What does "Take Action" do?


(Kane York) #1

Continuing the discussion from Appeal link for moderated posts:

I’ve been having a nagging question in my head: What does the “Take Action” button do?

Does it instantly cause the “Hidden due to community flags” behavior, or hide the post with no PM?

Does clicking Flag Post cause that behavior?

The buttons have no tooltips.

(This may be a FAQ candidate.)


(Mittineague) #2

I think this option is not available to Community Flagging, but only Moderator Flagging.

Instead of Notifying other Moderators, the Moderator can deal with it then.

Or am I missing the point of your question?


(Kane York) #3

Yes, I’m aware that it only shows up to moderators - but what does it do?


(Jeff Atwood) #4

It causes the post to reach the flagging threshold immediately, rather than requiring (n) flags from (x) different users.


DRAFT: Flagging queue - General
(Kane York) #5

Added tooltips to explain this (I think tooltips are okay here, because it’s moderator education, which is uncommon).


(Adam Capriola) #6

What is the workflow when I click “Take Action”?

Today I had a user post something on my forums I wanted removed, so I clicked flag and take action. Their post was still accessible even by anonymous users:

Should I have straight up deleted it? Does it matter what reason is I pick to flag the content? I didn’t click to delete because I wanted the user to be notified.


(Jeff Atwood) #7

If you want it removed, delete it.

If you want the user to be notified and have an opportunity to “fix” their post, then Take Action.

Take action is the same as if the members of the community flagged it to threshold… which I already said upstream…


(⛰️) #8

Does outright deletion still tally against a user’s internal trust score? How does the system differentiate between a post that was deleted because of a technical error and a post that was deleted because of abusive content that should count negatively against the poster’s trust?


(Jeff Atwood) #9

In the latter case there should be a flag to go along with the deletion.


(Adam Capriola) #10

Ok, so let me get this straight. User posts something that isn’t cool. I want to penalize them, send them a custom message to them explaining why their post was inappropriate, and remove the post (I don’t have them to have a chance to edit). I have to take these steps:

  1. Click the flag button, Message @ User (does not cast flag)
  2. Click flag button again, click it’s off-topic, inappropriate, or spam (user will receive an automated message now in addition to the custom message)
  3. Delete post

I wish there was an option to send a custom flag on the fly. The automated messages hardly ever get the point across for me. I need to write a custom explanation to get through to most people.

EDIT: Also, when I do the message @ the user, then delete their post, I don’t think they can see the post anymore and then might not realize what I’m messaging them about.


(Jeff Atwood) #11

This is quite muddled. What happens when you Take Action is the post is hidden. You should really try this yourself using a test user so you can see what I mean.

There are three views of a hidden post:

  1. What the user who posted it sees
  2. What the admin sees
  3. What everyone else sees

Really, just try it and see, rather than guessing, it only takes 2 accounts to do that and you have one of the already, the admin…


(Adam Capriola) #12

Alright, I tested and see how it works. There are issues with the flow here if I want to penalize the user and remove (not hide) their post.

The only way to penalize a user is to cast a flag + take action, so they’re going to get one of the automated messages – which state:

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. This will increase your trust level.

However, if I delete their post, obviously they can’t edit it.

Am I focusing too much on the penalty aspect of flags? I don’t completely understand the trust system, but since it’s a thing I feel like I’m supposed to leverage it. Otherwise I would simply send a custom message to the user explaining why I’m about to delete their post and then I’d delete it (and not cast a flag).


We probably should have a separate topic to discuss this, but here are a few thoughts on how I’d like to see the flagging system improved:

  1. When I either take action or agree with flags casted by users, I want to see an option to type out a custom message. I would use it almost every time. The automated messages typically don’t get the point across that well (I’m dealing with kids a lot of the time who think they do no wrong). It feels too autonomous right now.

  2. The three flag options – off-topic, inappropriate, and spam – I often find don’t match the reason why I would flag a post. The spam definition especially hardly aligns with the kind of spam I deal with (users who post without considering if their post actually adds to the conversation).

    I’d rather users simply type a reason why they are flagging the post than pick one of the three options. There could be prompt text mentioning these classes of flags to help them with their explanation.


