Requesting 4 moderation tools (mostly satisfied by advanced search)

These things have been on my mind as “would be nice,” I delayed posting them due to not having time to run searches on whether they have been discussed, probably best to just post and see if anything is useful:

1: Cloning posts to Staff

The ability to copy/clone posts from public topics and PMs into Staff without triggering notifications to the member/s taking part and without removing the posts from their present locations would be a time-saver.

Example 1: I PM a member about suspected abuse, for example duplicate accounts due to them having a shared residential IP address.

The member replies in a way that makes me believe they may have been attempting to create duplicate accounts, but it’s inconclusive, so I want a record of this in Staff in case of future problems arising with that member, and I want the posts cloned because immediate visibility beats copying in a link, and then having to follow it back out later.

Example 2: a topic goes awry and I delete it, make some posts a PM, or make it Unlisted, and I wish to record the nature of the problem to demonstrate why the person was banned (we have an appeals process, and I don’t want my admins to have to go hunting for reasons), or to aid with pattern-recognition if this person comes back.

Sometimes, copying in responses of other members is necessary to give context to the problematic replies, but those posts may need to stay (perhaps with sections of response edited out) if they used the same post to reply helpfully on-topic as well, and people will sometimes do this, a rebuke to someone being foolish and then a proper reply in one.

Cloning means I can butcher the original topic as needed (and topics where drama is occuring can bloat very quickly, drawing a lot of attention), splitting bits into new public topics or PMs, or unlisted sections if there’s a side-conversation that’s off-topic to the forum but not doing any harm, without needing to worry about leaving accessible links for future reference.

At the moment I have to manually copy-paste the subject of the PM/topic and then use Quote to copy in all relevant posts, including by other members, which is very time-consuming, or fiddle about with screencaps.

If I could access “Clone to new topic/existing topic” from the wrench > Select posts menu, that would simplify things immensely, I could create the new topic in Staff (“Banned MemberX”) and state anything needed, then clone all the posts needed below very easily and without lengthy copy-paste, and it would also be simpler to select an entire PM conversation and clone it to the Staff topic.

Cloning would also be extremely useful if a member has flagged a PM received, where Staff resolving a flag mean that PM is no longer accessible, but where the problem needs to be logged.

2: Marker on a profile

It would be a big help to have some kind of marker that is visible only to Staff that sits either on the person’s avatar at all times, or is visible when viewing their card, that shows there is a topic about them in Staff/that there has been some kind of issue.

Not everything a person does, that is a problem, will be visible as Suspensions, Flags, or Warnings, and when viewing a topic that is becoming overheated or contentious, it would be helpful to have visible alerts for people who have been involved in problems before without needing to check each person’s Summary, and like other forums, it seems, the forum I moderate has many extremely similar usernames based on the forum’s subject matter, so I cannot keep track using memory alone.

3: Some record of all Unlisted topics

Recently I had to try and find a major topic that was unlisted last year after it crashed into arguments and accusations. I fortunately recalled a member in it had posted an unusual thing in an early post and had not posted much since, so I found him via the term I recalled and then used his Activity to find the topic. This felt a bit precarious.

Ideal would be something accessible from the dashboard, a workaround would be to log all topics made unlisted in Staff and I may begin doing this, but this is subject to forgetfulness and also creates work.

4: Sort member Activity by oldest first

Sometimes it’s very helpful to read someone’s earliest posts to compare against things they are now saying, to detect or rule out various kinds of bad behaviour. At the moment this can only be done in Search, but it won’t return all early posts unless I can recall a term or the topic titles to search for.


Have you tried the Staff Notes plugin? I think it would address some of your use cases.

It is also possible for Staff to Tag messages. As long as a Staff member has permission to a message, any Tag it has will make the message accessible from their Profile → Messages page.

As for unlisted topics, those can be accessed by going to


No, not my decision to make so I’ll link the admin who handles these and see what he thinks, thanks. :slight_smile:

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@sam do we have an advanced search clause for unlisted? I guess that is ok as long as Google can’t index the query.

Yeah we have its a staff only thing, not indexed by google.


So to summarize

  1. I’m not at all convinced that “duplicating content is better than a link” – also you can create a staff topic to track certain patterns of misbehavior, or even a particular user. The only exception to this rule is if it’s spammers, where the original content gets deleted.

  2. install the staff notes plugin; that’s exactly what it is for

  3. Use advanced search

  4. Use advanced search – substitute the date and user you need


Patterns of behaviour by a user are best described through evidence, not opinion - “MemberX gets overly aggressive when discussing chicken nuggets” is opinion, whereas 3 or 4 of his posts where he’s doing this and copied in tell their own tale.

Actual posts provide a better aide-mémoire, also permit pattern-recognition for words used, arguments made, etc., which are useful if I suspect new user MemberZ is former suspended MemberX.

This is not hypothetical, word-use is a good way to detect someone returning for a second round of the same behaviour early on.

A topic that bloats due to some kind of problem can end up with some posts in one or more PMs, where they are then inaccessible to anyone not invited, if I used that method to both remove the content and request the user to not do it again; other posts may be deleted (requiring click to the link, 2nd click to open deleted), and further posts may end up being split into a new topic.

Aside from the need to click-through, this disjoints the flow of conversation and makes it harder to follow, which is why I copy conversations in directly using quote/screen captures.

