Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

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jim 777
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Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by jim 777 »

On another forum I moderated on there was the ability when editing a user's post to "Make Invisible (unapprove)" said post. When selected the post was made invisible to the public/registered users and looked as if it was deleted or never there. To admins and moderators the post had a slightly different colored background to indicate it was set invisible. If it was the first topic of a thread, the thread was invisible.

This was a great tool to allow mods to discuss the post and or user while not allowing any potential harm from people to view it.

Obviously when moderators edit the invisible post there's the option to "Make Visible (approve)" the post. Invisible threads/posts were manipulated as normal to admins/mods.

I searched and I think this encompasses the other MOD requests for setting things invisible. It was a very useful tool. I'm sure that more than one CSS files will be edited and will have to be for additional themes but everyone has been great in supplying which files are changed and where.

Thanks for 'listening'
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by JHochstuhl »

Excellent request.. I'd like to add a little ..

When a post is "unapproved" (invisible), the OP still has the ability to see/edit his own post. The need for such a mod is often needed as the result of a moderator action. This of course, gives the OP the ability to correct a post. (perhaps to comply with a board rule)

This functionality was called "Approve/Unapprove" on Invision (IPB) and I understand something similar was available on vBulletin.

To be truly useful, it should be available via moderator tools.

If there is anyone out there that wishes to tackle this, I would suspect it would be a highly used modification. Especially if created to service all DB types installable by AutoMod.
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by Pony99CA »

I was playing around with this last night but fell asleep. :D You can set the post_approved field to 0 in the phpbb_posts table. That will hide the post from everybody except moderators.

There are obviously a few issues with just doing that, though:
  • The user can't see his own post. That would require a change to the code that I tried looking into.
  • If it's the first post in the topic, the topic would still be visible, just not the first post. (If the topic only contained one post, the topic is still visible, but clicking on it gives an error.) You could also set the topic_approved field to 0 in this case, but that would hide all of the replies, too.
  • Only a person with access to the database can do this. It would require a MOD to the MCP to add an "Approve/Unapprove selected posts" action to the UI. You might also want a new Can approve/unapprove posts Moderator permission.
  • What happens to the poster's post count if the post is made invisible? Should it stay the same or get decremented? What about if the whole topic was made invisible? Do all posters lose post count?
Anyway, I thought that I'd share those thoughts with you to show you that it is possible, but would require some thought into the functionality and some work to implement it.

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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by jim 777 »

Interesting. I know it is possible, I and many others have seen it on other boards. The work around through the tables just isn't efficient, plus I don't want the mods remotely near the tables (or the ACP for that matter). Don't really care about post counts and it really is immaterial for the needs.

Even though my board is small now, I've already had a couple times where I'd have used the feature.

Hope the developers consider it
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by tbackoff »

Flying is the second best thrill to cheerleaders; being caught is the first.
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by jim 777 »

t_backoff wrote:I'll bite
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by Pony99CA »

jim 777 wrote:Interesting. I know it is possible, I and many others have seen it on other boards.
By "possible" I meant "possible without too much work". As almost anything is "possible" in open source software, I thought that I'd shorten that. Apparently that was a bad decision. :D

I've also seen it on vBulletin (where I've been an Admin on two different boards), but that's irrelevant if they aren't phpBB; it could be a lot more work in phpBB. My post was intended to show that it might not be that much work after all.
jim 777 wrote:The work around through the tables just isn't efficient, plus I don't want the mods remotely near the tables (or the ACP for that matter).
Yes, and I pretty much said that when I listed it as an issue, didn't I? Whether it's "efficient", though, is a matter of opinion. If you want the feature now, it's the only way to do it (unless you want to move such posts to a hidden forum).
jim 777 wrote:Don't really care about post counts and it really is immaterial for the needs.
You mean "immaterial for your needs". You started this topic after JHochstuhl posted in the Support forum and was told to make a MOD request, so what about his needs?

Regardless, it's still something that should be determined for people who do care. For example, deleting posts does affect post count, and this is similar to temporarily deleting them. But then you have to worry about whether posts are counted in the forum for that person (so you don't decrement the post count for posts that don't count anyway), and you have to worry about those same issues if you approve the post again.

