The Avocado

HUGE State of the Avocado: 1/27/2020

Hello Avocados!

So, after the events of the last couple of weeks, the Avocado Mod Team took an entire week to discuss some major and minor changes to how we moderate. We want every Avocado to feel this is a safe, fun space for them, and we think a lot of these changes will help with that. A lot of users expressed concerns that more procedures for moderation would mean less protection of vulnerable groups: please be reassured this couldn’t be further from the truth! These procedures are meant to increase transparency, NOT to decrease mod action, especially action meant to make this a safer space. With no further ado, here are the many updates we’ve settled on.

Access to Confidential Information

  • People who retire from modding will retain access to general chat in the mod Slack, if they wish. This chat does not contain moderation information or confidential information about users or site issues.
  • People who are forcibly removed from the mod team will not, and will immediately be removed from all WordPress, Disqus, Slack, and mod email access.

Downvote Usage by Moderators

On The Avocado, moderators shall not downvote unless on a thread where downvotes are understood to be part of the joke (Strip Club) or between friends who understand that downvoting is a joke between them. On other Disqus sites, moderators are not to use downvotes to target individuals, and are expected to behave as respectful representatives of The Avocado.
Allowances will be made for accidental downvotes, which often happen while browsing on mobile. And if you see a moderator downvote, you are always welcome to contact us to clear things up.
The spirit of this rule is “If you disagree as a mod you should say something, not just downvote.”

Discussing Offsite Interactions

  • Moderators shall not monitor off-site behavior of Avocados unless a concern is brought to us about it. Moderators shall not make decisions about Avocados based on off-site behavior unless the behavior rises to the point of harassment or stalking.
  • Moderators will not use the mod chat as a tool of gossip.

Usage of Private User Information by Moderators

Moderators will never use private email information about users (which we see through WordPress if you have an account) without permission from said user. Moderators responding to direct emails or to WordPress feedback will be an exception. Moderators will not use private email information for non-moderation interactions without permission. Moderators will never ask a member for private information to contact them for non-moderation reasons: if a member wishes to contact a mod for non-moderation reasons offsite, they will ask the mod as opposed to the mod asking them.

Language While Modding/Personal Interaction Style

  • Moderation shall not be rude or derogatory.
  • Moderators should avoid escalating interpersonal conflicts. If a mod finds they’re getting too frustrated with an interaction to engage fairly, they should call on other members of the mod team to take over, or simply disengage when no moderator action is needed.
  • We understand that a ton of mods pushing back in one thread can be intimidating, whether it’s meant to be or not. To that end, mods will avoid piling on when issues arise, whether they have their mod hats on or off, but especially with mod hats on.

Deleting Posts by Moderators

Barring items that need immediate action or obvious spam/trolls, moderators will post a brief explanation for all deleted posts.

To make our jobs easier and increase the consistency of user experience, we will create some canned responses for these scenarios. If you have question for a deletion, you are of course free to ask, and we might give more context if we think it is needed.

Downvote Usage by Community Members

Downvotes are not to be used for harassment of another community member. Harassment would mean regularly downvoting the same person or seeking out posts of theirs to downvote. If you find yourself downvoting someone but never flagging them, we would encourage you to block them.

Harassment can also constitute seeking out particular threads to mass downvote in: i.e. the Women’s Thread or LGBT threads. Joke threads in which this is commonly done such as Strip Club are exempt. If you are concerned about someone’s downvoting usage, reach out to us at

We will not be applying this retroactively, but if you have concerns about previous downvotes or any concerns going forward about them please reach out to us. Related to this, members will not “call out” each other on downvotes but will instead take any concerns to the mod team. This means not @ing someone to say “why did you downvote me, you jerk?” or posting in the OT to say “this jerk keeps downvoting me”, but instead letting the mod team know so we can handle it within the downvoting rules.

