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Moderation Part 2: Approval Queue

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




Sometimes content needs to be approved before it can be viewed. This can happen when:
  • Approval is enabled for a particular member (perhaps for a particular time after giving a warning)
  • Approval is enabled for a group (perhaps for new members until they have been registered for a certain number of days)
  • Approval is enabled for a forum/category/etc.

Currently, if there is content requiring approval, badges display next to the forum/topic to alert moderators. While this works well it has some drawbacks: it means clicking around the community to find content, and if there's an area of your community you don't visit very often (personally I don't often check the gallery here) sometimes you might not notice something needs to be approved.

For 4.0, we wanted to improve this. There were two main goals we set: What we've created is a new area of the moderator control panel which we call the Approval Queue. When you visit the approval queue, you see the first topic/post/comment/whatever which is pending approval: As you can see, the page shows you clearly who posted it, what it is and the content. You can click on the badge on the right (in the screenshot above where it says "File Comment") to be taken directly to it if you want to see it in context. At the top, you can see 3 really clear actions: approve, skip and delete. Clicking any of these will do that action, and then immediately show you the next thing pending approval. This allows moderators to move through the queue really quickly and effortlessly. By clicking on the author's name, you can also issue a warning, flag the user as a spammer and send the user a message - all this is done without leaving the page: And when all content has been approved, you can enjoy the satisfaction of an empty queue: Here's a video of it in action: As an incidental feature - previously if a member made a post and it needed to be approved, they would get a confirmation message telling them so but wouldn't be able to see the post. This sometimes led to confusion when members missed the confirmation message and thought their post hadn't been submitted. In 4.0, users can now see their own posts which are pending approval:
    [*]Content from across the suite should be pulled into a single area for moderators so moderators can locate content pending approval manually. [*]Moderators should be able to act on content pending approval (usually by approving or deleting) quickly.






























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[...]but wouldn't be able to see the post. This sometimes led to confusion [...]. In 4.0, users can now see their own posts which are pending approval

 

I always missed that in v3, so I am happy to see this being included in v4!

 

Also the Approval Queue is a nice addition. I really like the "all in one place" idea.

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Is there any capacity to handle "rejections with cause" as part of the approval queue?

In other words, is "delete" the only way to deal with content that should not be approved?

 

I ask because it seems like it's a very, very, very common use case, especially with more elaborate IP.Content submissions or really ANYTHING that needs to follow a specific format, that you would want to REJECT back to the poster with instructions on what they need to do to fix their content so it CAN be approved.

Is this use case - one I think is actually really useful and common and applicable across IPS components - supported?

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Is there any capacity to handle "rejections with cause" as part of the approval queue?

In other words, is "delete" the only way to deal with content that should not be approved?

 

I ask because it seems like it's a very, very, very common use case, especially with more elaborate IP.Content submissions or really ANYTHING that needs to follow a specific format, that you would want to REJECT back to the poster with instructions on what they need to do to fix their content so it CAN be approved.

Is this use case - one I think is actually really useful and common and applicable across IPS components - supported?

 

In that case you could message the member directly from the approval queue, then skip the item for now. There is no formal editorial process though if that is what you mean; it's outside of the scope of this feature right now.

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but where are the other moderator action needed? --- APROVE on MOVE --- right now people post in a forum but if a moderator is also a curator of the particular forum they need to move it to the proper forum - The Multi-Mod actions only allow a "canned" action to move the post to a specific form then Approve it.

 

In the above example its showing a file Comment - but for a forum post - do we get to see above the subject the GPS coordinates as to where the topic is posted  Category XYZ > FORUM ABC > SUB FORUM 123 >  

 

So that when i am reading the topic title & the content i can decide the post is approved but should really be moved to Category ABC > Forum 123 - 

 

Not like the mulit-mod features as the target forum is dependent on the content being moved & approved.

 

Or perhaps the person fat fingered the subject and there is a typo, or there are missing tags, there should be a set of options to perform these items before it is approved and disappears from focus, forcing the moderator to go hunt it down to make the needed changes.

 

I totally applaud for a unified interface for looking at all content site wide.

 

But the missing other moderator features like being able to move, lock, pin, edit tile, add edit tags, makes it hard to hunt down the just approved items all over the place. Not to mention posts to threads if they are moderated don't they may need to be Split.

 

The other way is to make the Approval Queue a tabbed interface Pending / Approval Log  this way you make your approval decisions thru the queue and get to an empty queue then toggle to the LOG and see all the items that were approved but allow for all the other moderator duties as i mentioned before without going on a scavenger hunt.

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edit #2:

After watching the video a few suggestions / questions on if these will appear later:


  • Will there be a way to view more than one approval at a time? (e.g. mass approve / delete without loading each one on a separate page)
  • Will there be a count to how many items are in the queue? (e.g. a badge next to the "Approval Queue" menu item) - Currently you're just kinda diving in hoping there aren't too many items without any kind of feedback on how much work you have cut out for you.

Is there any capacity to handle "rejections with cause" as part of the approval queue?

