Effective moderation features are essential for online communities. Forums, blog entries and member-to-member messaging are particularly attractive for spam bots and nuisance users alike. IPS Social Suite has always been best in class when it comes to moderation features with features like the free IPS Spam Service that are completely unmatched by other web applications. Over this series of 5 blog entries I'm going to introduce you to some of the new moderation features in the IPS Community Suite 4.0.
Part 1: Setting up moderators
Part 2: Approval Queue
Part 3: Reports
Part 4: Effective Moderation
Part 5: Warnings
Back in IP.Board 3.0, we introduced a feature which at the time we called the "Report Center". Before this, if a user clicked the "Report" button, it would send a personal message to all the moderators for the forum the post was in (seriously). The Report Center was one of my favourite features in IP.Board 3.0 - it provided a great way for moderators to collaborate on reports and know the action that was taken.
For 4.0 - we wanted to make this even more useful. We had 2 goals:
- It should be easy to set up and use. It currently has lots of configuration options dotted around the Admin CP and can feel a little confusing ("statuses" have "points" which leads to different coloured "flags" on reports) - it should be much easier for moderators to see what's important.
- When viewing the report itself, moderators should be able to see all the information they need immediately, and take action, without leaving the screen, making it quick and painless to deal with reports.
The first part was making it easy for users to submit reports (if submitting a report is difficult or time-consuming, users won't do it, which defeats the point of having the feature). We've made it so when clicking the "Report offensive content" button next to posts, comments, messages, etc. a modal window will pop up - here the user can optionally fill in a reason for their submitting the report, and when submitting, the modal window just disappears, with no page reload, so the user is not interrupted from what they're doing.
Next we wanted to improve how moderators deal with reports - here's a screenshot of the report screen:
Right from this page I can:
- See the content that was reported - I don't have to click anywhere to view it (naturally, I can click on the title to be taken to the actual content if I want to see it in context).
- Edit or delete the content. If I do this, it will do it via AJAX, without me ever leaving the page.
- See any warnings that have been given in the past to the user who posted the content being reported, and issue them with a warning (which will be issued without me leaving the page).
- Flag the member as a spammer, which will automatically take all the appropriate action for that, depending on how I've set it up in the Admin CP.
- See who has reported this content, and the message they provided with the report. By hovering on their photo I will see their hover card which allows me to send them a message (which will be sent without me leaving the page).
- See any comments on the report from other moderators and make a comment on the report - comments are submitted by AJAX so I can make a comment quickly.
- Change the status of or delete a report.
- Move to the next/previous reports pending.