Posts are hidden after a single flag

The user that has 5.0 as accuracy on tl0 has 100 accurate flags, so I can understand why he gets a high score, but that user does not want to hide flags with one post, he wants to notify that he thinks this is inappropritate and see if the other uses agree. At least that is true for the users that contact us an compain. I can also find other uses with 100% agree rate and only 5 flags, they have the same power, and then I assume the number of approved flags will quickly rise.
I can also see a user with 84 % agree on 37 flags, he gets accuracy of 4.2, which is enough to hide stuff with one flag on tl0 and low sensitivity.

If he hides stuff with the first flag he cannot flag slightly inappropriate stuff, but needs to learn to wait until someone is way out of line.

Our user are accustomed to the 3 strikes and you are out, so please consider making that an option again, at least while you are tuning the system. We are considering downgrading to an old version of the source if this is not possible, but are slightly worried about the data consistency of the backups when downgrading.


Please give us a little more time to make tweaks.

I definitely see the issue here with one user being able to hide things not being desirable, and the piggy backing on other flags. I have a couple ideas and will have something to try shortly.


Sounds good, if you want feedback directly, feel free to outline your ideas.
If I can get to a state where 3 to 5 flags hide an inappropriate post, I would be happy, and experienced users would get more say then new users.


I strongly second this, I meant to reply a lot sooner and chase up getting more info on the forum-specific settings for where I moderate, but unfortunately some very serious personal stuff got in the way.

It would also be great if this information was also visible to moderators please, who are going to be the ones interacting with members and flags in most cases on most forums.

Saying “three flags hide a post” was something everyone could understand, without any problems, knowing they could drop a flag to say “hey, I’m not sure about this”, which would bump it right to the top of the list for the next Staff to log-in, and that if 2 other members also felt the same, it would hide the post, but no-one’s actions alone would cause anything drastic.

Something that is equally easy to explain to members, for that so-desirable member-moderation aspect unique to Discourse, would be really nice, if possible please.

Meanwhile, a trustworthy TL3 member whose flags I intentionally Ignored to get his weighting down to 51% was still able to hide posts with a single flag, and this issue has continued to cause periodic problems on topics where passions were already running high (hence the flags) when people see their reply immediately getting hidden, which has significantly increased moderation workload.

Making those visible to, not editable by, moderators, who as I said are the main people involved with flags on a day-to-day basis, would give me a helpful response where at present I cannot provide one; I requested screenshots of our settings from my admin but he’s been busy and so have I, so your post is describing a thing I unfortunately cannot even see. :slight_smile:

I do not believe we have any custom settings, though.

Adding flag purgatories to users whose flags are not Agreed at a high rate will mean we have to start Agreeing flags which were just to alert mods to check something out, and risks creating a new pitfall. Especially if it’s only visible to admins (sorry to keep harping on that one).

Therefore, if this kind of thing is created, please consider giving moderators a manual way to see who is in flag purgatory, and to increase someone’s weighting back up (or down) manually? Moderators can already change and lock Trust Levels, and this is very similar. :slight_smile:


Just want to say that I strongly third this. :slightly_smiling_face:

The way that @Ubik put it rings true for me: while the new system is smarter and might make correct decisions in the long run, it is much harder to explain to members. Many members in my community do not understand the new changes, which in turn causes lots of confusion. This confusion has caused animosity between some members. The prevailing conspiracy theory is that there is a band of malcontent members flagging new posts to hide them, when in reality it was a single flag that auto-hid the post.

As @Pekkanen said, if we could get to a point where 3-5 flags hide a post, that would be ideal!


Most of this discussion has, naturally, been about statistics and settings.

However, something I need to cover because it’s very important is that flags are not always a binary issue, “Agree with flag because the post needs to go” versus “This user has flagged wrongly and needs to be downgraded,” with no middle ground. I’ll give examples below:

From my own experience, users who flag the most are often pointing up minor things before they become problems, or requesting a check on someone because they spotted word use matching that of a previously-banned miscreant, or maybe they just want mods to look over a topic and see whether it’s in need of some guidance.

The members whose flags are most helpful because of this kind of sensitivity are not always going to have every flag Agreed (and as I understand it, Agreeing a flag has an effect on the flagged user’s progression to TL3, so Agreeing is not an appropriate default action).

