Moderators fill an important role on your community: they help to maintain order, they help to filter content out that should not be made available, and they help to assist new users and keep the site moving in the right direction. It is important that moderators have the tools they need made available to them in a manner that is easy to use, and easy to understand. While the moderator tools in IP.Board are robust and powerful, we felt we could improve upon the existing functionality to make using and finding these moderator tools easier.
A common request over the years has been for a moderator control panel to be added to IP.Board. IP.Board 3.2 will now feature a new moderator control panel where most of the moderator tools are now consolidated into one area. No longer will your moderators need to jump all around the site to do their daily tasks.
For moderators, accessing the moderator control panel is a click away on any page:
(Please remember that all screenshots you see are of an early pre-release build and are very much subject to change before the final release).
(Please note also that we are aware of the bugs you see in any of the screenshots below - we will address them before release ;) )
Upon entering the Moderator Control Panel the first thing you will see is a quick member lookup form. This form of course uses the member look-ahead feature to assist you with finding the member you are looking for, and clicking a result will take you to the screen where you can edit or warn the user, add a note to the user's account, and review past warn logs (see our previous blog entry on the new edit member page for more details and screenshots).
If the moderator has access to manage any area of the report center, they can quickly see from this tab the open reports from all areas they can manage. There is a link to the full report center at the bottom of the page, where they can perform additional duties, review closed reports, or multi-moderate reports. It is important to note that the report center now shares this moderator control panel wrapper, so if you click to view the full report center, you can easily return to any other area in the moderator control panel afterwards.
One of the most common duties a moderator has to deal with is approving content that is pending approval. Previously, in IP.Board, you would have to visit each forum individually to approve content that was not yet visible. Similarly, if you can moderate the calendar, or the download manager, or any other application, you have to visit that application directly and use it's own moderator tools separately. This creates a disparate and inconsistent experience in the software for moderators, forcing them to learn how to use each moderator tool and find each moderator area separately.
As of IP.Board 3.2, these moderator tools are now combined into one interface to make it easy to find content requiring approval, and easy to deal with said content. While you can still manage the topics pending approval within each forum, and approve calendar events directly from the calendar, you are not forced to go hunt these things down if you don't wish to.
You will note in this screenshot that there are button links on the title bar to access: Events Pending Approval (from Calendar), Posts Pending Approval, Topics Pending Approval, and Files Pending Approval (from Download Manager). All applications in IP.Board can easily plugin to this new system in order to allow it's content pending approval to be managed in a single location. Indeed, we plan to have plugins for Gallery and Blog also available with their associated IP.Board 3.2 compatibility releases. The content on these tabs can also paginate, in the event there are many items pending approval.
(please ignore the obvious formatting issues in this screenshot - they will be fixed in the final release)
We have created a page in the moderator control panel where you can now manage your members from a central location. You can see here that we have tabs for viewing banned members, suspended members, members on moderator queue, members who currently are restricted from posting, members who are banned from chat, and recently issued warnings. While banned members and members banned from chat cannot be managed from the front end at this time (banning is currently primarily an ACP-only option), for other tabs the restriction line is linked to the warn panel so that you can quickly redact post restrictions, suspensions, and similar punishments should you need to.
The recent warnings tab allows you to review all warnings and notes left by your moderators quickly from one page. While there are logs available in the ACP for this purpose as well, you can now review these warnings from the front end to ensure your moderators are not abusing their powers. Your other moderators can also access this page so that they are kept in the loop of all member actions that are occurring on the site.
IP Address Tools
The IP Address tools available in IP.Board for moderators have been moved to the moderator control panel to provide a single place for all moderator actions and tools. The IP Address tools work similar to those available in IP.Board 3.1 and earlier versions (they are currently available in the user control panel in earlier versions of IP.Board).
As with the IP Address tools, we have moved the announcements management into the moderator control panel to provide a single point of reference for all moderator tools and actions in 3.2.
We have made some exciting changes to IP.Board 3.2 with regards to deleting posts and topics that we think you will enjoy. Firstly, the old notion of a "trash can" forum is gone. Your trash can forum will still exist upon upgrade, of course, and all of the content will still be available there. You will be able to prune it, delete the topics/posts, and perform any other functions to the content within this forum at will just as you can now. However, this forum will no longer be "special", and any settings and options related to the trash can forum will now be gone.
Instead, when you delete a post or topic, a flag will now be set on that content in the database, but it will be left right where it is otherwise. It will be removed from view just as if it had actually been removed from the database, so for all intents and purposes, deletion still works the same way for moderators on the site. However, by keeping the content within the database temporarily, you and your moderators can now properly "restore" it from the moderator control panel. If you choose to restore deleted posts or topics, that content will be put right back in place as if it had never been removed.
A task in IP.Board will run periodically to remove deleted content permanently after a preset number of days to ensure your database does not fill up with content that was purposefully deleted.
We feel these changes will provide for a more natural flow of events for moderators, allowing them to restore deleted content properly without having to move and merge topics and posts as they do now using the trash can.
While you can ignore deleted content and allow the task to remove it automatically, you can also permanently delete it from the moderator control panel without waiting if you wish.
Modification Author Note: Developers who write modifications that retrieve posts and topics will need to make adjustments in their work with the release of 3.2 to ensure you do not mistakenly return content that is deleted. New methods have been added to class_forums to assist you with generating the appropriate queries, and a new class has been made available that can return posts for you easily. Here is an example of returning 5 deleted posts, for instance:
$this->library = new $classToLoad( $this->registry ); $this->library->setPermissionData(); $posts = $this->library->getPosts( array( 'postType' => array( 'sdelete', 'pdelete', 'oktoremove' ), 'sortField' => 'post_date', 'sortOrder' => 'desc', 'parse' => true, 'getCount' => true, 'limit' => 10, 'offset' => $st ) ); $total = $this->library->getPostsCount();
$classToLoad = IPSLib::loadLibrary( IPSLib::getAppDir('forums') . '/sources/classes/topics.php', 'app_forums_classes_topics', 'forums' );
Yes, that's really it. The library is quite flexible and should aid you in converting your modifications to 3.2, reducing duplicate code in your modifications, and reducing potential bugs with your code, especially as new features are added to IP.Board moving forward.
We have spent some time consolidating moderator tools and making them easier to understand and easier to use for IP.Board 3.2. All of the pages you see in the screenshots above allow third party applications to easily plugin to them so that even your third party applications can be managed from this single interface (note that third party applications can also add their own sidebar tabs, should they have moderator tools that do not fall under the existing generic categories). Also, while this was not discussed above, moderators will only see and be able to access tabs that they have permission to access. In my screenshots I am logged in as an admin/super moderator so I can access all tools, but the IP address tools (for instance) will not show to regular forum moderators. As new moderator tools are made available in IP.Board, we now have an obvious home to place them so you'll never have to hunt them down in the software again.
We hope you like these changes, and that they make managing your site easier than ever!
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!