Ways to post confidential info for moderator eyes only?


(Becky Herndon) #1

We’re moving a development community to Discourse and there’s one critical feature we’re losing from the old forum software. We had “confidential” tags where a user could hide sensitive information in the post for moderator eyes only. It was like the Spoilers tag, but only moderators would see the content inside.

The confidential feature is used for posting game exploit repro steps, and sometimes private contact info like their Skype name. This is a high quality community but the exploit steps could be catastrophic in the wrong hands.

The benefit of the confidential tag is that any moderator can see and react to the post quickly and sound a company-wide alert, vs. a PM system or ticketing system where the specific recipients need to be online at the time to see the report.

I poked around with our Discourse forum settings and I’m stymied how to replicate this functionality. The best I’ve found so far was hiding exploit reports in post edits that only admins (but not moderators) can see.

Is there a plugin already for posting content that only moderators and the poster could see? Is it hard to make a plugin like this? Is there a better way to mimic this functionality?


Discourse as a private email support portal
Ways Prevent Members Posting Sensitive / Confidential Information
(Jeff Atwood) #2

That is… peculiar :wink:

If they are reporting an exploit, why not send a PM to the moderators? Why does any part of the topic need to be public? I’m unclear why that is the case.

For “hiding” an exploit topic, you would simply recategorize it from a public category to a private one via the edit pencil.


(Becky Herndon) #3

Peculiar is a good word for our community! I understand how this is a strange use for the moderator only spoiler. It’s a system that grew out of our old forum’s available tools and now we have a strange workflow we’re trying to salvage.

The topic is public so other users know the exploit has been reported. Example: “Currency exploit involving trade system” would be the subject. The post isn’t totally empty to non-mods. Sometimes there is an intro or general description of the problem. It’s also standard that they include an animated GIF for the community’s entertainment. :orly:

The main benefit of this system is that we don’t get a slew of PMs to various staff, or multiple tickets about the same thing. And, as I said before, speed of response. What if their favorite moderator isn’t online? It also fosters discussion as other users chime in with their own comments about the fact there is/was an exploit or problem.

  • How can the user know which moderator to PM if there are a lot of moderators?
  • Can you PM a whole Group?

(Michael Downey) #4

Yes, seems like the send-a-message-to-a-group feature would be a solution to this use case as well as the others previously made.


(Lisa Wess) #5

A private tag, right in line with the posts, would solve so many of our problems it is hard to describe. We desperately need a way to share in-line troubleshooting notes directly on threads (for other moderators/staff members - preferably by group) and a way for people to share logs and know they’re private/hidden from other viewers.

This has become such a major ordeal for us that we’ve spent a year trying to figure out a solution for in-thread support staff-support staff comms. This would be an amazing solution for us.

We have a large team so message to a group would be a nuisance, not a help. Especially as we’d like to see that stuff in the future, directly in the thread, without having to cross reference private/group messages.


(Becky Herndon) #6

Thanks for the replies. It seems like we’re moving into the feature request area rather than support, so feel free to move this.


(Sam Saffron) #7

So basically what you are describing is adding:

On replies in certain categories. Stuff checked “Private” is only visible to Staff and Author?

I get the use case for particular support categories, its not a trivial feature would require changes to core.


(Lisa Wess) #8

For our use case ‘private’ would make the post restricted to a particular
user group. Preferably one we could set on admin. The author would be
excluded unless also in this group.

It would be for staff-staff comms within a thread. A way to leave notes,
drafts for review, etc.


(Sam Saffron) #9

applying permissions at a group/post level is an enormous amount of engineering, allowing for “staff only” posts in the stream on the other hand is a fairly straight forward exercise.


(Jeff Atwood) #10

If we can do “visible to staff only” posts in a topic that would be great. Has been requested a fair bit as the “whisper” feature in other forum software. So that’s the word you want to use when searching for it.


(Michael Downey) #11

If I were to dream freely about this, I’d imagine a world where flags were reimagined or reinvented to insert messages inline at any post in the topic, with or without content. (Somewhat how close/action messages now appear but distorting the space-time continuum so they could appear after any post, and only visible to staff.)


(Lisa Wess) #12

If moderators are staff then this would be a huge step forward for us. Please do add this!


#13

Maybe a “User X posted a comment to staff” notification (similar to the staff notifications) could be displayed to other users so they know what’s going on.


(Craig Wright) #14

Not sure if this is the right way to vote but I would also love this feature for the Advertiser API section of the TwitterCommunity.com forums. We want the ability to let developers drop sensitive data to us, or they do not know whether or not the data is sensitive. Basically, exactly as described by @codinghorror :smile:


(Sam Saffron) #15

No promises, but we are seeing if we can fit this in to our upcoming release :wink:


(Lisa Wess) #16

I need a way to ‘like’ something multiple times. Thank you @sam!!


(Sam Saffron) #17

Note… we can not do the “group permission” per post thing BUT we can do the “staff” +“author” only posts.


(Lisa Wess) #18

I beg of you to make “and author” optional. We very much need staff-staff comms.


(Sam Saffron) #19

Sorry, let me be a bit more explicit about what we plan. (going to call this whisper)

New Site Settings

  • Allow staff to create whisper posts globally
  • Allow users to create whisper posts globally

New per category

  • Allow staff to create whisper posts
  • Allow users to create whisper posts

If whisper is enabled show in composer

[ ] Post is Hidden

  • Hidden posts are visible by the Author of the post and Staff

This allows for 2 use cases quite flexibly.

  1. Allow end users to share information with staff right in the stream
  2. Allow staff to discuss stuff with other staff right in the stream

Whisper will be treated VERY close to the way we treat “deleted” posts. In fact I am thinking the cleanest implementation is something that layers on top of deleted.


Discourse for helpdesk use cases?
(Lisa Wess) #20

Removed by the author who didn’t understand. :slight_smile: