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Our Community Moderating System

DU members do not need to know all of the information provided on this page in order to participate on our discussion forums. This information is provided in the interests of transparency, so any member who is interested can learn more about how our system works. (Last updated 6/24/2021.)

Instead of utilizing a single group of all-powerful moderators whose job is to handle every aspect of forum moderation (deleting posts, locking threads, banning troublemakers, etc.), we recruit different groups of people to handle different pieces of the system.

DU Juries are made up of discussion forum members who have opted to allow themselves to be selected at random whenever a Jury is needed. Juries handle potential violations of Democratic Underground's Forum Rules. For more information see the DU Juries section below.

Forum and Group Hosts are discussion forum members who volunteer to serve in a particular forum or group. Their role is to deal with posts which may violate a particular forum or group's Statement of Purpose. Forum hosts cannot serve for more than 90 days at a time. Group hosts may serve indefinitely. Members must meet certain criteria before they are permitted to serve as Hosts. For more information see the Forum and Group Hosts section below.

The Malicious Intruder Removal Team (MIR Team) is made up of discussion forum members who volunteer to serve. Their role is to keep the discussion forum clear of conservative trolls, spammers, and other people who join with the intent to disrupt our community. A typical MIRT term last for around three months, and MIR Team members cannot serve more than two consecutive terms before having to take a break. Members must meet certain criteria before they are permitted to serve on the MIR Team. For more information see the Malicious Intruder Removal Team section below.

The DU Administrators oversee the operation of the website. They enforce the website Terms of Service, occasionally review decisions made by the MIR Team or Forum Hosts, and deal with long-term members who cause problems. There are two Administrators and they can be contacted here.


About DU Juries

Democratic Underground has a set of Forum Rules which members are expected to follow when posting, which can be found here.

The Forum Rules are enforced through the combined efforts of members serving on DU Juries, using their own best judgment and common sense to decide whether alerted posts have broken the rules or not.

Whenever a post is alerted for a potential rules violation, our software forms a Jury of seven randomly-selected members. Each Juror then individually reviews the alerted post and casts a vote to either remove it (if they believe it breaks the rules) or leave it alone (if they believe it does not break the rules).

If a majority of Jurors vote to leave the post alone, it remains where it is. It can be alerted again for a different rule violation, but there is no "double-jeopardy."

If a majority of Jurors vote to remove the post:

While decisions are rendered based on the final vote tally, each Juror acts alone. During the Jury Service process they are not able to post messages anywhere on DU, nor are they able to send DU Mail to other members.

Jury service is an anonymous process. Neither the username of the member whose post was alerted, the username of the member who sent the alert, nor the usernames of members serving on the Jury, are revealed to anyone taking part in the Jury process. (Administrators do have access to this information.)

Members may be asked to serve regularly on a Jury, although they will not be asked more than once every 18 hours. A member who is chosen to serve on a Jury is presented with a notification on all DU pages requesting that they participate. They may choose one of three options:

If the member accepts the request within five minutes, Jury Service begins. Members will not be penalized in any way if they miss the five-minute window or turn down a request to serve on a Jury. Even if they have already agreed to serve and begun the process, members may cancel at any time without penalty. Members who never wish to be asked to serve on a Jury can at any time set the "Willingness to serve on a DU Jury" option to "Unwilling" in the Preferences section of their My Account page, again without penalty.

Every DU member has a chance to serve on a Jury, although each member's chance of being chosen to serve varies depending on their post count, length of membership, and a number of other significant factors. Long term members with clean records of behavior stand a much greater chance of being selected to serve than new members or members who have had their own posts removed by a Jury. There are also other restrictions: for example, members will not be chosen to serve on a Jury if they have participated in the discussion thread that includes the alerted post. For a complete explanation, see the "Detailed Explanation of the Jury Selection Process" section below.


Detailed Explanation of the Jury Selection Process

For those who are interested, this sections provides a detailed breakdown of the Jury selection process.

Immediately after a Community Standards alert is sent our software begins to seat a Jury by randomly flagging members who are currently browsing DU. Members are excluded from serving if:

After checking to see if a potential Juror is not excluded, the software then does a virtual "dice roll" against the member's chance of serving. Every member's chance of serving is represented as a percentage and is publicly displayed on their Profile page. A member's maximum possible chance of serving is 100%, and their lowest possible chance of serving is 0%.

Things that increase a member's chance of serving:

Things that decrease a member's chance of serving:

Once a member is selected to serve, they will be sent a request which they can either accept or refuse. If the member does not accept the request within five minutes the software will cancel the request and search for another Juror. If the member accepts the request within five minutes, they are seated on the Jury and can immediately begin to review the alerted post. The software continues to search for Jurors until seven members have been seated. If any Juror does not complete their review of the alerted post within 30 minutes, their Jury Service will end and the software will search for another Juror to replace them.