(Mittineague) #13

IMHO if you are going to delete the post and not give them the opportunity to fix it, it is better to send them a M (check “warning” if it applies), tell them what you did and why (clippings is a big help here), then Delete the post.

I class that as “Fluff” i.e. Inappropriate
* as long as your Guidelines indicate that


(Jeff Atwood) #14

How specifically do you think the copy should change in your case? What would you tell them?


(Mittineague) #15

I’ve never figured out what this means, it looks to me to be a false statement.

Spam is Spam, and Off-topic is Off-topic, but Inappropriate could be any number of things and vary depending on the specific Guidelines.
An "option nightmare"
Up to them to read the Guidelines and figure it out for themselves or contact you and ask?


(Jeff Atwood) #16

We eventually want to implement that… probably the copy should change a bit.


(Jeff Atwood) #17

I went ahead and removed that sentence for now, since less is more, and it’s not quite correct anyway.


(Jeff Atwood) #18

My general advice here is to Take Action – and cause the hide, PM, edit possibility flow – if you think the user has any hope of actually editing their post to improve it.

If you are reading a post and thinking

  • this post is beyond salvation, there is no way this post can be fixed through editing

  • this user is someone that I definitely do not want here, ever, in any form

then just delete the post… and probably, either today or sometime in the near future, the user too.

It might not be a bad idea to try the recommended flow a few times to get a sense of whether your users can handle it or not. But you should also trust your gut – if it says “this is a hopeless case from the start”, just delete, delete, delete.

For what it’s worth I have seen the standard hide-PM-edit flow work. Check out the edit history on this post… What Can Men Do? - blog - Coding Horror Discussion

That was after I flagged it and took action, as inappropriate. So it was hidden, they got a PM… and actually fixed their post.


(Adam Capriola) #19

Here’s what I’m thinking as far as the whole flagging procedure.

  1. Click flag, two options:
  • Notify Moderators
    • Description: This post is inappropriate or off-topic and should be moved, edited, or deleted. (Casts a flag.)
    • Textarea: Briefly explain what is wrong with this post.
  • Message @ user
    • Description: This post contains something I want to talk to this person directly and privately about. (Does not cast a flag.)
    • Textarea: Be specific, be constructive, and always be kind.

The “Something Else” option always seemed odd to me. The only purpose I see for it is if you want to flag something but are unsure if it’s deserving of a flag and don’t want to lose trust if the flag is rejected.

The message @ user feature is fantastic and I wish it was more apparent to users that it can be used in a positive manner (flagging by nature is sort of negative – i.e. something is wrong). Direct messaging helps keep tangent discussions to the side, which is awesome.

  1. Moderator options:
  • Agree with Flag
    • Description: This post should be moved, edited, or deleted.
    • Resulting Options
      • Move Post
      • Request @ user to Edit Post
      • Delete Post
    • Textarea: Explain to @ user why this action is being taken.
  • Disagree with Flag
    • Description: This post does not need attention.
    • Texarea: Explain to @ users who cast flag why post will remain unmodified.
  • Defer Flag
    • Description: (Not sure … help me out here! Deferring always feels like a copout to me. Maybe it shouldn’t be an option.)

My biggest emphasis here is for all parties to take the time to explain their actions. Extra communication can help when trying to change behavior of users.

One other thought: It would be nice if mods received a notification when a user edits their flagged post. I have seen users properly revise flagged posts (like your example above, @codinghorror), but most of the time I don’t remember to follow up and check if the user actually edited their post to my liking. Ideally a mod would approve the edit before it goes live.


(Jeff Atwood) #20

By all means, if you have the time, send personal notes to each user as you do stuff… communication never hurts.

My concern is a) this does not scale b) my goal is to make life easier for moderators, not harder. And writing is hard. Quadruply so when addressing potentially thorny moderation issues. So from my perspective it would need to be more like a McDonalds Value Menu (gimme the #5, supersize) than “type words”.

Because the more you get mods to type new words, the worse it can potentially go. Many mods are not good at communicating, so having prefab content that gives them the best copy and the best possible outcome is preferable, by far, to an empty textbox.

That’s why the hide Pm encourages people to read the guidelines that we ship and edit their post as they fit based on those guidelines. The PMs are also specific to each flag type (off-topic, inappropriate, spam, etc).