Voting on Warnings

  1. Barring obvious spam/trolls, mods will check in with the mod chat for feedback before deleting a post.
  2. Barring obvious spam/trolls, when a warning is being considered, mods will do the following:
    • Open a vote on whether or not to hand out a warning, including relevant context, for currently active mods to evaluation the situation, and vote either Yay, Nay, or Present/abstain.
    • A warning will be handed out if a majority of available mods have voted in favor after two hours, or if a minimum of five mods have voted for a warning before then.
  3. Please note that this means post deletions will likely occur as quickly as always, but warnings may take longer to be issued.
  4. Mods will strive to use their best objective judgement to assess whether or not a situation requires immediate action, but will generally err on the side of caution and try to get more input before acting.

Voting on Bans/Warnings Which Lead to Bans

  1. Barring obvious spam/trolls, mods will check in with the mod chat for feedback before deleting a post.
  2. Barring obvious spam/trolls, when a warning is being considered, mods will do the following within twelve hours:
    • Request a roll call of mods currently active
    • Create an anonymous vote, with relevant context given, for currently active mods to engage in, being able to vote either yay, nay, or present/abstaining.
    • Wait said twelve hours for available mods to vote
    • If the vote isn’t unanimous, a Right of Appeal process will begin. Any mod who has concerns they’d like to state can do so, with the understanding that the rest of the team will listen and process said concerns (as opposed to trying to argue the concern away). After concerns are stated, a second vote will take place.
  3. Warn/ban only if/when a majority vote of “Yay” is achieved, either on the first or second vote.

Voluntary Moderator Retirement

After announcing their retirement to the other mods and the time at which they wish to do so, access to all moderating-related resources will be revoked within 72 hours after the mod’s term ends. Access to non-confidential channels in the mod chat which do not contain moderating-related information will remain open to those who wish to stay there to keep chatting with their friends.

Forceful Moderator Retirement

Moderators should and will be held to the same behavior standards as the rest of The Avocado. We count on you as a community to bring any concerns you may have about a mod to us so we can act accordingly.

For basic rule violations, mods will get two strikes instead of the usual three.

For concerns brought to us by users, we’ll discuss reasonable concerns with the mod team, excluding the mod the concern is about but letting them know a concern was brought to the table, without naming the user(s) who have brought those concerns forward.

If a moderator is removed due to strikes or user concerns, their access to all moderation tools will be removed immediately after the decision is made to remove them as a mod, and an announcement will be made to The Avocado at large to let them know of the mod lineup change.

Editing Posts by Moderators

Moderators will not edit posts by members without permission.

Anonymous Reviews of Moderators by the Community

The mod team will create and publicize an anonymous form where Avocado members can let the mod team know how we’re doing and share any concerns about the mod team as a whole or individual mods. The results of the first collection of responses will be reviewed by DW, Anna, and Kaywise and they’ll bring any concerns brought up to the mod team as a whole, to be discussed and for action to be taken as needed. In the future, other mods may be chosen to review the results.


Moderators will never make use of the shadowban feature, which allows a member to be banned without them knowing it, making any posts they make for the duration invisible to the rest of the community.


When at all possible, any deletions, warnings, or bans will take place through our normal process. In VERY rare cases when an Avocado member is being extremely disruptive, but not enough mods are around to reach a consensus, the mods available may issue a brief timeout until enough mods are available to reach a decision on what actions to take. This will be in the form of a short temporary ban, under 24 hours in all cases.

Favoritism/Modding Fairly

Mods will be as objective as possible when taking moderation action against an Avocado. If any individual mods find they are so biased (positively or negatively) against an individual Avocado that they cannot take fair action, they will check in with the rest of the team and ask if other members can take over. As always, any action will go through our usual process for handling deletions, warnings, and bannings.

Mod Hat On/Off

When mods are speaking as moderators, they will specify that they have their “mod hat on”. As always, a bolded “mod note” or “mod warning” will also be used when making moderation announcements or issuing warnings.

“How Modding Works” Page

Moderators will create an updated “how modding works” post to share with the site at large. This will be a site page that stays under the “Site Info” tab and will be updated as needed. We’ll include all the information outlined here as well as relevant technical notes: what information we see in our mod panel, what information we get from WordPress, etc.