Forum Hosts and Group Hosts serve a similar function (enforcing a forum or group's Statement of Purpose), however they do not have the same eligibility requirements or powers.


About Forum Hosts

Forum Hosts oversee DU's Main Forums -- General Discussion, Latest Breaking News, The DU Lounge, Editorials & Other Articles, Video & Multimedia, and Community Help. They have one very simple job: they lock discussion threads which violate the Statements of Purpose for those forums. When determining whether a thread violates a Statement of Purpose they must use their own best judgment and only consider the content of the OP (Original Post -- the post which begins the thread).

Forum Hosts are responsible for their decisions to lock threads -- their usernames are made public on any threads that they lock. In addition, only the Host who locks a thread is capable of unlocking it again. Any time a thread is locked, the person who started the thread is permitted to make an official appeal to the Host who locked it, explaining why they believe the thread should be unlocked. If the Host believes the appeal has merit, they may opt to unlock the thread. If the Host believes the appeal has no merit, they may deny the appeal and leave the thread locked.

Forum Hosts can make use of a special access-restricted workspace which essentially functions like a forum or a group. This workspace is provided for Forum Hosts only, in the event that they need help and/or advice from their colleagues when discussing Statement of Purpose violations. While the Forum Hosts Workspace cannot be viewed by DU members who are not Forum Hosts, discussions that take place in the workspace are not considered privileged information and Forum Hosts are not forbidden from talking about them elsewhere. However, Forum Hosts should use their best judgment when doing so.

Because Forum Hosts have a very specific and important role in the operation of Democratic Underground, the Administrators reserve the right to remove any Host -- or in extreme circumstances, revoke the posting privileges of any Host -- whom they judge to be exercising poor judgment or deliberately abusing their powers.

For more information about Forum Hosts including information about how to become a Host, visit any Main Forum, click the "About this Forum" button found near the top of the page, and look for the "Hosts" section.


About Group Hosts

Group Hosts perform a similar role to Forum Hosts, but they have additional powers. 1) They can lock threads which they believe violate their group's stated purpose; 2) they can pin threads to the top of their group; 3) they can block out members whom they believe are not adhering to their group's purpose; 4) they can make other members Hosts of their group; and 5) they can remove any Host of their group that became a Host after they did.

If a group already has Hosts assigned, members who wish to become a Host must contact one of the current Hosts. Current Hosts may select any other member to become a Host, without restrictions. If a group does not have any Hosts assigned, members who wish to become a Host of that group must contact an Administrator for approval. Before assigning a Host, the Administrators may post a thread in the group asking for member feedback.

Groups are not required to have any Hosts assigned. If no Hosts are assigned, then nobody will enforce the group's Statement of Purpose.


About the MIR Team

The Malicious Intruder Removal Team (MIR Team) is empowered to revoke the posting privileges of people who show up at DU with the intent to disrupt. This includes but is not limited to conservative trolls, spammers, and the like.

The MIR Team does not have blanket authority to enforce DU's Terms of Service wherever violations may occur. The narrowly-focused job of the MIR Team is to protect our members by removing malicious intruders.


How the MIR Team Works

MIR Team members can make use of a special access-restricted workspace which essentially functions like a forum or a group. This workspace is provided for the MIR Team only, in the event that they need help and/or advice from their colleagues when discussing potential intruders. While the Malicious Intruder Removal Workspace cannot be viewed by DU members who are not on the MIR Team, discussions that take place in the workspace are not considered privileged information and MIR Team members may talk about them elsewhere. However, MIR Team members should use their best judgment when doing so.

MIR Team members are empowered to review the posting behavior of brand new members. If the MIR Team determines that a new member is at DU to cause trouble, or has been previously banned from DU, they have the power to revoke that member's posting privileges. The MIR Team does not have the power to revoke the posting privileges of long-term members -- that job falls to the Administrators.

Members who believe that their posting privileges have been revoked unfairly may contact the Administrators via email for a review of the situation.

Because the MIR Team has a very specific and important role in the operation of Democratic Underground, the Adminstrators reserve the right to remove any Team member -- or in extreme circumstances, revoke the posting privileges of any Team member -- whom they judge to be exercising poor judgment or deliberately abusing their powers.


Joining the MIR Team

The Malicious Intruder Removal Team is made up of DU members who volunteer to do the job. Team members can serve for a maximum of two consecutive three-month terms after which they must take a break. Every three months, the Administrators will post an announcement asking for new volunteers.

Volunteering is a simple process -- if you are a Star Member with at least six months of membership, a minimum of 1,000 posts, and proof of identity (which is usually provided by purchasing a Star Membership) you are eligible to be selected by the Administrators. There is no application form to fill out or confidentiality agreement to sign. Members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team do not have access to any privileged information about DU members.