The forum I moderate has been actively engaging our TL3 members with the moderation process ever since we moved to Discourse, we have regular conversations by PM and through topics in the Lounge about matters relating to moderation and how the rules are applied etc., Regulars know they can ask questions, query the precise reasons for any decision, and give feedback & suggestions, and this has been extremely successful and well-received.

Having flags cast for the smallest hint of suspicion of a problem has significantly reduced moderation workload, by catching things early, and as a result the forum is sure to have over a dozen people with what amount to mod-lite powers, and the confidence to use them, online 24/7/365. This has kept our forum stable and cohesive, even as our membership expanded rapidly since the move to Discourse.

It’s also highly effective: Regulars getting involved because they’re confident using flags means that we’ve seen would-be trolls and spammers cut off within a few minutes, and because they see the positive effect of being able to engage as guardians of the forum, Regulars have also stepped up in a big way to guide newer users and show them the ropes, which has had a positive effect on the entire culture of the forum.

TL3 Regulars also know they can take or leave this, it’s not a duty they have to fulfil, but they have tools to hand the moment they spot a problem.

It’s nigh-on the perfect system, and it all hinges upon flags being 1. comprehensible and easy to explain, as they used to be, and 2. members, including TL1 & TL2, being encouraged to feel confident that nothing happens as a result of a single flag, so don’t worry about errors, just act when you see anything that concerns you.

Experienced moderators have false positives pretty often (just like the TSA, doctors, and anyone whose role it is to look for problems): we suspect someone, but then that turns out to be incorrect, and members can expect to have more, not only due to inexperience but also because they can’t check IP addresses or see someone’s previous Deleted Posts, so encouraging people to be confident about using flags does require the assurance nothing bad can happen, to anyone, as a result of a single flag.

And finally, flags becoming more of a “do or die” thing, with one of the two users involved risking loss (X% closer to flag purgatory/one-fifth of a strike against TL3 for a year), presents mods with another level of information to bear in mind, and set of decisions to make, when a flag is raised:

  1. What do I need to do about the flagged post and/or person who made it, which is part of the job, but now also
  2. Do I Agree this flag against someone who didn’t break a rule, or diminish the weighting of the person who flagged in good faith?

Untangling some contentious topics or disputes can be time-consuming and complex enough anyway, without that added consideration! :slight_smile:

Factor in that many users of forums do not have English as their first language, and may be reading posts by other users halfway round the world for whom English is also not primary, and that adds another reason flags may be raised, with sincere intent, against a user who’s done nothing wrong.

With those complexities in mind, if the following isn’t possible (or desirable):

… please keep Ignore so that neither the user flagged, nor the user who raised the flag, see any change in weighting or progression towards a higher Trust Level. Ignore would maybe more usefully be termed “No Action,” even?


So this happens on the BBS as well, where the “something else” flag is often used to “bring something to the attention of the mods”, which may or may not include an intention to add flag weight to the post.

I wonder if offering the capability of the something else flag type to send a message to the mods should be decoupled from flagging a post, in the same way, the “I want to send a private message to this user” is (same popup, different effect).


I don’t think there’s a problem this will solve, because the issue is that the other flags are doing too much, not that Something Else needs to do even less. :thinking:

Creating tiers of alerts and then conveying this to all members (not just Regulars, and many of whom are using online translation or have limited English) adds another layer of time-consuming work for Discourse moderators, many of whom, like me, balance volunteer modding with busy lives, and also another change for users to adapt to, with no clear benefit.

For example I would have to edit a huge load of posts made where I and others have explained how flags work over a lengthy period, posts which could still be found by a new user searching for help, and even after I’ve done all that, there remains the danger of a user who’s not aware of the change doing something wrong, being embarassed when this is explained, and then deterred from future engagement with flags.

(I’ve been trying to refrain from saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” all day but I kind of have to say it here.)

Also, I do not always rush to click a new PM notification if I’m doing other things in different tabs (like paid work unconnected to the forum, or answering on a topic, relevant to the subject discussed) but will always attend at once to a red flag icon.

My actual dream scenario would be for TL3 to have an additional flag option on the menu, which IS configured to hide a post with a single click, and which sends a notification PM to Staff (and consequential email, if not logged in) saying something like “Rule violation: I have hidden this post pending Staff review” with a field to add any other info, and then each forum can decide which specific rules (beyond obvious things like threats) they want to tell their Regulars to use this for.

