Making it configurable how much trust level affects flagging score

Hi folks, thanks again to all the Discourse developers and community members for this truly excellent platform :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I’m wondering whether y’all would accept a pull request to make the impact of user trust level / “staff” status on flagging score configurable? Basically, we’d like to prevent moderator/administrator flags from instantly hiding posts, and count them the same as regular users’ (2 points, depending on the user’s flagging accuracy, toward a default threshold of 6 to hide).

As context: I’m one of the administrators of a growing forum, which is increasingly the main communications platform for our international membership organisation.

Because of our specific situation, we’re operating with a rule that all but the most trivial moderation decisions should be agreed by at least two moderators – there are some serious factional battles raging, and when moderators or administrators have taken unilateral action it’s exacerbated disputes, in almost all cases.

Ideally, we’d love to see a whole set of additions to the review queue – making it so that hitting “Agree + HIde” is a vote rather than immediate action, and providing a PM thread between @system and @moderators for every item in the review queue, to be able to make a note of the rationale for decisions – but it seems like being able to twiddle a settings knob to dial down how much extra weight admins and moderators are given for their flags would get us most of the way. Currently, we’re asking moderators and admins not to flag at all, and to raise issues with @moderators directly – which often ends up meaning that when moderators/admins notice problematic posts, they end up being dealt-with slower than posts flagged by regular users.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts :pray:

I am not sure how configurable we want all of this to be? @codinghorror / @eviltrout / @Roman_Rizzi ? The concept of “not fully trusted” moderator does worry me.

At a minimum we would probably agree to a PR adding proper hooks, or organising core a tiny bit so it is cleaner to override in a plugin.

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Have you tried adjusting the hide_post_sensitivity setting to Low? That would make the threshold harder to reach. Here on meta, it goes from 13.96 to 20.94.


Thanks for the replies folks!

@Roman_Rizzi, we haven’t tried changing hide_post_sensitivity because we’re happy with how many non-admin/moderator flags it takes to hide a post (and raising the threshold would mean bad posts getting hidden slower). This suggestion was inspired by that setting, as a similar knob to adjust on the auto-hiding behavior.

@sam, yeah, this does come down to making it more configurable how much trust to put in moderators. Our situation is that we’re a fiercely democratic organization, arriving in large numbers onto our Discourse forum from some frankly-toxic mailing lists, and requiring at least two moderators to weigh in on decisions has been really helpful to avoid escalating conflicts, and give us more of a mandate from community members to moderate. I can imagine some other forums in similar positions, but I have no idea how many, and if this seems too far away from the goals of core then I’m happy to put in the work to make a plugin instead.

Do you have any preferences as to how those hooks would work, if so (I haven’t done anything with hooks so far)? I see the :reviewable_score_updated hook in app/models/reviewable.rb – maybe a :reviewable_user_score_calculated hook in ReviewableScore.user_flag_score?

I think @Roman_Rizzi is the best person to weigh in on core extensibility here.

There is a general concept though that kind of makes sense to add @eviltrout / @codinghorror . I think moderators should be allowed to add quick notes on any flag at any state.

That way they could have a clean “lightweight” way of handling edge cases.


(Sam) I think this flag is valid but I am not sure

Then when Jane sees the flag she can act in confidence knowing Sam was on the fence anyway.

Requiring 2 moderators may not be what you want @mint_saxon, this may be simply the case where you want your moderators to have some extra metadata. Having mods need to reach consensus on obvious spam and abuse seems way too heavy.


We could let users leave a comment on each flag just like we do when you flag as Other.

However, if you’re unsure about a flag or need another mod’s opinion, maybe you should use Other and leave a comment? Also, if you’re unsure, you probably don’t want your flag to auto-hide the post. What if we reduce the staff bonus for this type of flag instead?

That’d nail it, from our perspective :hammer:

Adding an area for comments on the other flag types was next on my list to ask your folks’ opinion on, and asking moderators / admins to use “something else” to avoid insta-hiding things would be absolutely fine unless and until the score calculation can be made more customizable.

This might still seem too heavy to you, and fair enough if so, but to be clear we only require any two moderators to agree on things, not all (or even most) of us.