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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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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.

 

... which is nice, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't really address the specific use case - I want to explicitly reject content, and I want to SEE that it's been rejected, and I want to SEE the comments that went along with that rejection, and who rejected it, and the date of rejection, in a list.

THAT's the functionality, and it'd be quite useful, and what you're describing isn't as useful. It's not useless, by a long shot, but it's not what I'm asking for, and I want to make that clear, and I think you should strongly consider the feature request, and try to understand the difference between what you're describing, which is nice, and what I'm describing, which is, well... much nicer...

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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!

They're using Jing/Screencast, which is a rather popular method of providing brief videos easily. Now, get off your lazy bum and get on that PC! :tongue:


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 :tongue:) 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 :smile:

You mean sort of like when doing a search (currently), then clicking on the different types of searches on the left?

Only possible problem I see with how it's implemented (if I'm understanding you correctly and going by the screenshot) is that the more apps you have that could have hidden content, the more items in that list, since it's each area of each app showing instead of just the app. Maybe a future version could show the apps, then clicking on the app would expand the app (if it has multiple areas)? The someone could either work on all gallery content or just gallery comments.

Just tossing that out there. Other than that, still being able to limit the view to certain areas is superb.
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What about this?

 

Make the section on the left filter by area for both the Hidden data and for the Approval Queue?

 

And you could collapse or expand the Approval Queue / Hidden Content to show the app/module, installed.

 

Then anything that was Approved it would be visible from the Approval Log

show Who, What: What, Where, When, Why

 

Who: Poster: Matt / Moderator: Charles

What: IPS UTF Database Converter

Where: File Comments

When: 3/4/2014 @ 3:45 PM

Why: Approved

 

x.png

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According to the screen shot, you only see one item at a time. I recently had a new member reply to an existing topic, where he posted a link supposedly in reference to the discussion of a particular type of tool. The post went directly to the mod queue. I hovered the link and saw it went to a tool suppliers website, not the tool manufacturer.

 

Then I noticed a second message, posted just a minute after the first one and it also had a link to the same website and it also landed in the queue. But this forum software (not IPS), I could see both messages in the moderation queue at once. A single post from a new member, with a link that violated the rules would get edited and, hopefully, nothing more would have come from it. But 2 in a row, less than 2 minutes apart, is a new member's attempt to mask his spam attempts as "helpful" replies. So, in this case, he was warned of the violation and its consequences.

 

In this IPS4 feature, I wouldn't have known there were two or more errant posts from the same con... member that alerted me to his behavior until after I might have edited and approved the first one and saw the second one later in the stack.

 

I'd like to see at least 2 different "views" of the moderation queue, the stack and a list of all (at least in excerpted format, like what is available when you click View New Content).

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I'd like to see at least 2 different "views" of the moderation queue, the stack and a list of all (at least in excerpted format, like what is available when you click View New Content).

When you say a list, do you mean something like the same view as a single, except they are one on top of another, and as you approve/skip/delete, that one disappears and the next one scrolls up to take it's place? Something like that would be nice. Have up to 10 showing at a time, so you can see several at a time. If someone is on a spamming spree, you should see their posts (or comments/etc) close to one another and you can view a few at once.

Being able to view all their unapproved content (as a filter) would be nice. I think it's been said this would be possible, but if not, would like to see it added.
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GreenLinks: No.

 

djpretzel: Awesome, thanks for the feedback :)

 

marklcfc: Yes, of course you can.

 

Wolfie: I mean exactly how it works now, but the tabs and the menu have been flipped.

 

xbp-tpn: No.

 

Ocean West/Jim McClain: Yes, that exists. See my previous comment.

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  • Management

I think many are confused between this approval queue being a "new" function and this approval queue being the only way to approve content.

 

Just to clarify, the approval queue is a new feature. It does not replace existing ways to view and approve content.

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I know that IPS staff authoring these blog posts realize that people not familiar with how IPS works, even in the current or older versions, are reading them. But I think sometimes your comment replies are geared more for current users than those of us who don't know how a function works in IPS3. So, I'm not quite clear about the answer to my question above. Since Mark said, "it exists," I'll assume some semblance of what I hoped for will come to pass. But I did want to let you know, for future reference, there are some of us who are occasionally confused by the answers, especially when you mention things like, "same as it was in 3.x."

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GreenLinks: No.

 

djpretzel: Awesome, thanks for the feedback :smile:

 

marklcfc: Yes, of course you can.

 

Wolfie: I mean exactly how it works now, but the tabs and the menu have been flipped.

 

xbp-tpn: No.

 

Ocean West/Jim McClain: Yes, that exists. See my previous comment.

 

Any reason why this feature isn't being implemented? Seems like a natural and obvious way to alert moderators about new unapproved content.

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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.

 

I second this suggestion. I had a hook a few years ago that provided this in the 3.x software, but one of the board upgrades made it stop working and I don't think the author updated the hook. 

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