That would give the most frequently-needed & useful capability of Discourse TL4, without requiring careful training of users regarding what they can/should edit, and when & how to use the other functions like topic merge, split, close, etc.

And hell, while I’m at it, for mods to have the option to get a PM generated by ALL flags, containing reason (Inappropriate, Off topic etc) and the subject of the flagged topic/post + oneboxed size excerpt.

This isn’t about having the PM, obviously, it’s about the email it generates when logged out, which assists triage and time management. I can explain more about how this would help if anyone wishes to know.


I’ve been held up on a bunch of other tasks but if all goes well I’ll make some movement on the issue of stuff being hidden with one flag early next week.


So the idea is, secret collusion to flag the same post, even though flags aren’t visible? Behind the scenes there could be implicit agreement to flag in lockstep? All they’d get out of that is success in hiding the post rapidly, though, because these flags would eventually be reversed by staff, hurting flag weight for all flaggers, so they do pay a long price for this behavior in terms of reduced flag weight?

An advanced solution would be to notice the collusion and add an additional penalty but that is very complex.


In most cases, this is a single user messaging to say "I’m not sure if this message deserves a flag or not, but based on my interpretation of [the post | the mod policy], you might want to look into it.

Less novice users might do this as a PM to a specific moderator (or less likely to @moderators), but the most common form of such comments is a “something else” flag.


I see.

I don’t know that I agree with this, though. If it bothers a person enough to send a “something else”, that is indeed a flag. Granted the weight of it could be shifted down (or even up), but clearly something is amiss.

I’d support reducing weight on that particular flag though if you think it is warranted, because its meaning is kinda nebulous.


Thankfully this already exists!

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Oh, so you can adjust that particular “something else” flag weight? Do we offer that as a setting @eviltrout, the base flag weight for each flag type? What I’m getting at is that a site owner could decide “all something else flags confer no flag weight” and change the base weight of that flag to zero?

Right now it looks like “something else” and “inappropriate” have the same base flag weight?

I tested on and I see 1.0 (flag) + 5.0 (trust level bonus) = 6.0 for both of those flags in the review queue, and the required score to hide a post is 4.0. So right now “something else” carries the same flag weight as “inappropriate” which doesn’t seem correct to me?

I don’t follow this statement, because ignore is already retained for all flags in my testing, above?

So if you want to give a particular flag zero weight… just press the ignore button? Am I missing something, here?


Yes - the setting is under ”settings” in the review queue. It only allows for low/medium/high, however.

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Aha, everything defaults to “low” so presumably 1.0 is the floor. Should we offer an “off” or “none” in this list @eviltrout?


Using Ignore directly reduced a TL3 member’s weighting, I have observed this and tested it by repeatedly Ignoring, not Disagreeing, flags raised by a specific TL3 member over a period of time until I got them down to 51%.

Would a re-test with a created account be helpful? I am willing to run that test and post exact metrics with screenshots, assuming that will replicate it.

If that means it will not reduce the flag-caster’s weighting nor add 1 to the Flagged Posts > max of 5 under Requirements for Trust Level 3 then yes, giving a flag zero weighting would be the hoped-for outcome.


Oh, I don’t think that should be happening at all. Ignore, to me, means “pretend this never happened”. I’m sure @eviltrout can factor that in next week.


The issue here is ”ignoring” a flag still adds weight to a post. If the plan is to have ignore really mean ignore, then it’s important that ignored flags not count towards flag weight on a post as well.

I suppose this would also change the user flag ”agreed” indicator as well, since that also takes ignored flags into account?


Okay here’s my action list for this week:

  1. Make sure ignore does not affect the user’s accuracy.

  2. Remove special case where TL4 people immediately hide non-TL4 user content with one flag.

  3. Prevent non TL4 from instantly hiding content with one flag, regardless of score:

    I will likely be adjusting the hidden thresholds. Right now they’re based on scores being above a certain percentile, which I think is far too low in the case of hiding. I will be basing my calculations on a default that’s closer to 3 flags per post and go from there.

    It’s quite likely I will add back a setting for min flaggers to hide in the meantime. I believe this will work for 90% of the complaints here. Scores are still useful for sorting the most egregious stuff to the top so it should work