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[Moderation] Better Using "Report this content" (Flagging) for Mentoring New Mods

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A few of us have been experimenting with this the last week or so, seems to work well. But I wanted to bring this to the attention of all the rest of longer term Mods like @chwe @balbes150 @NicoD @TonyMac32 @JMCC (please tag any others I may have forgot) as well as site level Admin like @lanefu and of course @Igor.


As a new Mod I often feel like a Level 1 Tech Support. :D Or perhaps better stated, "triage." Which I figure is our purpose, to "take care of" as many low hanging fruit as possible (or at least sort to correct place, maybe adjust title, tag, ask OP for further info, etc.), in order to free up time/attention of Devs and more experienced users. I try to take on as much as I can, but there are simply things I am unsure about (and from private discussions, I know other new Mods feel same). As our knowledge grows over time, we will be able to take on more and more. But I think we can slightly better use the tools this software already provides to help with this (IMO, some times necessary) mentoring process. I realize you guys are busy (hence need for Mods in first place) however...


Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day,

Teach a man to fish, and ...


So I request to the more experienced Mods and Admins, please take few moments here and there to help teach us newer guys (when we need help) how to fish... :)


But this post will also be for my fellow new Mods, as well ( @soerenderfor @Vanitarium @_r9 @jsfrederick , I went through Mod sign up thread already, but please tag any others I may have missed) so please, read on...


Newer Mod (or even regular user) can click on little Flag at bottom of any post:



And then enter some question what they need guidance about:




Now this will show up to all other Moderators and site level Admin as little triangle in upper right corner:




So far pretty simple, I am sure most of you are aware of this functionality already. Now this is what I propose to codify into some kind SOP:


If we still require attention / advice of someone "higher up" then we leave Status as "New Report" (Flag logo):




Once someone "higher up" replies, then they/we can change Status to "Under Review" (Triangle ! logo):




Where we leave it until person originally raising the flag either:

  • gets their answer, at which point they can Close the Report,
  • requires further clarification, in which case they can change back to Flag to raise more attention


I think this is a good way of fast, easy triage and sorting, because:

  • it does not pollute IRC or forum threads (and less airing of potentially "dirty laundry")
  • relevant discussion is attached directly to the thread in question
  • "higher experience level" (Mods, site level Admin) can immediately see filtered view of what might need their attention (Flag logo), without having to read all of forums, or even pay attention to Moderation discussions, where they are not needed. However at same time should they want, can also get quick overview of moderation advice being given by Mods to each other, and could add their 2 cents if disagree.
  • "medium experience level" Mods can help mentor lower level, to extent they are able, already relieving some load off "higher level" people, while still asking some questions themselves
  • "lower experience level" Mods (and even regular users for that matter, although unable to see discussion on the Mod side) can get their questions answered, receive mentoring from "medium and higher" level people, and thereby eventually progress upward
  • Over time, this will also build a body of knowledge which new Mods can look through when they have time to get up to speed (similar to reviewing past Bans, etc.)


Do note that this entire proposal is only for the meta of Moderation questions themselves, i.e.:

  • should this be moved to x sub-forum
  • I am not sure this qualifies as violating rule # x
  • etc.


If you think this is a good idea, please say so here, and/or just start fulfilling one of the roles "low, medium, high" as outlined above, befitting your experience level.


I encourage any and all Mods to communicate with each other in this way, adding your $0.02 to whatever Mod discussion, where you feel it adds some value.


Feedback on this idea also welcomed, of course.

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@TRS-80 thanks for the write-up.

Flagging the posts to discuss is a great approach.

Typically you'll see i often respond to provide feedback, but will leave it to the mods to resolve / close.

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After using and thinking about this for a while, I propose to flip the order / meaning of what I wrote above to the following:

  • New Report (Flag icon) - Just as it says, new reports. Moderators talking amongst themselves. The default when a regular Member or Mod makes a report.
  • Under Review (Triangle ! icon) - This would mean bumping it up to Admin level for whatever reason:
    • Functionality not available to Mods (word filter)
    • Need policy decision
    • etc.

This means that someone has to take positive action to bump something up to Admin / higher level. Which I think is a better idea. And still preserves notion of getting higher (Admin) level people attention those few times we (Mods) need it, without having them have to read all posts or even all Mod level discussions.


I am going to switch to this new method effective immediately.


EDIT: I updated the 3 current pending Reports to the new scheme, and will stick with this going forward.

Edited by TRS-80
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