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IP.Board 3.3 Dev Update: Moderation

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry discussing our efforts towards moderation features, and specifically the new warning system.
Today I wanted to talk about another area of moderation, perhaps the most important area - managing content - and how we've improved that in IP.Board 3.3.

Unapproved, Soft Deleted, Deleted

IP.Board has some great functionality when it comes to managing content - you can set any user, group or forum to require manual approval before posts are made, and once content has been posted you can edit it, hide it, or delete it.

The way that this is presented though can sometimes be confusing. Currently, the ability to hide a post (which we refer to as "soft delete" or "remove from view") is accessed by clicking "Delete". I see on a lot of communities, a moderator wants to hide a piece of content, but not delete it, and clicks "Unapprove". This of course works in that the content is hidden, but it re-enters the moderation queue and is indicated to moderators that it needs their approval when browsing the community or the moderator control panel, when in fact, moderators are aware of it, and have deliberately chosen not to approve it.

We've made some changes to make this a little clearer:

Currently when viewing a post, the options are:

  • Unapprove
  • Delete
    • Remove from View (Soft Delete)
    • Delete from topic (Hard Delete)

This presents a few issues - firstly, as mentioned before - it's not immediately obvious that the "Delete" option contains sub-options, and in addition, "Unapprove" and "Remove from View" perform almost identical actions.

In 3.3, we've merged "Unapprove" and "Remove from View" into a single action called "Hide", and "Delete" now simply moves the post to the Trash Can (accessible in the moderator control panel) without any additional dialogues.

So the options now are:
  • Edit
  • Hide
  • Delete

All the same functionality, but much simpler.

This change also applies to both topics and posts, and also the comments system used by Blog/Gallery/Downloads/Calendar/Nexus, which currently does not allow content to be hidden in any way once it's been approved.

Interface Enhancements

We've also moved a few things around to make moderation tools easier to access.

The drop down menu

When viewing a topic, there is currently a drop down menu at the bottom of the screen allowing you to perform moderator actions on the topic. The problem is, not only is it below all the posts, it's hidden behind a "Show Moderator Tools" link:

We've moved this up the top, next to the reply button, and made the options a little easier to understand:

We've also moved the drop down in the forum view to the same location.


Also in that "Show Moderator Tools" bar is a long select box - when viewing a topic, there are little checkboxes next to each post which you can check, then select an action from that box to perform an action on several posts at once.

This isn't great though because it isn't always obvious that it is that select box that the checkboxes are about, and also, even if you do know it, you have to scroll all the way down to get to it.

The comments system used by Blog/Gallery/Downloads/Calendar/Nexus has a much better way of dealing with this - when you click the checkbox, an overlay appears in the bottom-right corner of your screen. We've implemented this same design:

This is used both for the checkboxes next to each post when viewing a topic, and next to each topic when viewing a forum.

We've also made it so that the options available are aware of the options you check - for example, if you check a post which is hidden, you'll see the option to unhide it, but not also to hide it (since it's already hidden).

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.

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