When removing a post or some content from your forums because it violated your guidelines, it is a good idea to let the creator of the post know why, so that they won’t wonder where their post went and so that they will be less likely to commit the same violation in the future.

But, with yourself and however many staff members you may have, how can you ensure that the messages that are going out are consistent and are worded in a fashion that you approve of? How can you save both you and your staff members the time and tedium of having to type up these messages? The answer is contact templates.

Contact templates are pre-written form messages with blank fields that are completed before the message is sent. Let me give you an example of what a contact template might look like, if the violation was cross posting and it was done on KarateForums.com.


Thank you for visiting KarateForums.com.

Unfortunately, I have had to remove your post quoted below as it violated our [url=http://www.karateforums.com/userguidelines.php]User Guidelines[/url] as cross posting.


Cross posting is posting the same content in two or more locations.

Please keep this in mind to prevent further violations in the future.

Thank you for your time and cooperation.


KarateForums.com Sensei

This is how the message would appear in our staff section. Note the BBCode in place, to automatically create a link to our User Guidelines.

Contact templates are created for some of the most common violations of our guidelines, such as inflammatory comments, vulgarities, cross posting and more. We also have a general template that can be used in many circumstances, such as advertising.

I’m not a fan of automation for the sake of automation. I am a fan of automation that improves the quality of your community and helps you to do your job in a more efficient manner. This is such a case.

Contact templates are great because they allow you to maintain a consistent, quality level of communication when it comes to interacting with members and explaining why this or that post may have been inappropriate for your community. They think of most things you need so that you and your moderators do not have to think about them every single time you need to contact a member. They include the proper greetings and they convey the ideas in a respectful manner.

As you can imagine, this also can save you a lot of time because you do not have to type those messages. This allows you, and your staff, to get more done.

As your manage your site, you are sure to notice trends and violations that happen with frequency. These are the types of violations that you will want to create a template for.

How to get started? I would start with the general template and then get more specific from there. You can always take the general one and then create branch templates with specific language for things like inflammatory comments, advertising, etc. The book website has a downloadable archive featuring some contact templates that I use on my sites. You are welcome to use them as a basis for your own.