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A Quick Guide to Moderating Your Form


  • A Quick Guide to Moderating Your Forum

    So, you’ve suddenly (or not so suddenly) found yourself in the position to moderate a forum and you’re not sure what to do. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what to do or when to do it, that’s something you’ll have to figure out on your own or with your admin. But! I can and will tell you how to do it.

    Moderating a forum isn’t hard, especially with vBulletin’s conveniently located Moderation Tools menu. The forum you’re moderating should look something like this

    If it doesn’t, contact your admin and have them double-check to make sure you have the right permissions.

    The Moderation Tool Menu and How to Use it
    Like the steps to a dance, the basic actions for moderating your forum are the same. It’s all the variations that are different and allow you to do different things. That said, let’s give you the basics so you can be on your way.

    The Moderation Tool menu is located at the bottom of both the thread list and post displays. It houses everything you need to moderate your forum from the options to close a thread to retrieving a deleted thread. What you want to do is select the thread you want to act on by clicking the checkbox to the side of it.

    For posts, this checkbox can usually be found in the top right hand corner beside the post number.

    Once you’ve made your selection, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the button in the bottom right hand corner. You can find it located above the “Quick Navigation” menu.

    From the dropdown list, select the action you want to take and click .

    Note: The options you see may be different depending on the moderation permissions assigned to your account.

    vBulletin will then carry out your requests or, if it isn’t available for that item, popup an error message. I’ll cover some of the more common reasons why this occurs later in the document. Other than that, you’re done. It’s really that simple. Everything else is just variations on a theme.

    Types of Threads
    Now that you’re a moderator, you can change what a thread does or does not do with the moderation tools. You control whether or not a user can post to it, whether it stays at the top of the heap and even whether or not other users can see it. Below are descriptions of the most common types of threads you’re going to run in to. As I said above, the way to change these threads is very easy; all you have to do is find the right option on the Moderation Tool Menu.

    Open vs. Closed Threads

    An open thread is a thread that users can post in, while a closed thread is a thread that users can no longer post in but can still read.

    Sticky Threads

    A sticky thread is a thread that ‘sticks’ at the top of the thread list in the forum. No matter how many other threads are made, it will remain at the top.

    Approved vs. Unapproved

    One of the things you’ll want to find out from your Admin what sort of forum you’re moderating. There are two kinds: the kind that requires a moderator (you!) to approve threads and posts and the kind that don’t. If your forum needs you to approve a thread or post, it means that any thread or post a regular users makes won’t show up until you say it’s okay for it to appear. If it doesn’t, then posts and threads will show up normally.

    Three Ways to Delete a Thread/Post
    There are three different ways to delete a thread/post. Which you use depends on what you want to do with the thread/post after it’s been deleted.

    Soft Delete
    The first way hides the thread/post from non-moderator and non-admin users, while leaving it visible to moderators and users. It allows you to restore it at a later time and doesn’t totally remove it from the database. It’s sort of like moving files from your desktop to the trash can, until you empty the trash can, your files are still there.

    To delete the thread/post by hiding it you first select the thread/post you want to delete and, like usual, go down to the Moderation Tool Menu and locate the “Delete Threads/Posts” option. Select it and hit the “Proceed” button. This screen will load:

    The “Soft Delete” option is selected by default, so all you need to do is click on the button.

    Note: The "Keep Attachment" Option
    vB4 will not save your attachments by default. It will actually delete any attachments in the thread or the posts even while it keeps the contents. If you want to save the thread’s attachments, select the “Keep Attachments” checkbox beneath the “Soft Delete” thread.

    Physical Delete

    As you probably noticed, there was a second option on the form. The “Physically remove” delete option will remove the thread/post from both the site and the database. This means that you won’t be able to recover the thread/post at all. Using the same comparison I used above, this would be the equivalent of emptying the trashcan.

    Delete as Spam
    Ok! So the last and final delete option you have is called the “Delete Posts as Spam” option. This option allows you to do all of the above, as well as a few other nifty things like banning the spammer or deleting all their posts.
    If you go through the usual steps and select eh “Delete Posts as Spam” option, the following form will open up:

    It’s almost the same as the other form except for two additional sections.

    The top most section has two choices. The first allows you to delete all the other posts and threads started by the user(s) who made the original post. This is especially helpful if it’s a spam account that someone used to cover your forum in spam posts.

    The second choice allows you to submit data to an Anti-Spam Service, allowing them to improve the services they supply.

    The bottom-most section also has two choices. “Do nothing” is selected by default. This means that vB4 will follow the options that you selected in the two sections above and do nothing else to the user. The “Ban these users” option, on the other hand, will ban the user from posting on the forum ever again.

    • tat2guy
      tat2guy commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi new to the forum and was trying to find out how to close a thread. Went to basic and tried to open the attachment listed above and it say invalid. I have some troublemakers on a thread and need to close it.

    • tat2guy
      tat2guy commented
      Editing a comment
      closing a thread

      Originally posted by Mermaid
      None of the attachments seem to be there.

      Hi new to the forum and was trying to find out how to close a thread. Went to basic and tried to open the attachment listed above and it say invalid. I have some troublemakers on a thread and need to close it.

    • Trevor Hannant
      Trevor Hannant commented
      Editing a comment
      To get vB support on these forums you first need to be a licensed customer and register for Priority Forum Support. To do this, please go here:

      ...and enter your email address in one of the boxes. You'll need to have your customer number and password to access the page.

      If you still have problems after doing this, send an email to Please include your user name, the email address you registered with and your customer number so we can fix the problem.
    Posting comments is disabled.

About the Author


Wayne Luke A curious juxtaposition of nature, technology and sustainability. Find out more about Wayne Luke

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