I would want to see that too. It's a shame it's not part of the core. "Here, let me rejectdelete your content but I'm not going to tell you why without doing 10 more steps".
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Also too is the order of items to be approved just chronological order based on time stamp from anywhere in the system?

 

Is it first in first to be approved or last in first to be approved? I would think that the items that have waited the longest should get first treatment - 

 

There should be a way to break up the approval queue by content type - comments(10), blogs(3), gallery(1), topics(18) , etc - perhaps moderators or administrators would like to approve items at least by module to maintain sanity, instead of jumping all over the place?

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There should be a way to break up the approval queue by content type - comments(10), blogs(3), gallery(1), topics(18) , etc - perhaps moderators or administrators would like to approve items at least by module to maintain sanity, instead of jumping all over the place?


Psh, sanity is overrated :smile:

That is a good idea though, filters would be nice.
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In that case you could message the member directly from the approval queue, then skip the item for now. There is no formal editorial process though if that is what you mean; it's outside of the scope of this feature right now.

 

That's a decent enough workaround but I strongly feel that reject (with comments) should be considered for 4.1... 

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"Reject with comments" from moderation queue is the type of feature that, had these plans been shared sooner rather than later, I think the user community would have strongly supported, and which probably could have been implemented - just FYI.

 

When you think about it, calling this the "Approval Queue" is even a little limiting or optimistic, depending on your perspective - it's more of a moderation queue, which is more compatible down the road for future extensibility, where there might be multiple actions/routes for different content types, not just approval or deletion. Just a thought.

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Having a button for "More options", such as what someone else mentioned, would be a good idea. Perhaps make it so that extra functions can be added easily from 3rd party add-ons, so there is a place to put the options without adding a ton of clutter.

Also, is there any way to narrow down where the queue is pulling from? What if someone wants to only handle queues from the gallery app, then later worry about posts? Making sure no content is overlooked is great, but there could be instances where it's still desired to handle approvals on an app-by-app basis.

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This is great and all, but what about the "Unapproved Content" page in the ModCP that exists in v3? I've added a link to this page on my ModCP bar manually for ease of access, but it seems like this blog post is making it appear as if this doesn't exist >_<

 

This page makes your job significantly easier when it comes to approving pending content. It even lets you filter by type of content/app like terabyte is suggesting. Has this page been forgotten about by everyone? ;_;

 

Members being able to see their pending content is a great update. I have members that double post when they get confused the first time they post and have nothing but a small notification returned to them.

 

I'm definitely looking forward to parts 2-5 in this series.

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This is very useful, agree with the suggestions made re filtering and full moderator options. Frustrating that again I can't view your attached videos on my iPad, why keep using swf files? I think you just want me to get the exercise from going upstairs to view on my PC!

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So. I already have this view in current version by loading this page: index.php?app=core&module=modcp&fromapp=forums&tab=unapprovedposts

The problem is that there is no notification to the moderators if they do not frequent the homepage where you get to see the moderated post badge.

What I would like is an alert in the admin bar or an opt-in email for moderated content. A lot of time it takes me hours to notice that some content is unmoderated. And it is annoying to load the unapprovedposts page manually several times a day just to find it empty. It is also annoying to have two tabs for posts and threads. Just adds to the nuisance.

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Would there be away to alert the administration that there are pending messages in the "Approval Queue" area? From what I saw in the images and video it don't tell the mods/admins that there is pending messages to be approval; thus if they don't click on it they won't know. Why not offer an little number or icon or something showing at the top or next to the Approval Queue window telling them there are messages pending? Just something to say, "hey there something here to look at."

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Lots of questions :)

 

A few people have asked about filtering by type - you may notice in the screenshot there is a "Hidden Content" header which lists all the types under it... clicking those will bring up a table that's the same as it was in 3.x (though we now go type -> unapproved/removed rather than unapproved/removed -> type because those filter bars were getting way too long :p) so you can still filter by type and get an overview and everything like you're used to. We think the approval queue is awesome and moderators will find it much easier to blast through all content at once (even on really communities, I very rarely see more than say... 25 things waiting approval and so filtering is usually unnecessary) but if you like to do things old school or maybe you're just really trigger-happy with the "mod queue" button - you still have all your fine-tuned control :)

 

 

djpretzel/GreenLinks: Like Rikki says, you can just PM the user. In 4.0, to PM a user, you just hover over their name and click "Send Message" which launches a modal with the PM form which then just dismisses itself after sending, so you don't even need to leave the page you're on! It's hard to describe how quick and super-cool this is until you use it.

 

Ocean West/Wolfie: If you click on the title (the black bar) it takes you to the topic/post/file/comment/image/article/event/blog entry/whatever where you can do whatever you like to it. Obviously each app has it's own stuff you can do to it.

It checks each app in turn (so you'll get all the calendar events, or whatever it happens to be first, then all the blog entries, or whatever) then orders the results by date (oldest first).

 

MisterPhilip:

1) ... Let's go for yes :)

2) Not in this interface. Click approve/skip/delete - next one comes up. Repeat until it's empty.

3) Nope. We tried to do this, but it's impossible to get from a technical perspective because all the data is in different tables.

 

chromaniac/ZakRhyno: Great idea. I'll look into it :)

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