Should we make flags more visible?


#47

It’s beautiful! I wonder why they changed it?


#48

Revolution?

Is it meant to be this?


#49

The illustrator only knew the flag by description. And so, having been told that it was “Or, a dragon sable”, he proceeded to draw a Western dragon, as you might find on the Welsh flag.


#50

I’m flagging all these “feed me” comments! And I’m double flagging anything to do with dragons!!


#51

While I’m amused by the thought, some people take gaming more seriously than others, What’s a game for some may be harassment for others.


#52

Well, I finally snapped and flagged a post

But I quoted him because I suspect the comment will soon be gone and I’d like some kind of piñata effect to remain.

Hmm, I thought I had headshot capability…


#53

For spam, regulars do. Not for other types.

(Spam has been reduced since we instituted the Akismet layer. There are a tremendous number of 100% human spammers running around out there, way more than 3 years ago.)


#54

Cheers for clearing that up. And thanks for all the fish, I don’t say that enough.


#55

I say this without rancor, but on BB and BBS, moderators and above are the Man simply by virtue of the power you wield. In the end, the owners and admins don’t need public approval to implement anything.

But since you ask, with the exception of spam, I don’t trust you (or, for that matter, anyone) to decide which voices I should hear, thought I can’t stop you if you decide to filter which comments I get to see. Except for the self-identified ones, who is and is not a troll (whether in the original sense of a griefer who says things calculated to people’s push buttons or in the more modern sense of anyone who engages in a bad faith argument) is by its nature always somewhat subjective, since we can only speculate about the motives of others. Even if 95% of the time I agree with you or anyone else who can act on flags, I’d still much rather simply know what the whole community thinks. My preference is for a system where enough flags hide a comment from immediate view, but allow me to unhide it or all hidden comments in a thread at once. I can’t imagine what compelling argument there could be for taking the decision of whether to see a flagged comment out of the reader’s hand, but I’m open to hearing one and, at the risk of repeating myself, my preference is irrelevant if the Man doesn’t agree with it.

Were BBS to implement a system that hides flagged comments in such a way that readers could unhide it for themselves, I can definitely see the wisdom in only letting users who’ve been around for a set time or made a set number of comments or both give flags, lest sock puppet accounts allow one person to wreak havoc. I can also see the wisdom in flags being anonymous. I’m not sure what the reasoning is behind only letting users with certain badges see the flags, or even seeing the reasons for them, but until I read this thread, I didn’t even know the trust levels existed. SteampunkBanana makes a solid point about users not wanting to pile on if they could see the flags, but I’m not sure why a trust badge would change that.

It’s your space, as I learned when everyone’s years of comments and reputations were unceremoniously left behind in the transition to BBS. It’s nothing personal. I actually appreciate that lesson which taught me that I’m a guest and not a resident in any online space owned by someone else, be it Google, Linden Labs, or Happy Mutants. Happy Mutants LLC is a pretty benign corporation, but it still has the power to manage its space without democratic approval. All we Happy Mutant guests can do is vote with our clicks. It’s nice that the Man asks what we think, but unwise to suffer the illusion that he must. As much as I love BB, I know my place and I’m careful never to forget it.

In general I’m in favor of openness and the community’s approval or disapproval of something being publically visible to everyone. For my part, the default position should always be open and transparent moderation practices, with restricted access only when it’s justified, as it sometimes is (such as in the case of flag anonymity).

Sarcasm isn’t the default tone most people read. You may have been clearly making a joke in your head, but no one else had any way to know you weren’t seriously hating. Emoticons were first invented to signal tone. I personally always explicitly make it clear, usually with a #SARCASM or something similar. Yes, some people may still take offense, but if you don’t give some indicator that you’re not serious, then any misunderstanding is on you. Plus, it was still sexist, you jerkhole [joking about the jerkhole part (don’t flag be, bro; clifyt told me to call him that)].

Doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose?


#56

I totally agree…posts should only be hidden from immediate view, with an option to view. I’m perfectly willing to see opinions I disagree with, and I want to know what everyone thinks. If it gets too ‘curated’ by the majority it’ll just become an echo chamber.


#57

No. Fuck that guy.


#58

To varying degrees yes. But to be clear, I’m not totally against curation. I just think it works best when the curating is relatively transparent. Every online community’s administration seeks the balance that works best for its goals between process transparency, openness to users, commenter latitude, and Falcor hours.


#59

Well, yes, he’s advocating fascism. What I mean is, I thought the whole point of flagging was to get the post removed? Perhaps I misunderstand flags.


#60

The point of flagging is

  • to bring it to the attention of BB staff

  • to hide the post and generate a PM to that user user inviting them to edit it and improve it, at which point it will be automatically unhidden.*

* That’s assuming the post has enough flags by enough users for that to happen.


#61

Interesting. I like that feature. Thanks for the clarification.

Just from a personal perspective, as a user who wants to engage productively with others, I would want to know if and, if a reason was given, why a comment of mine was flagged (though not by whom), and I’d feel completely comfortable with everyone else seeing that information as well. Even if it doesn’t move me, all I have to do is not edit it, clarify or apologize. But if I do see the logic of the flag, I’d want to know so I could improve on it.

On a separate note, another thing that would be really cool is if it were possible to view older versions of edited comments on request. The reason being that, as a pedant, I frequently edit my own posts to fix typos or add to the comments, but it would be nice if people could see that I hadn’t deleted anything or, if I did and they wanted to know what, they could see what it is. For example, in my first comment on this thread, there’s a word-order typo that I left in because its irksomeness didn’t outweigh my desire not to have people wonder if I removed something from it. Just an idea and maybe not even practical.


#62

I rather thought of it as removing his agency without actually gagging him. Fight fire with fire, fight fascism with… fire.


#63

One issue might be “choose one” list of reasons for flagging.

I was once a moderator at a high-traffic site, and at BBS I just flag anything that makes me wish I could hide it. It sounds like that’s what you want.

But probably a lot of people see something they might otherwise flag, look at the list of flagging criteria, and say to themselves “No, it’s not one of those, never mind.”

Off the top of my head two more possible items for the list might be

  • Derailing
  • Hostile and Unwelcoming

Or the descriptions of “Off-Topic” and “Inappropriate” could be rewritten to explicitly include these sorts of posts. (Or you could just get rid of the list.)


#64

It’s Inappropriate

This post contains content that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or a violation of our community guidelines.

What you describe seems covered by the above, to me.


#65

Flagged.


#66

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