However, if you don't decrement the post counter, people searching for somebody's posts will find that the search results might not match the post count. (Of course, you can already have that occur if you have forums where posts aren't counted, but in that case that count of posts found will be greater than the post count; in this case, it will be less.)

Maybe it should work in the same way that moving posts to a forum hidden from most people works....

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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by jim 777 »

I didn't mean to discredit your points at all and apologize if it came across that way. I hadn't looked at things like the post counts in the same way you describe as my experience (limited as it may be) has been where post counts are hidden due to people feel its a status level, giving them more "credit" than others.

I guess that I was just putting in my opinion for possibly easing the dev's efforts.
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by Pony99CA »

jim 777 wrote:I hadn't looked at things like the post counts in the same way you describe as my experience (limited as it may be) has been where post counts are hidden due to people feel its a status level, giving them more "credit" than others.
Interesting. I don't recall ever visiting a site where post counts were hidden. If you don't have a reputation system, it's a reasonable (albeit imperfect) guide to how much credence to give somebody's post. It's certainly an indicator of how much somebody participates in the community.
jim 777 wrote:I guess that I was just putting in my opinion for possibly easing the dev's efforts.
Yes, it would definitely be easier if you didn't have to worry about post counting. Even then, if you use the approval flag and later delete somebody's post, you'd have to check that deleting the post actually decremented the post count. Unapproved posts don't show in the post count normally, so the delete function might not take them into consideration; however, an approved post that was unapproved would be different, because it was added to the count. So how would the delete function know whether the post was never approved or just unapproved? Maybe it would be easier after all to update the post count on unapproval and update it again on approval. :D

Adding a visible flag to the topics and posts table would make some things easier if you didn't want hiding a post to change the post count, but that would require a database schema change (and thus make the MOD more complex).

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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by jim 777 »

Pony99CA wrote: Interesting. I don't recall ever visiting a site where post counts were hidden. If you don't have a reputation system, it's a reasonable (albeit imperfect) guide to how much credence to give somebody's post. It's certainly an indicator of how much somebody participates in the community.
Yeah, well you get a bunch of sport bike riders on one board and everyone things they know it all and have done it all! :lol:

I just like it when the "old fart" who's new to forums, but knows so much about the topic at hand, shares the knowledge that only comes from a lifetime of experience and passion, without getting questioned by some idiot because of low post count. Don't want to assume someone's an idiot, let them open their mouth and prove it ;)

Don't mean to get off topic, I will appreciate anything that get anywhere near the desired mod!
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by JHochstuhl »

Well, it would seem we're back into the Mod Request status.

Still hoping that someone would be game to pick up this project.
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by Pony99CA »

Of the people posting here, I would guess that I've looked into it as much as anybody other than Tabitha. I was considering trying to do it the way that I described above (using the post approval process), but there are still questions remaining:
  • How do we handle the user's post count? (I'm leaning to decrementing the post count.)
  • Should unapproving/hiding the first post in a topic hide the whole topic? (It's harder if it should.)
  • Is allowing the user to edit unapproved/hidden posts a hard requirement? (It's more work if it is.)
  • Do we need any new permissions (like Can unapprove posts or Can edit posts in moderation queue)? (Again, more work.)
  • If a post is put back into the moderation queue, and that reduces the user's post count below the Newly registered users post count threshold, should that person be put back into the Newly registered users group? (I'm leaning toward No, because they were out of the group and adding them back is probably harder to do. :D)
The other issue is, of course, time. I don't need this MOD (I don't use MODs), so some incentive to develop it would be nice. :D

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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by jim 777 »

How do we handle the user's post count? (I'm leaning to decrementing the post count.) I'm indifferent on this.

Should unapproving/hiding the first post in a topic hide the whole topic? (It's harder if it should.) I think it should since it's relevant and others many times quote the OP which is getting hidden anyway. Hate to have to go through a fast growing thread looking for all quotes of the OP

Is allowing the user to edit unapproved/hidden posts a hard requirement? (It's more work if it is.) No. My experience with this ability has been that when it's invisible, only moderators/admins can see and edit. It worked out fine for the purposes needed.