If clone/copy cannot be done, I don’t see me ceasing the previous practice of copy-pasting my documentation in favour of links, because that’s storing up work for the future, and where I have done that rather than copy in quotes, I ended up resenting my former slackerdom, when it was necessary to go over the material again.

Replacing documentation with a narrative based on perception doesn’t appeal, either.

So, copy-paste will remain my solution, which is time-consuming. C’est la vie. :smiley:

Thanks, it should do most of what I want, I have passed the request along to the admin of the forum I moderate. :+1:

Thanks. :+1:

Where would I have found this information? If it’s not somewhere obvious that I overlooked (which is always possible), can the link be placed on the Dashboard?

I think other forum moderators may find this useful, I don’t know what percentage of Discourse forum moderators follow this forum.

That’s great, thank you, but:

  1. Is unexpected to be able to search posts without entering a search term – because that cannot be done from the search box at the top of the page on a Discourse forum, nor is it normal behaviour for most search - you need a term to search for, and who it was posted by is the refinement, not the other way round.

  2. To do this requires:

  • be at Profile
  • open Search as a page
  • type in full or partial name of user
  • select them from drop-down menu
  • scroll to calendar (remembering which date the person first posted from their profile), enter date
  • still can only sort results by Latest Post/Latest Topic
  • scroll down through results, using browser’s scroll bar, so not able to use the convenience of the scroll within the page found on topics
  • no immediate way of knowing if the “50+” means you’re going to have to scroll down 51 topics, or 251, and if you want to get a feel for their posts by reading them in chronological order, that’s a long scroll down, and a slow read back up.

It’s doable, for sure. :+1:

But, I hope you understand why I was hoping for a simple “Oldest first” option, right on the Activity page. :smiley:

And very, VERY few posts can be experienced completely out of context, without all the other posts they are in response to, and the general narrative being collectively weaved in the greater overall topic. Hence links.

So again, I will respectfully but strongly continue to disagree with you on this. Because I’m right :wink:

(The only exception is spammers where the content is forcefully removed from the site; there’s literally no other way to see the content in this case.)

We’d need to see some other requests for the feature, first; I don’t like to build everything and the kitchen sink based on a single data point from a single person.

Sometimes what people need is a bit weird and they should be OK using methods that are a bit weird to get what they want – otherwise you end up with software that has ten thousand obscure options to toggle.



For sure, it was the ability to clone over a whole conversation, before butchering it into new topics and PMs, I was hoping for, though if MemberX replies on his chicken nugget obsession and always blames the reptilians, a post where his new persona does the same would work. Copy-paste (which also includes links) works fine here though.

I completely agree, someone had to make that first post though so I figured, why not me?

I am seriously appreciative not only of Discourse (though it’s ruined using other platforms for me) but also the time you and the rest of the team take to reply on here, this topic is as good a place as any to say a heartfelt thank you for that. :+1:


As long as we can make improvements along the way then we’re all winning :hugs:

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Hello everyone,
Now, how can we install this feature serch unlisted topics?

It’s been reverted because the builds failed.

@venarius Sorry. I reverted this PR since it failed the build.

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This links me to /home. Is this still working? I was looking for a way to see all unlisted topics.

Yes. Visiting that URL should take you to the latest topics list with only unlisted topics being displayed in the list. The ?status=unlisted query param should also work on any category topic list to find just the unlisted topics in a specific category.


Note that if you are not a staff user, this URL will produce an empty list.

Ah, in my board the default /home view is categories and not latest. so, does not work, however gives the expected result.


Hello, what do you all think about another attempt to add unlisted to the advanced search? My use case is that I unlist topics that will create noise. For example, once we resolve a bug, we unlist it because the majority of our users (who are not on our Discourse instance to work on our forum bugs) will just be completely confused if they stumble across that topic. At the same time, I want just a handful of people, our Discourse admins, to be able to read historic information in case something similar comes up.

Rather than Unlisting those topics, you could move them to something like the Staff category that is only visible to Staff? (or create a new category and restrict access to a certain group)

This would make it findable to those select few, while making it ostensibly Unlisted for anyone else.

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I was thinking about this, but the challenge is that we would still want people to be able to see unlisted topics if they get their naturally via a public topic that they can find via search.

Here’s an example.

We have a mega topic that’s about our project to add team collaboration features to our Discourse: Add team collaboration features to the Hub - Internal Comms - Youth Power Hub

This mega topic is linked to a bunch of other topics that are discussing each collaboration feature in detail: Customize Layouts Plug-in - Internal Comms - Youth Power Hub

We ended up not using the Layouts Plug-in so I’ll unlist it eventually, but I still want people who are learning from our collaboration features topic to be able to see that topic if they’re really getting into it.

@tobiaseigen even requested that I eventually write the whole thing up to share with Discourse Meta so this isn’t a hypothetical situation. :wave: tobias!


I’m just chucking out some ideas, so forgive me if they’re not very good. :slightly_smiling_face:

You could Default Mute the new ‘bug archive’ category rather than restrict access? Then the Topics wouldn’t appear in the latest lists, etc, but they’d still be able to be found by following direct links, or by navigating straight to the category.

Users can change the tracking for the category, or individual topics, themselves, but if they ‘opt in’ then they may not consider them to be noise?