Flag User Profile, Not Just a Single Post


#1

This feature is available on pretty much every large-scale social site out there. This helps a user flag a profile if it’s a spam account and it hasn’t posted yet. Perhaps a member uploads an inappropriate avatar or profile background image. Also, a member’s overall activity may come into question and not a single post. I’ve had all three of these cases happen to me, especially the last one. Because there was no feature to flag a profile, many problems were unreported to me until the creeping problem blew up and I had zero preamble since it was passively aggressively brewing in the background… I found it’s easier for a member to click the flag, choose the reason and hit send so they don’t have to explain in actual text.

And then now I realize since I’m a basic user, I might not have access to this and this feature actually exists. If so, apologies. Don’t know but would like some clarity.


Admin approval of profile changes prior to updated profile becomes live
(Mittineague) #2

Good point

AFAIK other that starting a PM to Mods there is no way for a member to easily “Flag” a profile as “Hey Mods check this out. What d’ya think?”


#3

And that is the problem. Some people just hate tattling on someone and having to explain it, especially if a member feels they are trying to be exclusive and not inclusive. Clicking a few things and having something else say it for them is easier on their conscience. I want members to be able to come to me for anything at all, even if they think it’s “just them”.

If implemented, I’d have it similar to the flag post with the reasons. Perhaps specific to flagging a profile (the reasons I listed in my OP). If a reason isn’t listed and they have to pick ‘other’, then they can at least write a little blurb. If a mod needs to ask questions, they obviously can. This also helps if multiple members flag a single profile for activity.

For example, I have my Predator forum and we are pretty serious about contributing to the conversation and info. We had one new member that never talked about Predators. They posted their own non-Predator content in the gen board. Which, okay, that’s okay. Then they started x-posting their one-line livejournal posts. Since he never attempted to get with the group Predator-wise and then started promoting his journal when no one saw him contributing, they got very upset. But there was no flag user button and it festered until my global moderator was asked by everyone to approach me. Unfortunately, I tend to be regarded as busy and standoffish so they were reluctant to come to me, when I wanted them to. My members have flagged inappropriate PMs to me before so I know they are comfortable clicking a flag. A flagged profile would then alert me to the user’s entire posting history at once so I can see the forest instead of the trees. This is especially true if a bunch of members flag many different posts from the same user. All easier to flag the source (the profile).


(Mittineague) #4

Yes, AFAIK the current approach for Flagging is “post” not "profile"
I expect that @codinghorror will have something helpful to say about this.


(Jeff Atwood) #5

Yeah, there’s no way to flag a profile at the moment. It is something we want to get to, though I am thoroughly unconvinced people spend time really looking at new user profiles, particularly for people who never post… how would they even know the user is there and has a profile to look at?

And once you post, well… flags work fine there.

I strongly recommend you check out Admin, Users, Suspicious though.


#6

Thank you for the reply, understandable.

This is why I am really needing the online presence on a Discourse instance (which I won’t harp on since I already know your stance on it, @codinghorror). My members do rely on it and it includes seeing who is new and what they might be doing. They actively watch the proverbial gates and send me PMs if they catch a spammer. Especially if they know a member who signs up and is not who they seem. I have sections of the site for 18+ and some members have PMed me to report underage members trying to get in or people who are known for illegal activities, before they get a chance to make a post. Sometimes they don’t for the ‘inclusive vs exclusive’ reason above.


(Jeff Atwood) #7

If that’s the case, then turn on manual new account approval – it’s already an option.


#8

That sounds like hitting a fly with a bazooka. Not everyone who signs up needs to be run through. Each new member would have to wait for me to manually approve.

I have a system where a member signs up and posts a new introduction post. That way the entire community is involved welcoming a new member but also feeling comfortable with a new member to see anything personal or any kind of personal fiction or art. It’s a great way to mitigate interpersonal problems down the line.

Me having to manually do it myself while excluding community participation feels counter-productive.

But that’s only my single instance.


