Moderator action "posts" don't stand out enough

(FichteFoll) #1

I did mention this about a year ago, but it was inside of another thread and not the core topic, even though it deserves to be one.

Using this topic as an example, you can see a bunch of “moderative posts” (which is what I’ll call them) that tell you that something has been done. They look like normal posts and they are written in the first person perspective, but they are not normal posts, and I feel like the yellow background is not enough to tell that “action has taken place”. It was worse when the background was a slight blue.

So, why is this a problem? Well, I currently see two issues with this:

  1. As I saw these the first time I immediately thought: “Why do these people create such a lengthy post for closing a thread?” I know it’s common practice to announce who closed a thread so that users know where to address their complaints (I moderated a community for a while), but in that case this is a lot redundant information.
  2. It looks like a normal post and not like something created automatically. You can even like it or bookmark it - or flag and reply to it. I guess being able to reply is reasonable since it opens a public discussion about a moderator decision, but all the other stuff is unnecessary and even that is not really useful in 95% of the cases.

As an example for where this is handled differently I’d like to point to github’s issues. (Random example issue)

As you can see, action is clearly different from comments and it is immediately obvious what action has been performed due to the icons.
In a place dedicated to discussions (such as discourse) comments and action should be visually distinguishable even for first-time visitors.

Mockups for a lighter "moved" notification
(Jeff Atwood) #2

You should be able to like moderator actions. Have had plenty of people like the closing of a contentious topic. Editing is also possible to clarify why the action was taken. You might also flag to bring it to the attention of other moderators or to dispute the action.

A lot of this seems to hinge on your personal opinion that the yellow background is insufficient for marking moderator actions in a topic.

First, I disagree, and second, I have yet to see a single actual user across dozens of Discourse instances who has ever been confused about this.

(Kane York) #3

How does this CSS look? It shrinks down the post.

.moderator {
    margin-bottom: 0; 
    margin-top: 0;
.moderator .topic-meta-data {
    padding-top: 10px;
    margin-bottom: 0;
.moderator article {
    background-color: #ffffc2; border-bottom: 10px solid #ffffc2;

(Jeff Atwood) #4

The post controls need to appear for the reasons I stated. Every moderator action is a part of the discussion.

(FichteFoll) #5

[quote=“codinghorror, post:2, topic:13582, full:true”]
You should be able to like moderator actions. Have had plenty of people like the closing of a contentious topic. Editing is also possible to clarify why the action was taken. You might also flag to bring it to the attention of other moderators or to dispute the action.[/quote]

Sounds reasonable. I didn’t know you could edit them.


I do not want to go through that discussion again.

I’ll experiment with some CSS, just like @riking did, and see if I can come up with a good proposal that is visually appealing and different enough from regular posts while still being part of the discussion.

Edit: Something I just realized: The same yellow is used for highlighting hotlinked post. This is definitely confusing until the highlighting wears off.

PS: For some reason the edit box refused to let me use “ctrl+v” to paste something that I just copied from the edit and would not work again until I reloaded the page. Can anyone confirm this?

(Bill Ayakatubby) #6

This is why your complaint from a year ago got overlooked. Bugs and potential issues should be reported in their own dedicated topics.

(Jeff Atwood) #7

Now this is a completely legitimate complaint. @awesomerobot?

(FichteFoll) #8

The color is imo not enough, the form should be different. Color is a bonus though.

How about this (shamelessly ripped from github but a good example icon):

Notice that I intentionally moved the user data column to the right to “disrupt flow”.
It’s a similar color as used for code blocks but I wanted it to relate to the icon’s color. I tried to make it span the user data column as well but since it’s not as high as the post itself it looked terrible and I didn’t bother to add a wrapping div for that. This should be enough for show off.

(Pyro) #9

Still I would keep it yellow:

“Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads.”

Source: Color Meanings and Moods

(Michael Downey) #10

Do you really want users to focus extended concentrated on the notification? I doubt it. They need to notice that something has changed and keep moving down the page.

Highlighting is good if it’s used sparsely (best practice is ~ 10% of any given page). I’d argue the purple color shown above has too much contrast and would be found overly distracting.

Don’t forget about the power of a heavier font weight when scanning a page of posts. Bold text has been shown to be one of the most successful ways to call attention to text when a user is scanning a page. In fact, I bet you noticed the previous sentence before the rest of my post. Meaningful icons help too when scanning a long page of posts, and Font Awesome has plenty that could probably cover the applicable actions here.

(Pyro) #11

My main point was supposed to be its usage in official documents. Increasing users’ concentration is just another benefit and won’t exhaust their capabilities. I can’t see a single reason to change the background color. For me it’s visible enough.

(Sebastien Miquerolle) #12

On my dark theme forum, I use the yellow font color:

My users like to see directly which post are from “robot” / moderation, and skip it. Yes giving attention to this post, to ignore it.

I agree but I have an issue with the activity of the moderator:

Are we forced to see the “moderator” activity and the “normal” activity on the same timeline ?
Is it possible to have another post activity list like: ? or maybe a filter.

(Kris) #13

just submitted a PR, now the highlight state is blue and the admin state is yellow

(FichteFoll) #16

Something I just realized regarding the “posts moved” actions: The actual posts moved are not linked. You only vaguely see where something hase been moved to but you don’t know what has been moved.
That makes it really hard to actually comment on the action (as you somewhat pointed out earlier) because it’s non-transparent.

(Jeff Atwood) #17

Not true, the posts are linked (but only the first one in the group) to where they came from.

It would be extremely noisy if every single move post was linked back to the move staff message. Right now only the first one is. But there is a link on both sides.

(FichteFoll) #18

The link specified for that action redirects me to the original post which contradicts the “existing topic” part. Am I missing something?

(Jeff Atwood) #19

Let’s consolidate this topic with a related one:

@eviltrout will be working on it this week, hopefully.

(Jeff Atwood) #20