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IP.Board 3.2.0 Dev Update: Report Center Improvements

Moderating your community is an important function that is carried out not by administrators alone, but often by community volunteers. For this reason, it is important to make moderating your community as easy as possible. To that end, we have made improvements to moderator capabilities in IP.Board 3.2.0, and in this blog entry we will describe some of those changes that relate to the report center specifically.

The report center is a central container that all reported content is sent to, allowing moderators a single destination to review reported content, and allowing moderators to communicate privately about the content that is reported. This functionality works well and has streamlined dealing with reported content since it was first introduced in IP.Board 3.0, but we wanted to take this time to make some minor improvements to further enhance the capabilities already available.


Open Reports Only

Beginning with IP.Board 3.2.0, when there are open reports in the report center, ONLY those open reports will be displayed. It can be confusing to visit the report center and see a list of 200 reports when there is only 1 or 2 to deal with. We have reduced this unnecessary clutter to allow you to focus only on what needs your attention. When this happens (i.e. when there are open reports the moderator can access), a message is displayed at the top of the page indicating that this is the case, along with a link to view all reports.

If there are no open reports, all reports will be shown as they are now in IP.Board 3.1.x.


Are There Updates?

We have also implemented topic marking tracking in the report center, allowing moderators who visit the report center to quickly identify which reports have had new activity since they last viewed the report. Additional reports from other users regarding the same content and comments made by other moderators all count as new activity, so you can now more quickly identify reports that may have further updates and may need to be reviewed again quicker than before.


Many, Many Performance Improvements

While working on the report center we reviewed resource usage, we profiled the database queries and PHP code execution, and we found many ways to improve performance without removing functionality. We have removed some unnecessary database queries, we have cached some of the data into cache stores (which can be stored in memcache and similar external caching engines with IP.Board), we have changed some database queries to retrieve the needed data in a more efficient manner, and we have removed and/or refactored code that we found was slower than optimal. The end result is that the report center has received many performance improvements that, combined, allow it to function faster and use less resources on your server.


Improved Access Configuration

Feedback we have received regarding the report center has indicated that it can be confusing or difficult to configure the access permissions for each individual plugin in the ACP. At present, you might create a new moderator group for instance, and upon doing so you will next need to visit the report center section of the ACP and edit each plugin one by one to configure the permissions for this new group (whether they can submit and/or view reports for each plugin). This functioned fine, but we recognized we could do a better job of making it easier to configure these permissions.

While we have not removed the ability to configure permissions in the report center plugins as you can in IP.Board 3.1.x (you may, for example, wish to remove all access to a specific plugin temporarily and it is easier to edit the plugin in that case than it is to edit each group individually), we have extended permission configuration to the group manager in the ACP. What this means is that when you edit a group in the ACP there will now be a new tab allowing you to set the permissions for each report center plugin from the group manager, quickly and easily. This is especially useful when you are creating new groups, as you can now specify the report center permissions for the new group right from the group creation form.




Conclusion

We believe these changes will help make managing reported content easier. We have also pushed the report center inside our new moderator control panel....which we will discuss in our next blog entry. Stay tuned! ;)

Feel free to comment on this blog entry below or, if you have feedback unrelated to this blog entry, start a new topic in our feedback forum. Be sure to check the What's New in IP.Board 3.2 topic for a running list of announced changes!

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Sorry, but this is the first 3.2 blog "reveal" I've disappointed with.

I wanted to see a "post report into [x] forum" option ... so I could put the reports in my moderators forum and disucss all our moderation together - in a forum - without having to flip between the mods forum and the report centre (splitting discussions and diluting the moderation of our site).

I've had a tough time with my modding team since moving from vB and none of my mods - not a single one - likes the report centre over the forum thread topic format.

Sorry, but unless the option is going to be added to post (or copy) the reports to a nominated forum, then this doesn't do anything for me at all.

--
Shaun :(

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@CycleChat: you can already add comments to a report, what's so different from a 'normal topic' exactly? :huh:

Now with the topic marking class integrated in the report center you can even know if someone added new comments to a report or not just like a topic.