Do we need any new permissions (like Can unapprove posts or Can edit posts in moderation queue)? (Again, more work.) I don't use the mod que so it wouldn't make a difference IMO

If a post is put back into the moderation queue, and that reduces the user's post count below the Newly registered users post count threshold, should that person be put back into the Newly registered users group? (I'm leaning toward No, because they were out of the group and adding them back is probably harder to do. :D) No difference to me
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by JHochstuhl »

Pony99CA wrote: How do we handle the user's post count? (I'm leaning to decrementing the post count.)
I agree, decrement the post count when made invisible, increment when made visible.
Pony99CA wrote: Should unapproving/hiding the first post in a topic hide the whole topic? (It's harder if it should.)
IMHO, that is not required, unless it's the only post in a thread. Can you even have an empty topic?
Pony99CA wrote: Is allowing the user to edit unapproved/hidden posts a hard requirement? (It's more work if it is.)
This would be a huge benefit. My personal opinion, and one of the reasons I would like the mod, is to allow a poster to edit a post thereby bringing a post to within a board's rules. (Which is mostly why a post would be made invisible to begin with IMO) I suppose that I would not consider it mandatory, but rather a huge plus for my purposes.
Pony99CA wrote: Do we need any new permissions (like Can unapprove posts or Can edit posts in moderation queue)? (Again, more work.)
I wouldn't think so.
Pony99CA wrote: If a post is put back into the moderation queue, and that reduces the user's post count below the Newly registered users post count threshold, should that person be put back into the Newly registered users group? (I'm leaning toward No, because they were out of the group and adding them back is probably harder to do. :D)
I don't think adding them back into the NRU is needed.
Pony99CA wrote: The other issue is, of course, time. I don't need this MOD (I don't use MODs), so some incentive to develop it would be nice. :D
Not sure what I can say here, what sort of incentive are you fishing for?
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Re: Moderation tool: Invisible/Visible posts

Post by Pony99CA »

jim 777 wrote:Should unapproving/hiding the first post in a topic hide the whole topic? (It's harder if it should.) I think it should since it's relevant and others many times quote the OP which is getting hidden anyway. Hate to have to go through a fast growing thread looking for all quotes of the OP
But you'll still have to do that if the user's post being hidden isn't the first in the topic.
jim 777 wrote:Do we need any new permissions (like Can unapprove posts or Can edit posts in moderation queue)? (Again, more work.) I don't use the mod que so it wouldn't make a difference IMO
If I implemented this, you'd have to use the Moderator queue/MCP to re-approve posts, I think.
JHochstuhl wrote:
Pony99CA wrote: Should unapproving/hiding the first post in a topic hide the whole topic? (It's harder if it should.)
IMHO, that is not required, unless it's the only post in a thread. Can you even have an empty topic?
You can't have an empty topic normally. However, if you change the post approval flag without changing the topic approval flag, you can. We would definitely want to avoid that regardless of whether we hide the topic in general or not.

If I have time this weekend, maybe I'll look to see how the code handles deleting the first post in a topic. If I can piggyback off of that, it would probably make hiding the whole topic easier (and handling decrementing the post counter, which may also depend on the Increment post counter permission).
JHochstuhl wrote:
Pony99CA wrote: Is allowing the user to edit unapproved/hidden posts a hard requirement? (It's more work if it is.)
This would be a huge benefit. My personal opinion, and one of the reasons I would like the mod, is to allow a poster to edit a post thereby bringing a post to within a board's rules. (Which is mostly why a post would be made invisible to begin with IMO) I suppose that I would not consider it mandatory, but rather a huge plus for my purposes.
I agree that it would be useful. I don't see any good reason why phpBB prevents a user from editing posts in the moderation queue. It's just more work to figure out how to do that (and even more if we want to make editing a permission).
JHochstuhl wrote:
Pony99CA wrote: The other issue is, of course, time. I don't need this MOD (I don't use MODs), so some incentive to develop it would be nice. :D
Not sure what I can say here, what sort of incentive are you fishing for?
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