What if new members couldn't immediately reply on BBS?

Here are some ideas that were floated a while back and I wondered what the BBS community thought about them:

  1. Don’t let a new poster post until he’s been around for n days (or some combination of reads/likes given/time spent)*

  2. Comments don’t appear until moderator-approved (until n posts are approved or the commenter gains a trust level)

… to be clear, this is just blue sky daydreaming shared with the intent of gathering general feedback NOT any kind of remotely formal proposal, or anything that is on the drawing board for implementation.

I have my own ideas about this, but I want to hear yours first.

* This is technically already enforced for creating new topics, which you can’t do as a new trust level 0 user.


It’s not a bad idea and a read-only or mod-approved period of, say, 5 days would control a number of single-issue blow-in trolls but might scare away newbies.

I’d go for a mod-approval probationary period myself. In some cases the creator of a featured item has shown up and denying them posting rights seems a tad counter-productive. Less confrontational to new posters, may increase the mod-team workload substantially.


1 is a terrible idea… we get some great relevant posts from people related to projects or companies that BB links to. And we should be encouraging new users if we don’t want the BBS to become super cliquey.

I don’t know how much of a pain in the ass #2 would be. I’ve seen it plenty of times on less traficked forums. I guess the question is, how much of a pain it is relative to deleting bad posts from new users.

Maybe that’s the kind of moderation that could be delegated to frequent users? e.g. certain users see the “pending moderation” posts and replying/linking auto-approves it, or something. Hmmm. Maybe only regular users who haven’t been flagged recently and have used flagging responsibly? I dunno. Thinking out loud.


Pre-mod, if used anywhere, should be for users who have been repeatedly flagged.

I’d like to assume the best of all new posters.


Yeah, I agree about assuming the best. The way I was thinking, most new users will be OK, so most new posts will get approved pronto.

If users have been repeatedly flagged I’d prefer to never see their posts ever. (:

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I’ve done this before modding spirituality/interfaith lists where sock-puppetry and trolling were regular problems disrupting the flow of conversation.
With enough mods, the impact on new users is minimal and it works well.
Without enough mods, the “y u no approve post” rage-mails start to pile up…

Whether or not it’s needed here, though.


Yes, there is a fundamental scaling problem. But stand back while I blow your mind for a minute:

What if other users at TL2 and TL3 were the ones that approved posts by new users? Until such time as they were no longer new users, were appropriately vetted as not-crazy, and didn’t need approvals any more?


How many active users of the BBS are already at trust levels two and three? If that number is high enough to enable quick moderation of new users, then who are these posts actually being hidden from?

If it’s about spam control, then making posts of new users invisible to the public (not-logged-in) view of the BBS should discourage spammers from trying to use the BBS as a platform without frustrating new users.

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Interesting idea.

I’ve seen and been part of mod-teams with ranked responsibilities before, but new recruits are usually hand-picked from longer-term and trusted users. Automating the “recruitment” process and relying on the generally decent nature of the user-base to make the right call might well work.
Any poor calls would be easily picked up through the flag system and queries/appeals I suppose could be directed through to next-level mods.

Kind of a leap forward from the /. style system of distributed self-modding. I like. Less work for the few while the many become invested in the smooth running of the place.


The other general concern I have is that even if we amortized new user “approval” across all users, it’s still a big ask.

Consider right now: how many new users (light grey usernames) do you encounter that are truly problematic, to the point that you have to throw flags at them?

If the answer is “extremely rarely”, as I suspect, it means we’re still way on over on the wrong end of the effort lever here. Why laboriously approve all posts by new users – even if we make it as easy as we can, merely click-to-view on a new user could be an implicit approval if no other flags were cast – when the reality is that 95% of new users you get, in practice, don’t need the oversight?

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Couple a week, tops. Fleshy spambots mostly, if I can get to them first. And the odd blow-in on controversial threads (Gnu-nuts or MRAs), but @Falcor is pretty damned good at keeping them controlled. But then I don’t know how many herrings flags are thrown in total.

So if the question is “Do I think it’s needed?” I’d probably have to answer “Not right now.”.

I really like the whole idea of devolved moderation, though. There’s a couple of forums I post to where it would solve a whole bundle of issues.

I think this one would be a really bad idea. It may work on sites where an account has significant uses other than posting. However “sign up now and post on sunday” is a horrible way to start a relationship with a new poster. That’s the point where many will decide that it wasn’t so urgent after all.


I tend to get flags right away for spam but outside of that, unless the commenter starts off with a real bang, I won’t get flags.

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I like the idea of drive-by troll control.

  1. Gets the job done, but would kill drive-by goodies, too.

  2. Creates more work for mods, but I think is the better of the two solutions. New-user comments being held in moderation until approved will also help establish house expectations of civility, restraint, etc.

We don’t care at all about how many “why didn’t you approve me?” posts pile up—we have an often-hilarious archive of thousands of such messages! From when we last had no-posts-until-approved moderation, back in the olden days.

What if other users at TL2 and TL3 were the ones that approved posts by new users?

This is the obvious endgame of Discourse’s trust system, though. Just not square 1, not for us. A tier especially for volunteer mods who can do a few basic useful things like kill spam and approve commenters might be more palatable to The Entity, though.


However, new members would be able to post those great relevant posts, but they would only appear after mod approval.

Hopefully, there’d be some sort of message like “new members posts must be approved by a moderator” so they don’t assume the site is b0rked.

I like it.

Perhaps also tie into some sort of voting thing, to – an interaction component, to show they are reading others’ work, and not just their own.

Again, this is to get out of the manual-approval queue, not an absolute requirement.

this was what I was thinking when I read the OP. the only flags I’ve ever thrown were all for spam. I like to think that’s because I have thick skin, but I’m sure it’s mostly because the crowd we attract is pretty polite and open to other viewpoints.

the concept of community moderation is a cool idea, though.

Restricting speech.

This is a strange notion for a website that spends as much time promoting the EFF and Little Brother as it does.

What if there were a legion of trolls such as myself out there with aged accounts? What if we have spent weeks setting up throwaways and agreeing with your insipid cultural marxist opinions to curry favor?
You can enact whatever policies you wish. Please feel free to alienate your new users. Please feel free to prove yourselves hypocrites and ban tor exit nodes. We will find a way for our ideas to at least be heard whether you like it or not. BoingBoing may be a private corporation but it operates via the public internet. Goose meet gander.

The BoingBoing BBS is a hostile place to be a dissenter. From my personal experience dissenters to the so called ‘liberal’ cause are treated rudely, baited, labeled as trolls and banned. Until that changes you will never be rid of me.

Agree with you later,
Occupy BoingBoing.

PS. The BoingBoing BBS Terms of Service allow stunt accounts and throwaways. If they delete this post you will know they have gone full Stalin.

Support the EFF.


Do you even know what “neoliberal” means, or did anyone give you a “scary phrases” magnetic poetry set for Christmas?


Case in point.