Softbans


#1

How about the ability to ban a user from a particular topic as the default first sanction in Discourse?

At the moment, apparently the only option available for moderators to discipline a user is to ban them altogether from the whole forum, with the length of the ban according to the severity of the infraction. This is sometimes more punishment than would strictly be necessary to keep the discussion on course.

I suggest that if a user is being annoying in a particular thread, then the option to exclude them from that thread for a week, or until it closes, should be available as a moderation tool in addition to an outright ban for things that are way over the line.

What do you think?


#2

This had been done to me a couple times when I first joined, so I know that some version of this is possible. But I suspect that it is more work for the mods than simply choosing a total duration. How much more work? And how much do they even have to do anyway? I have no idea. But since they don’t usually do it, it’s obviously not preferred. Maybe it can be made easier somehow.

Also I am not sure about the whole “annoying” problem. There seem to be very different notions floating around as to what constitutes “off topic” discussion. Usually my marginally topical attempts at humor are far better received than my attempts at sticking closely to the topic. I think that problem posts need clearer definition, such as spam, abuse, or off topic - and that covers the flaggable offenses. “I don’t agree”, “I don’t like you”, and “this conflicts with my pet ideology” are what I see under the annoying umbrella, but those are for better or worse one’s own problem rather than the poster’s.


#3

I suspect what would happen if people were merely banned from one thread, their indignation would prompt them to carry it over to other threads.


#4

Or start new threads to carry on the conversation that they’ve been banned from, seen that too.


#5

We could permanently ban a few selected users from the mass shootings threads. They add nothing other than the same tedious defenses and prevaricating, tone-deaf denials they post in every thread involving guns: guns don’t kill people, laws don’t make us safer, #not all gun owners, concealed carry I loves mah gun, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.


#6

I recommend using a killfile addon, like the one linked in a recent meta topic. On mobile at the moment, can look into making a fork that supports loading a ban list from URL. Is this something that interests you?


#7

As usual I have no idea exactly what is going on on planet popobawa4u, but this has never been possible.

Suspension (timed) is the default action yes, but there are some other things you can do which are more obscure but technically possible:

  • lock their trust level at zero (new user)
  • block them from posting anywhere, ala suspected new user “spammers”

Why can’t the mod just post a mod message in the topic asking everyone to chill out, and mentioning a person by name if needed if extra chillation is warranted? Or the mod could pm the user directly and use the topic template form for this?

Longer term, we are looking at more sophisticated user muting (as in, you would elect to mute someone) by category, topic, and time duration as well. Unfortunately there is no category for gun topics per se, but they could be tagged…


#8

Maybe it was done manually. But there were topics which were still open to other posters which were closed to me. It was two years ago so I don’t remember all the specifics. There were a few topics about gender and sexual harassment/assault and one very confrontational then-regular blew up a storm about my comments, which were eaten.

There was also a glitch back then which got me in trouble several times, that when a post of mine would get eaten, it would re-appear in my composer panel! So I would assume that it was just a posting glitch and send it again. A mod was furious, told me that my comments were disruptive, and I was then unable to read several specific posts about sex and gender issues for the next few days. These were “boing” topics and I was able to access some of them again before they closed, so it was I think about 2-3 days.

I can only tell you what happened on my end, and it was not my imagination. Since I was a new user it could have been a trust-level change, of either me or the topic.


#9


#10

A couple weeks ago I had the composer open with a long comment I was working on. The thread was shut down due to many flags before I could send my comment. When I went to post a comment about what happened in the lounge, the other unsent comment was sent with my new comment. Not sure if it was a glitch or user error but it looked like I was trying to carry on an argument across threads. Thankfully I edited all of that away before it was noticed.


#11

I’ve definitely seen odd behavior when working within threads that have been locked or deleted before my browser session caught up.


#12

I know at least one person who was banned from boingboing for assuming that “Falcor” was a bug. Maybe a heads up?

“Some of your posts in this thread have been flagged as offtopic. Please don’t repost them.”

If the user has been here for a while, you could suggest a thread fork.

It’s depressing to learn that banned people now occupy a good many of ones “Most replied to, most liked by, and most liked” slots.


#13

I was just hoping that the reason we’ve seen so many good reliable contributors banned is that the tools available are too presently too coarse. The other explanations are too much of a downer.


#14

9 posts were split to a new topic: @hecep’s Modusoperandi thread


#15

I dunno. I’m just trying to think of constructive ways to ask for a lighter touch on the moderation front. If that’s verboten then it’ll inform my opinion on BoingBoing


#17

Discourse does save a draft of your currently composed reply, once it is above a minimum length. You can see this via the “saved” indicator at the bottom right of the editor. There is one reply draft per user per topic.

These are saved server side. To re-load the draft, close your browser (or go to a different device) and re-enter the topic. You can also cancel a draft, minimize the composer and there’s an X there at the bottom right.

(The primary use case is switching devices, or composing on a different topic to come back to “later”.)

So if you were writing a reply and the topic got closed, that reply draft would be saved for you on that topic only. But you’d have no place to put the reply, either. Old drafts eventually get auto-deleted, so no worries.


#18

If the topic is locked, could this be getting mixed up with the “new topic” draft?

I know that when I’ve tried starting a new topic in one window, that quotes an old (locked) topic that I have open in another windows (or multiple locked topics), the attempt to quote the old topic ends up causing trouble, to the point where, in the scenario where I’m quoting locked topics, I now generally prefer to just construct the quote tag manually.


#19

New topics have their own draft, exactly one, ever. There is only one New Topic draft per user for all time.


#20

I’m beginning to suspect it’s a rave of some kind.


#22

draft 2, go:

Yeah. It sucks to look and see that pillars of community are disposable. I once was a pillar at a forum. And now, I am nothing. Like the one above me on the scoreboards. Depressing. But at least I have the words I’ve written. (And also, root control over the domain that forum uses - if I wanted to, I could redirect it to mine and go full Kaz Miller)