Hi all. I run several Discourse instances, so have a reasonable amount of experience with Discourse from a moderator’s/admin’s perspective. Recently I joined a new community (as a brand new user) running a Discourse forum and made some posts in an active topic in which I included some (slightly) confrontational points and, in response to other posters, a post with a number of links further explaining my position. My 3 initial posts were “flagged by the Community” (or similar language), and marked “ignored”. I received a notification pointing me to the “community guidelines”… (I couldn’t see how my posts infringed them). My post with the links was disallowed by Discourse, claiming it contained too many links. I tried a new tack and created a blog post off the Discourse instance to contain the references and posted a link to the blog post in a second attempt at a response. I was informed by Discourse that my blog was “a blocked site” and my post couldn’t be saved/posted.
Despite my Discourse experience, I got the impression from the specific wording of the Discourse warnings, that a) my posts had been flagged (i.e. seen as offensive/against the community guidelines) by human community members and that b) my blog URL had been blocked by a human moderator. This left me feeling quite angry and unfairly treated by the whole site and its community.
Turns out, it was a couple of days before any human moderators reviewed the situation, by which point, I’d developed a serious sense of hostility towards the site… they informed me that the flagging, the pointer to the community guidelines, and the block on my blog URL were all automatically carried out by Discourse algorithms. No humans involved. They determined that I had not, in their view, infringed their community guidelines, and they reinstated my “ignored posts” and unblocked my ability to link to my blog. They also increased my trust levels to reduce future problems. They also apologised for my negative experience (and agreed that they, too, would have found it unpleasant if they’d been in my position).
I found the wording of the warnings from Discourse ambiguous. I’d be keen to see the anti-spam features and the reporting carried out by Discourse algorithms tweaked to make it very clear that such measures are triggered by automated anti-spam algorithms, and are non-human interactions, to avoid such ill-feeling in the future…