Take the trash out, but don’t air your dirty laundry! Common Mistakes Admins Make with Recycling Bin Boards

When it comes to taking out the trash and airing dirty laundry there are two worrying trends happening with new forum administrators. We hope to address both sides of this trend and open up a discussion about the recycling bin; Who should have one? Who should have access? Is it really as useful as it sounds?

Taking Out The Trash

It would appear that many forum administrators don’t know that they can have a board specifically for topics and posts which have been deleted. The great news is you can, and it’s incredibly useful! Recycling bin boards serve three specific purposes:

  1. It keeps posts in a sort of purgatory, so if something was accidentally deleted it can be restored.
  2. It allows mods/admins to screen, and if needed restore, all posts deleted by their members and moderators. Think of it like a deletion approval area.
  3. It can help provide a more accurate moderation record – the moderation centre will still link to the posts which will still be visitable in the recycling board.
    1. This allows new moderators to see what sort of things are being moderated and how (faster training).
    2. This also enables a more accurate record of what each member has been moderated for – Tom might have been moderated 3 times, and with the posts still there you can see it was trolling and flame baiting, not double posting, and take the steps necessary to fix the problem.
    3. If Tom deletes a nasty post (self moderation) it will be in the recycling bin. This means if a member reports it or tells you about it, you have evidence to go on.

At Next Level SMF we can set up a recycling bin for you no problem, but if you’d like to do it for yourself you can simply create one from your administration centre using our handy how to guide.

Airing Dirty Laundry

A startling number of new forums have figured out how to make a recycling board but have it displaying and accessible to the public! This trend is absolutely going to cause issues and turn people away from your forum quicker than you might think.

The saying “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public” can be applied here: why would you want to show anyone the topics and posts you didn’t want in the first place? The recycling bin is specifically for spam, posts that cause moderation issues, double posts…all the posts you don’t want.

By displaying your recycling bin publicly (or even to members), you’re actually hurting yourself in more ways than you might realise:

  1. It turns off new members from joining and scares people away. Seeing peoples dirty laundry is off-putting.
  2. Members who wouldn’t notice their posts have been deleted will notice and kick up a fuss, and if they deleted it they will kick up a fuss that it’s not actually deleted.
  3. It literally highlights all of the bad posts and material your forum has…you should be highlighting the good posts!
  4. Google, and other search engines will index this material. It will essentially be on your permanent record, instead of being removed.
  5. It holds content you removed for a reason, and when people can see it all they might question those reasons, as well as be completely turned off by the fact that it’s still visible. At some point it will cause issues if it has not already.

Sometimes admins have good intentions when leaving this area public, such as to have “transparent moderation practices”. Even though moderators should be held accountable their actions shouldn’t be public. When you moderate a members post chances are they will be embarrassed/upset. If you moderate them publicly you will bring more attention on them, the moderator, and the issue (making everyone uncomfortable). The best practice for moderation is to quietly talk to a member about a problem with the intent to find a resolution that pleases everyone, not to “call members out”.

What do you think about recycling bin boards? What about public recycling bins? Do you find them off-putting? Would you stray from a forum with a public recycling bin? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Comments on "Take the trash out, but don’t air your dirty laundry! Common Mistakes Admins Make with Recycling Bin Boards"


July 16, 2015 2:23 pm

I thought it was common sense that the bin was hidden?

July 25, 2015 5:16 pm

This could just be a warning to forum owners to just double check their settings, in case there are any surprises! I’m sure we’ve all accidentally left boxes ticked when they shouldn’t be before.

July 16, 2015 1:38 pm

Leave your personal issues at home! 😉

June 18, 2015 2:05 pm

Ugggh! I HATE when admins have the recycling bin open! It makes me so uncomfortable! I’m going to link them all here in the future, this sums it up so nicely.