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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.


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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