What are some of the hardest moments you had as a moderator?

Ah, thanks. I totally forgot that. I kinda posted that knowing it’s practically impossible.

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Quick Update: I’m currently working on a new theme component for this. :slight_smile: Might take some time, but it’s going to help.


Most of my trolls are the same users, coming back with new usernames/emails after getting kicked out.

It would be great if Discourse would notify me when someone signs up and its highly likely that they are a previously banned user (based on IP, cookies, browser fingerprint?). Perhaps shadowbanning them automatically, so they can post but their posts aren’t seen. Perhaps integrating some sort of account verification via SMS, making it harder to create multiple accounts? :slight_smile:


When you click delete(Since the troll is a new user), it should give you an option to block IP and email, or just plain delete. If you want to manually blacklist an IP address, go to admin->logs->blocked IPs.


@Chaboi_3000 Blocking IP addresses is not convenient. Because ISPs sharing same IP on multiple users.

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It can:

You should also keep an eye on the Suspect Users list.


I’ve tested the fingerprint plugin extensively, but there is just too much noise and not much signal in the output it gives at the moment.


As I believe has been acknowledged elsewhere it’s getting progressively harder to fingerprint clients.

It’s inconvenient for us, but for users it’s a very good thing.


My user base is a bit… older. Quite a few have forgotten their passwords and rather than reset their passwords, they’ve created new accounts. Notifying the mods that a new account has been created from the same ip as an existing account would be helpful in my case.


Thanks for starting this topic. Personally, I still find it difficult to cope with blatant negativity sometimes overwhelming people. Probably all of us are having their times through stress or otherwise induced – maybe some do have that more often ;]. This really does have a profound impact on my mental balance to get into the flow state I do actually need to fulfill my work properly – how cheesy this might ever sound.

If I knew before, I might have come to the conclusion that I might just be lacking the appropriate tools (as in language) for actively working against this or at least to be able to make some point.

Sometimes things are coming towards us when being ready for it, so I found @Stephen’s reaction over at https://meta.discourse.org/t/things-i-dislike/121293/2 really really excellent. Money quote:

Apologies for citing without context, please recognize my aim is not to do any fingerpointing here (please adjust my perception if required). However, I believe this is argument is well suited to stand on its own and can be replicated into different contexts out of the box. Thanks for that, @Stephen!


xkcd: Computer Problems.

Disclaimer: Some cartoons are gross oversimplifications, outdated, or a combination of both.
xkcd - RationalWiki


When I first became a moderator for another forum, I had one member who was constantly PM’ing me complaining that another moderator was constantly moving her posts to another category (and delete the topic she had just created for it (because it really should have been in an existing topic)), and complained she was being “singled out.” And the mod in question was PM’ing me complaining about the user and how she was getting “pissed off” because of the user. A few times posts were made that were public. I so much did not want to get into the middle of this … let’s call it a “cat fight”… and tried my best to appease both sides. Eventually I must have made my point to both sides and the “disagreement” between the two faded away. :sweat_smile: That was my first “experience” at moderating… less than a week after I started. :slightly_smiling_face:


Basically it’s is the abusive language that is hurled at you and thrown around casually directed at other members. Most of the times by members who cannot socially interact with another. As you can imagine this is not very interesting or motivating in anyway for anyone. :slight_smile: Furthermore, people who are suspended but keep making accounts using different measures.

And I just realised I have bumped this after 4 months - after posting :frowning:


You can look at their IP address to know for sure (pretty sure) that the suspended user has created a new account. This may not always hold true as I have one member who signed up with one IP address and suddenly started logging in with another. The user hadn’t moved and has the same provider. Apparently the provider just shifted her to another address… maybe as an update for speed? But checking the IP is one thing you can try to see if they actually are creating new accounts. Also, are the email addresses similar?
We don’t get any abusive language on our forum… I guess we’re lucky. So suspensions are really working in your situation? That’s a shame. There are a few people that will always be a thorn in everyone’s side, no matter how many times they get warned of their “naughtiness”.


What if they use a VPN to circumvent this?


Did you ever try fingerprinting to fight this? We had it running, and at first it used to work, but now it seems to be broken.

FYI, as you may not have noticed this terse reply earlier in the topic, an increasing number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are sharing pools of IPv4 addresses rather than providing static IP addresses. CGNAT is the main method used.

This is one of several reasons device fingerprinting and IP address blocking are increasingly less reliable.

Many people are familiar with NAT (Network Address Translation) which is used in local networks. Rather than every device getting a public IP address, the gateway device has one public IP address and all devices in the local network receive private IP addresses, e.g router is and other devices use addresses from to

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Yes, @ondrejj had PM’d me and brought that up. That would be one way around it. But they’d still have to create a new email address - not that that’s hard to do, but it can be a bother… especially if you keep getting suspended. As I mentioned in our PM, this person - if he’s created multiple accounts after suspensions - sounds like a troll.

While I was reading about fingerprinting, I got to wondering whether the cookies Discourse sets on one’s computer could also be checked. A new user wouldn’t have cookies that are older than their “new” sign up date/time. That would work - if it’s possible to check them - even if someone used a VPN.
Got to eat dinner. I’ll give this more thought when I’m done. :wink:


If possible, would this work even if the new user was part of one or more Discourse communities prior to yours? :thinking:

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That’s something one of the Discourse team members would have to answer. I don’t know exactly what the cookies contain. It does seem “intreging,” doesn’t it though? I’m sure there has to be a difference in what is in the cookies as I am currently a member of 4 Discourse forums and I doubt if the same cookies are used by all of them. They’d each have to had set their own “variations” of them for them to work properly… I’d imagine.
Maybe going about it in a slightly different approach would be to have a third cookie set that IDs the PC/phone/iPad, etc… Then whenever that is used to access the forum - especially when a suspended user creates a new account - the cookie will show that PC was used to login before. IP address would even need be a factor. (I’ve logged in both at my own home and at my son’s home… different IP addresses but with the same cookies.) Thinking about more, maybe one wouldn’t need any additional cookies, just the fact that there are existing cookies already set. Then a log could show that cookies weren’t set because of already existing cookies. That could be one way to possibly indicate what you’re looking for.

But what happens should the user delete all cookies? You’d be starting from scratch. What a PITA a troll can be. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


We’ve been around 17 years, so we’ve seen all sorts of moments. Losing one of our original moderators to illness 2 years ago was probably the worst, though. It devastated the entire community, members and moderators alike.

We’ve had members fake their deaths complete with Photoshopped obituaries and distraught letters from their “spouses.” It’s actually mildly disturbing how many of those we’ve had over the years. Each thought they had come up with an amazing, original idea, I suppose.

Personal stalking was initially hard, but you become complacent to it, really. Most were harmless. Few occasions had to be escalated.