal their mute or warning in DMs with a moderator, you should instruct them to take their appeal to the proper channels.

Guideline 6: What Constitutes NSFW Content

NSFW content, or Not Safe For Work content, refers generally to sexually suggestive or pornographic images, but may also refer to images with excessive gore or violence. While moderating the latter is not usually an issue (due to gory images being easier to judge and less frequent in nature), what constitutes “too sexual” is a line that is drawn differently for different people.
While some things, such as full frontal nudity and other definitively pornographic materials are easier to classify into NSFW, many cases will be in a gray area. When considering if something in this gray area is too sexual to be considered SFW (safe for work), ask yourself the following
  • Is the art more sexually suggestive than what is in the game itself?
  • Does the art focus on sexual body parts, such as breasts, butt, hips, or genitals?
  • Is the subject making a sexual pose?
  • Is there a significant amount of skin exposure outside of a normal context (e.g., bathing suit art could show more skin than say, someone in a classroom)
  • Is any underwear visible?
If the answer to two or more of these questions is yes, then it is likely the image is too NSFW for the server. However, you can always ask another moderator for second opinions.
Text based messages should be judged based on how explicitly sexual they are.

Guideline 7: Always Log Your Actions

As a moderator, accountability is key to ensure respect and cooperation from the community. Any warning or other moderation action taken against a user should be posted to the #moderators-only channel and should include at minimum:
  1. 1.
    The rule they broke
  2. 2.
    How they broke that rule
  3. 3.
    A picture with proof of them breaking the rule. Any relevant DM conversations should also be included.
Please note that if someone breaks Discord's terms of service with their message that you should use the "delete and report" function to manually report the message to Discord (and delete it) in addition to logging the warning/ban.

Guideline 8: Remember Your Position

Remember that as a Battlesnake moderator, people will see you as an extension of the Battlesnake team, so do not make any claims or even jokes regarding the future development of the game without being clear that it is not an official stance. You should pass along any concerns people bring to you regarding the game to Battlesnake team members or direct them to the appropriate feedback channel and make it clear that you yourself are not part of the Battlesnake team.
Similarly, when answering any questions about the server or the game (especially in regards to its development), do not make guesses, but instead consult with administrators or other moderators before giving an answer. If you are actively chatting with a user when such an issue comes up, you should inform them that you will find a definitive answer and get back to them.
You may express your own personal opinions about the state of the game, the development company, etc., but please be respectful when doing so.