Trouble resolving system-auto-flagged posts / silenced user

(Brendan Schlagel) #1

This morning I found a few messages in our moderator inbox related to posts that were auto-flagged by “system” as spam, due to:

“This new user tried to create multiple posts with links to the same domain ( See the newuser_spam_host_threshold site setting.”

I went the the posts in question and clicked “ignore flag” — but the posts were still hidden so I can’t tell if “ignore flag” actually had any effect. I tried manually unhiding the topics (“make listed”). I also realized the user was also auto-silenced, so I unsilenced him…but nope, his posts still seem to be hidden. (All his posts, not just auto-flagged ones!)



I’d suggest that in this case there should be a more straightforward way to reverse an auto-spam action like this for which there may be false positives. Ideally one-click that would both unsilence the user and restore all their posts to normal. Rather than, in this case, having to take action in several different places (each flagged post to unhide, plus the user profile to unsilence). Still not sure if there’s a bug here or if I missed some additional action I need to take here.

TL;DR currently nothing in our list of active flags, and I’ve unsilenced the user — but all his posts are still hidden. I can’t figure out how to resolve this.

(Brendan Schlagel) #2

To follow up on this, one related thing I just noticed — I see the following message was sent to this user, and not exactly correct:


This is an automated message from The Cracking the Code Forum to let you know that your post was hidden.

Early Kotzen Sweep Picking - Playing Technique - The Cracking the Code Forum

Your post was flagged as spam : the community feels it is an advertisement, something that is overly promotional in nature instead of being useful or relevant to the topic as expected.

Multiple community members flagged this post before it was hidden, so please consider how you might revise your post to reflect their feedback. You can edit your post after 10 minutes, and it will be automatically unhidden.

However, if the post is hidden by the community a second time, it will remain hidden until handled by staff.

For additional guidance, please refer to our community guidelines.

Would be great if this sort of thing indicated that the flag itself was an automated system thing — currently it implies that it was actively flagged by the community, which is not the case.

Also, the “Multiple community members flagged this post before it was hidden” part I believe in this case is incorrect. As far as I can tell this users posts were only flagged by system.

(Brendan Schlagel) #3

Okay I finally figured out I have to go through each post this user made individually, click the admin wrench, and click “unhide”. Simple enough but I’ve never had to do that before. At least it was only five posts; only alternative I found seems to be this.

I think this may be what’s happening here:

I also agree w/ the OP on that topic that not differentiating between community flags and automated flags adds some confusion in the messaging:

So, perhaps not a bug, but some confusing UX here. If there were a simpler way to undo the system-created automatic flag + user silencing in this case, I think that would be an improvement. But at least I think I get what happened here now!

(Brendan Schlagel) #4

Okay whaaaaat?

I just restored all the aforementioned user’s hidden posts. Was drafting a reply to one of them…and the post changed to “hidden” right before my eyes. I went to look at the user’s profile again and it was set to silenced again by system. I just now unsilenced the user and it happened *again — silenced by system for a third time now.

Under “context” it just says too_many_spam_flags: ''

In settings I see:

flags required to hide post - 3
num spam flags to silence new user - 3
num users to silence new user - 3
num tl3 flags to silence new user - 2
num tl3 users to silence new user - 2
num flags to close topic - 12

As far as I can tell I just see two flags both from the system user (two different posts), so as per these settings I don’t know what’s causing the user to be repeatedly silenced even after I revert to unsilenced.

I’m at a bit of a loss now. I can’t find any way to permanently remove these flags or make this user immune to system silencing. Just tried changing the user’s TL from 0 to 1, will see if that helps… Anyone from the Discourse team have further insight here whether there might be a bug or just confluence of weird behaviors?

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #5

I’ve seen reports of this before, but I’ve never been able to track down what is actually going on - nor see it myself.

(Brendan Schlagel) #6

Gotcha. For now it seems manually making this user TL1 has prevented further auto-silencing. Will update here if I see it happen again.

Thought: should it be possible for automated / system silencing to occur at all after an admin as unsilenced that user? Basically I’m thinking any indication of manual human approval of a user should override any future automated spam checks for that user, to whatever degree that’s possible.

(Jeff Atwood) #7

You may want to add youtube to the domain whitelist if you expect this to recur in the future. New users posting repeated links to a domain is highly symptomatic of a spammer.

(Brendan Schlagel) #8

Thanks Jeff! Agreed, video sharing is common / encouraged in our community so this should help. I added it to the whitelist as soon as I figured out what was causing this.

(Neil Lalonde) #9

The message could suggest doing that. Something like:

This new user tried to create multiple posts with links to the same domain ( See the newuser_spam_host_threshold site setting. Consider adding domains to the “white listed spam host domains” if you want to allow them to be linked by new users.

(ljpp) #10

We have a user that is being repeatedly muted by System, with the reasoning of: Too many spam flags.

The user has been flagged and flags handled by moderators, but to my knowledge the user has never been flagged for spam. He is not posting any external links either.

EDIT: Our issues may related to the fact that the user was locked to level 0 by a moderator and got flagged afterwards, triggering the new user silencer based on flag count.

(Jeff Atwood) #11

If they are locked at TL0 then I suggest adding whatever domains they are posting to your whitelist… at TL0 you’ll be subject to fairly strict rules by design.