The persistence of posts hidden by flags are a bane to our community

Community moderation is great – if enough people flag a post to hide it, moderators don’t need to get involved. What’s better is that the user who made the post is given an opportunity to improve the post so that it abides by the rules. But what if the user opts not to improve the post, and just lets it sit? The post remains “hidden” for all eternity.

In this perpetual state of being hidden, the post continues to waste a bunch of space on the thread, as it is as large as a normal post:

this is awful, as if the community flags a bunch of spam posts or some argument on a thread, even after the posts are hidden, the topic is still clogged by them.

To resolve this:

  • Hidden posts should collapse into something similar to what the moderators see for deleted posts: “click to view x deleted posts”. This is super small and does not detract from topic readability. If the user edits their post to improve it, it will be moved out of this section and back into the thread.
  • Posts that remain hidden for long enough without action (24 hours?) should be automatically deleted so that users can’t go prowling through another’s posts and find all the bad stuff they posted in the past

There is aready a site setting for this

delete old hidden posts

Auto-delete any hidden posts that stay hidden for more than 30 days.

Make sure that’s checked.

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We do have it enabled, but a full month is so long that we thought they were never deleted. Can this be changed so that site admins can configure the amount of days? We would want to set this to 1-2 days.

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We don’t generally prioritize these kinds of site specific requests unless you’re a customer. Did you want to move back to our hosting?

So these posts show up in the moderation queue, right? Can’t you delete them from there?

We delete the majority of flagged posts because we’ve found that users will still quote and reply to them otherwise.


Wow even after they are hidden, people will quote and reply to the hidden post?

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I’ve seen users dig up old post revisions to respond to. If they can do it, they will.


Absolutely. And surprisingly often!

When someone is wrong on the internet, and someone has a chance to respond, it seems some folks just can’t resist the urge.


A css tag (post-hidden) is added to the hidden post, and this can be used. You can change the design of this post at your discretion. For example, remove the avatar, make the font smaller, change the indentation. Huge selection.

.post-hidden .topic-avatar {
    display: none !important;

For example, so:

Maybe this will help to solve the problem of"space saving".


Yes, we’re having the same problem. My moderators were all confused about how this was happening, and then I discovered using incognito that “hidden” doesn’t really mean hidden in the removed sense, as we would have thought, it just means collapsed.

And the problem was discovered because we had several user replying to the original hidden post debating about whether it should have been hidden. This led to a total of 7 hidden posts in a row.

My takeaway is that if our mods want to actually remove a post their action needs to be to delete not hide it.


Precisely this. We long ago moved to deleting posts (and replies) that are moderated, because otherwise those hidden posts are invariably a new derail on the topic otherwise.


In the context of flagging, mods can’t hide posts, as far as I know. Hiding happens automatically as a protective measure when a post meets a community flag threshold.

The mods at that point are notified and can take action as they deem fit, which includes deleting the flagged post.

My point is that hiding is a) automatic and b) meant to be a temporary state.


If that’s true, why does ”Agree”-ing with flags not delete the post? It should move the post from the temporary status?

Agree means “yes, I agree the community was correct to hide this post”.

It’s not a foregone conclusion that every flagged post is so bad it has to be deleted. Sometimes (as long as it’s not too toxic of course) leaving hints in the conversation about the kind of content you frown upon is a way of educating future readers.