So you’re spending your Fire Watch time on Squad Day dutifully moderating posts, engaging members with follow-up questions and dialogue, and then BAM! you get a Moderation Alert because a Keyword trips the alarm.

So, what do you do?

First, review it – Is it a really bad word?  Imagine the most conservatively prude person you can think of and ask yourself, “Would they be offended if I said this to them in casual conversation?”  If the answer is yes then act immediately to engage the commenter and ask them to remove the word per our Etiquette Guidelines.  Something like:

Hey “you”, “me” here, absolutely no judgement here, but to keep our group super PG and keep the FB bots away, would you please edit the edgy word you used?  I know we have a strict Etiquette Guideline and appreciate you helping us maintain it.”

Second, upon review of the Moderation alert and it really doesn’t seem to trigger a blush from you, then go look at the word in the comment in context.  Why did they use it?  What were they responding to?  Did someone say something that lead to this word?  Is there a fight about to break out?

Not all keyword alerts are bad words.  In fact, some of them like DR, Dave, and Ramsey, are only there to help us monitor conversations.  Other ones like Veterans United and VU allow us to track who is talking about what and if it might be a pending solicitation.

Third, after reviewing did you find a new word that should be on the Keyword alert?  That happens because language evolves and Veterans are very colorful in language.  If you do find something like that please alert Brandi or Nathan and they can update the page.

The Key to any Moderator Alert is to look for context BEFORE taking action.  Only then will you be able to accurately, and fairly, moderate a thread of communication on an open forum.

Now all of that is superb IF the system and responses move quickly and we’re moderating effectively.  What if….

You find a comment with a word that SHOULD have triggered but didn’t?  Act on it immediately. If vulgar and prolific – remove.  If somehow burried in the comment and easily overlooked refer to step one above.  Engage the commenter with a tagged comment in line.

Say there are a few things wrong with a comment – offensive language, tagging or citing a non-vetted person or company, effectively encouraging to commit fraud…

Then you would remove the comment and comment in line, with EMPATHY, that you understand that was a situation they faced and how they went through it but according to guidelines…(cite source) … that isn’t the proper protocol and …. etc.


The key here is to NOT be overly censor focused.  But instead to engage the community humanely and with etiquette, compassion, and support.  Slamming someone for breaking a rule which, quite honestly they probably didn’t read or even comprehend, is not appropriate for a first, second, third time offender (depending on proximity of offenses).  Instead remember to encourage and train them in our community standards.