Leaders should be able to PM people who have them muted

I had to re-categorize someone’s post and went to PM them explaining why. For some reason they had me muted, and I could not PM them:

TL4 should be exempt from muting so we can send PMs regarding forum moderation (as that is one of the primary roles of a Leader).

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Hmm, I’m not sure. What do you think @erlend_sh?

(also that message looks like a bit of a bug @techAPJ?)


The way I set up the PM was:

I’m guessing there are two “Sorry, …” messages because there were two recipients. I am not muted by the group though (if that’s even possible), and am a member of it if that has an impact.

Did the user mute you individually, or did they simply have PMs turned off?

As a “citizen moderator” I agree that TL4 should be able to PM users who have generically turned off PMs as this helps with the overall management of the community

However, it is possible that there is an issue between the two users, and allowing a TL4 to bypass a specific mute is not necessarily positive for relationships. In that case, it would be better for the TL4 to escalate any moderation issue with that user to a Staff Moderator or Admin.


Muted me individually, as another Leader was able to PM them.

I would disagree with this one. One of the main purposes of community moderators is to distribute the workload, so having to ask forum moderators to PM a user every time they need to be PMed is counter-productive. TL4 users have a certain amount of trust, and if they abuse this trust and their ability to bypass mutes, then they can just be demoted to a lower trust level.

I know why the user has me muted in this case. Years before I was TL4, we would butt heads over feature requests, and the mute persists to this day.

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For me, that would be all the more reason for me to recuse myself and defer to a hopefully more objective Moderator.

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It’s counter-productive to have “community moderators” that said community feels the need to mute.

If they don’t agree with the things you say they may also have issue with the things you do.

I would be interested on running a report of TL4 users who have been muted by anyone - it could warrant a manual approval stage before giving them access to more power and influence.

If the forum has community moderators that the community feels the need to mute, then they should be removed as a community moderator. Otherwise, they should not be prevented from doing their job. These are community members trusted by the forum staff to manage the forum.

And to clarify @Mittineague and @Stephen’s concerns that this is the community moderator’s fault: this is not the first time we’ve encountered the issue with this particular user – he uses the mute future generously.

I think you misunderstood me. I was saying that in the specific case where a user has muted a particular TL4 and that particular TL4 user needs to contact them to moderate them, then it would be better to escalate the issue. If they’ve already muted them, they are unlikely to respond well to the request, so there is little point.

I’m not saying that all requests would need to be escalated.

I would also agree with @Stephen’s suggestion that Staff should monitor the activity of TL4s because getting muted or flagged on a regular basis is a warning sign but demotion is manual in this case (which makes sense since it could be triggered maliciously). I doubt it is something that needs built into core, but larger sites that rely on TL4s for moderation might want to have a Data Explorer query for this.


As a simple user I would like only the staff of the site had the power to send me PM regardless of my preferences.
The decision to mute other users, even TL4, should be respected.

It seems a more unique case than rare. In this case, communications via PM should pass from a member of staff or from other TL4 users who have not been muted.

In your case the Message button should not have been visible. It would have been clear immediately that you could not send a PM because you had muted.

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The only difference from moderators and TL4 on our forum is that moderators process flags and TL4 doesn’t. PMing in response to posts made on the forum is done by both moderators and TL4. If you can’t mute moderators (staff), then you shouldn’t be able to mute TL4. There is no valid case for muting TL4. This is something that should be up to the staff who run the forum – if you don’t like their decision in Leaders, you can send a complaint to them or leave.

My reply was not meant to imply fault in any way. Only that because there was “history” - regardless of fault - it would be best to defer to an impartial party.

I think of it more like Trust Level 4 members have enhanced forum level abilities, while Moderators have those abilities and also account level abilities.

That is, while TL4 members can and should be able to “do cleanup” of the forum anything involving member accounts should be left for Staff to deal with.

I’m not particularly fond of the Mute member feature, and I don’t use it. But obviously many do feel a need for it. Knowing what reason any member might feel the need to Mute another member is beyond me. Anyway, I think you may be assigning “more than a member” aspects to TL4 members when they are only members after all, albeit with extra abilities.


Communities apply TL4 differently so in the absence of more granular permission controls I’m in favor of keeping the status quo since there’s no clear upside in rocking the boat.

Considering any TL4 user already has some relationship with staff, it won’t be hard for them to escalate this type of issue in the very rare cases it occurs.