Warn staff when action will override site restriction

From time to time on Meta there are reports of new site staff being surprised by their ability to override site settings without warning. For example, staff can reply to closed topics, staff can post to #uncategorized even if it is disabled in site settings, staff can more posts to a topic that the user cannot see, etc. (An example, another example).

I’d like to propose a just-in-time warning that appears when staff are about to do this. Something like:

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of actions where a similar warning would be useful:

  • Replying in a closed/archived topic.
  • Posting in the #uncategorized category when uncategorized is disabled.
  • Moving a user’s post to a topic the user cannot view.
  • (Admin only) Posting in a PM the admin isn’t a participant in.

We have no plans to implement this, and it is not on our roadmap for the foreseeable future. So you may want to put community PR tag on this or otherwise subsidize it.

That seems like the kind of “are you sure” notice that serves as an annoyance such that responding in the affirmative is automatized.

For posting to uncategorized and moving a post to an unviewable topic, an after the fact message with an “undo” would be preferable. For replying to closed topic, a warning before the message is written seems like the solution and butting into a PM.

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I like to think that making mistakes is part of being human, at least that’s my excuse,
I feel that when an action can be destructive, either irreversible or even only complicated to undo, then some type of “give pause” is good to have. For example, I might become annoyed e.g. “yes I want to delete. l wouldn’t have clicked delete if I hadn’t wanted to! cheesh, stupid software”. But all those repeated confirm dialogs are no where near as annoying as clicking on something only to find out that I shouldn’t have clicked.

Creating a topic in Uncategorized is not destructive. True, it is a “bah, now it needs to be moved” that can be a bit irritating. I have done it before myself, I know. But at least for me, I often learn from my mistakes and after doing it once I now know to give a quick look at the category select to be sure the topic is going where I intend it to go.

Long story short, pick your battles.

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The idea is sound, and I really like @pfaffman’s iteration on it with non-intrusive heads-up notification.

This is possible for TL3 to do, as well, not just staff. Lounge is the typical place that a topic could be moved by TL3, but with more complicated categories (like paid access), there could be others, too.

Great idea - can you add bypassing the tag limit too please? I am finding some staff members are accidentally posting topics without the required number of tags…

Another vote for this. We just had a case of uncategorized postings by an admin. In our case, the admin is a designer who we trust and want to have access to the theme and related stuff. He’s not someone deeply engaged with all the administration of the forum. So, it’s not accurate to assume that any admin is effectively a forum expert who understands all the restrictions and appropriate actions.


A minimal change here I support is:

  1. IF allow uncategorized topics is set to FALSE
  2. AND staff attempts to post in uncategorized OR recategorize to uncategorized
  3. THEN post the nag window saying “You have disabled uncategorized, are you sure you want to do this”

However… @jomaxro can you confirm (2) is even technically possible now?

I am actually quite strongly against, general nagging of staff for

  • posting on closed/archived
  • posting in a PM admin is not a participant (should just auto add them)

Moving stuff around to places that can not be viewed is a “mixed maybe” for me.

I do not think this is #pr-welcome though cause it needs significantly more focus prior to pr welcome


I don’t understand being strongly against nagging for those cases. I would very much specifically want those. And I’d hope it could at least be an optional feature, at least if someone came along and contributed the update. Why would allowing this option be bad at all? There’s otherwise nothing at all to help admins notice when they are in those situations, so we can’t assume that it’s always intentional and self-aware.

In the specific case of “posting in a closed/archived topic”, this theme component can do the job. It should be possible to extend this to posting in specific categories and non-participating PMs, if you have someone to do the development work.


Staff can still post to uncategorized, they cannot recategorize to it.