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[quote name='teraßyte' timestamp='1300889053']
@CycleChat: you can already add comments to a report, what's so different from a 'normal topic' exactly? :huh:

Now with the topic marking class integrated in the report center you can even know if someone added new comments to a report or not just like a topic.


We have a moderators forum where we discuss things related to the site / individuals / threads / etc.

Previously, everything was done in this ONE place. Nice and simple, everyone knew where to go and comments/feedback/decisions were all in one place.

NOW we've got two places.

This splits the moderation discussion, but also - and this is what made some of my mods abandon modding at CC - the report centre sorting/posting/etc. is nothing like a forum thread.

Recent replies are not sorted to the top - responses on a report cannot be modified (so typo's appear galore) - and the flagging/moving up and down the results pages drives everyone mad.

It's not a big deal to copy a report into a forum - technically it's a piece of cake (a recent mini-mod I added does just this) - so I'd love to see it and I'm sure many other ex-vB owners would too (I imagine a few others would like it too once they'd tried it??!!!).

I suppose it's difficult to comprehend the frustrations if you've only every done it one particular way, but believe me - you would make me a very happy man if you could add a simple ACP line with a drop-down list to "Nominate a forum for reports to be copied to:" - with reports copied there as new topics.

Sorry, I know I can be quite disparaging at times, but this is one area where I really have not "got over" moving to IP.Board, and almost a year on it is still an issue for me and the mod team.

Cheers,
Shaun :D

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[quote name='CycleChat' timestamp='1300895796']
snip

Maybe for a site that gets very few reports, this would be nice. But imagine sites that have 100's of reports a day. I honestly LOVE IPB's report system. 1000x better than what vb had, which sounds like what you want and what you came from. I would take this system over vB's any day.

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Is it possible the memeber who reported the thread can also see the admins/mod decison such feature is avaibale in VB.

That helps users know what decision was made and why? and user can basically discus with staffs of only the report that he reported?

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[quote name='Alex LBT' timestamp='1300894255']
I'd love to see a feature where we can automatically have a post put in to moderation if it receives X number of member complaints. This would also assist us with fighting spam.


That is an amazing idea!

Great post guys! Looking forward to the moderator control panel FOR SURE

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Any improvements of the report centre are to be applauded, and I am happy some of the stuff has been tackled now.

I would have hoped it would have more of a forum structure however, just like some of the other posters here commented, and preferably a link to a forum as well, where all posts and updates can be seen. Because of the old structure, we have taken to deleting any completed reports of more than 2 days old - it was impossible to manage otherwise, apart from the confusing representation. However, we do lose history that way. In a more forum-like structure, this would be a lot easier, especially if there would be a forum from type of possibility, as indicated by Cyclechat.

Kind regards, Wim

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[quote name='Tanax' timestamp='1300967759']
The "Can view reports?" setting, does that make them able to view reports from that area or view the progression of their OWN reports from that area??



It's the same as IPB 3.1 - it allows the group to access (and thus, manage) the reports from that area.

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[quote name='bfarber' timestamp='1300973888']It's the same as IPB 3.1 - it allows the group to access (and thus, manage) the reports from that area.

Could you restrict it based on whether a given user is actually a moderator somewhere? It doesn't really make sense for a site where regular members are frequently given moderator abilities for individual forums. The only way for them to be able to use the report center is to give the entire 'member' group access and then skin out the links for non-mods.

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[quote name='jbart04' timestamp='1300898906']
[quote name='CycleChat' timestamp='1300895796']snip

So you're saying that you believe sites with 100's of reports a day is happy with todays report solution? Well, our forum easily reach up to a 100 reports in a day and I have to say there is a lot of improvements that should be done the report centre. For a large forum like ours it's simply not optimal the way it is today.

I will probarbly post some more thoughts on this when I have time and they have posted information about the moderator panel.

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Have to say that would have preferred a system whereby we could communicate with the person making the report. Currently they probably expect a reply and when we do not it makes us look rude. As a result of not getting a reply they then resort to the PM system, which means double the amount of work for us.





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Is there a possibility to add to report center something like multimoderation functions?

For example if user send in report "please delete my post" the moderator can use multimoderations function dedicated to the forum where the reported post is, directly from the report view (like report status change).

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