(Jeff Atwood) #9

Then users could easily flag that intro post, if that’s the case… you’ve solved the central problem which is without a single post, how do you even find this mythical new user to determine if their profile is kosher?

Not like we have a public member directory, because we don’t.


#10

And to me that is the problem if my members are not able to find new members who haven’t posted yet. An empty account to us is not ‘void until activity’. They tend to be someone who is shy. I’ve encountered this too many times to count.


(Jeff Atwood) #11

Well, you as staff can visit Admin, Users, New periodically to take action on these new users as required.

There is a public user directory plugin in the extensibility/plugins category if needed as well.


#12

I think someone already tried using that and it wasn’t functional.


(Jeff Atwood) #13

It’s open source, so as my friend Miguel de Icaza likes to say, when it breaks you get to keep both halves! :wink:


#14

True, that. Now to find a good Discourse plugin tutorial and I’ll get on the ball with that pronto!


(Tobias Eigen) #15

I created a badge for TL0 users which has helped me to identify people who are new, and it’s available to anyone who is on the site.

It’s a bit basic since you can’t filter or search the resulting list you get, but it does tell you when the user got the badge and the picture and username give a hint at who this new person is and whether it’s a spam user that needs to be deleted.


#16

Now that sounds like something I could use! Can all members see it? Or just the admin?


(Tobias Eigen) #17

badges are configurable… I have set it up so they are publicly visible but I don’t publicize it or include it on the badges page because it’s not really that helpful to other people at the moment.

Hop over to this thread where we are talking about this:


#18

I’ve seen a few inappropriate profiles, like “Dixie-Normous,” “iTerrorist,” etc. It would be nice if other users could flag these since I never get PMs about inappropriate profiles. Users like the flag button much more


(Joshua Rosenfeld) #19

I would also like to chime in regarding the need to flag a “user” versus a post or topic. We had 2 situations at Stonehearth (the first of which was a big part of the reason behind the request for staff controllable blocking), the second of which we used the new blocking feature, where the issue we found was with the user, not any specific post. The first issue was an inappropriate username, the second an inappropriate profile picture. While in both of those cases we flagged the post and used the “Something else” option to detail the issues, there was nothing wrong with the posts - in fact, both posts were actually useful reports of bugs!

Edit: Seems that the descriptions for flags of a user might need to be a bit different, though. Not sure a user could be “off topic”, though inappropriate and spam could work with some rewording. I would suggest removing off-topic, rewording “It’s Spam” to “This user is a spammer”, and “It’s Inappropriate” to “This user’s name, picture, or profile information is inappropriate”.


(Robert McIntosh) #20

Resurrecting old, but not-closed thread:

It would be very useful to Admins to enable other users the option to flag a user’s profile and not just their content. The point of the flagging system is to allow members to help moderation and not make this solely the admin’s job.

The situation specifically arises when a new user creates, and specifically if they edit, their username or add a profile image.

While the content they post may be in itself acceptable, they may have chosen names or images that the community does not consider appropriate, or maybe their contribution as a whole could be unacceptable.

It is possible for admins to monitor this by keeping an eye on new registrations and on admin settings such as ‘suspicious’ users, but members can have several days (default: 3) to edit their username, so this could fly under the radar.

example 1:

  • member signs up as ‘nothingbutkittens’ and interacts enough to get higher trust level
  • before username change deadline expires (3d), member changes username to ‘buymyproductX’ and updates profile image; continues to interact normally but each post now contains brand reference and image

example 2:

  • member signs up with a username that appears fine and interacts normally
  • in fact username actually contains inappropriate term or reference (foreign language? e.g. ‘putamadre’) now linked, in searches, to the community

Users CAN use content flags to notify admins, or they can take the time to send private message to admins, but this seems very indirect when members are supposed to be able to help with moderation.

In putting together a draft username policy for my new Discourse-based community it seemed relatively standard to have this option (from experience) so I was surprised to see it is not currently possible. Will this feature be added?