The ICT Lounge
Section 8.7:
Security in Moderated and Un-Moderated Forums
Forums are websites where users can discuss a variety of topics.

Used properly, forums are an excellent way to learn and to exchange ideas. However, they are open to abuse and are often used for inappropriate purposes such as spamming or phishing.

In this section we discuss
two types of forums - moderated and un-moderated.
Key Concepts of this section:
Understand what is meant by a forum
Know the difference between moderated and un-moderated forums.
Be able to describe security issues of using un-moderated forums.

Online forums
Key Words:
Moderated forum,
Un-moderated forum.
Online forums are interactive websites where people can take part in discussions.

Forums allow users to post their own comments to the website.

Forums allow people to discuss topics.
A moderator is like a forum police officer. They ensure that forum rules are followed.
Un-moderated forums often contain inapproprate topics of conversation.
Un-moderated forums are less secure than moderated forums and there is more risk of being exposed to spam and phishing attempts.
There are two types of forums:

What is a moderated forum?
A moderated forum is one where all user comments are checked by an administrator before they are posted onto the forum.

Sometimes forum administrators are known as 'moderators'.

Moderators will not allow inappropriate comments to be posted to the forum.

Examples of inappropriate material would include:
  • Racist content
  • Rude or offensive content
  • Swear words
  • Spam
  • Phishing attempts
  • Content that is nothing to do with the original topic.
Users who continually break the rules of a moderated forum would likely get banned from using it.

Moderators make sure that forum rules are followed.

What is an un-moderated forum?
Un-moderated forums are also used for online discussions but they do not have administrators or moderators.

Un-moderated forums allow people to post whatever content they want.

As a result, discussions can tend to include offensive and inappropriate content!

Because there are no rules, un-moderated forums are often used for the following inappropriate purposes:
  • Spamming other users with adverts for rubbish products
  • Trying to trick people into giving up their personal data (phishing).

Comparing the security of moderated and un-moderated forums:
The table below compares the relative security of the two types of forums:

Moderated forum
Un-moderated forum
No racist or offensive content.
High chance of being exposed to racist/offensive content.
No swearing.
Comments containing swear words are common.
Less chance of being exposed to spam.
Spam adverts are frequently posted.
Personal data is more secure as forum moderators will not allow phishing attempts to be posted.
Greater risk of being exposed to phishing attempts.

(Personal data at more risk)


Click the above task and answer the questions about security risks of online forums.


Please add your questions/comments below:

Links to Theory Units:
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring