The problems get identified and handled quicker.
The bartenders/sheriffs have less searching for problems to do.
Users feel more involved.
What do you think?
Anybody can abuse the forum. I'm sure there are provisions in place already to deal with that - like removing access.
W. Joe Smith wrote:I like the idea, but I worry that someone, out of spite or just to be a nuisance, would start randomly marking threads which would lead to a big waste of the bartenders' and sheriffs' time. On this forum I'm not sure it would be a big problem though, and I do like the idea.
Like you said, I really doubt this would be a problem. Many other forms I visit have this capability. I was rather surprised that Java Ranch did not.
Mark E Hansen wrote:Many other forms I visit have this capability. I was rather surprised that Java Ranch did not.
And yet, we don't have a myriad of problem threads. Personally, I'd rather not have that as it implies people post things that are less than nice.
If you want to call attention to a thread, post in it signaling the moderator or send a private message.
1. Searching for the right moderator
2. Check if (s)he is online -> if not goto 1
3. Copying the topic url
4. Describing the problem/solution
5. Sending a private message
While a topic report button would only involve step 4
Wouter Oet wrote:I don't think it implies that.
I don't think it implies it either. I think not having a lot of problems implies this isn't a big issue that needs solving.
Wouter Oet wrote:While a topic report button would only involve step 4
Posting in the thread to flag it to the moderator also involves only one step.
I was thinking about Ernest's concerns, and I think that the problem of emails going to all moderators could be alleviated.
I'm thinking that a report could be sent to a central web page (that only moderators can see). Any moderator on the site could see a special icon indicating that there are topics that need to be looked at. When they go to that page they can then click a button to indicate that they are investigating the issue and/or that the issue has been resolved. That way any other moderator coming to that page will see that the issue does not need an extra set of eyes.
Wouter - your comment about checking whether a moderator is online or not is (in my opinion) not very valuable. Many visitors to this site, and many moderators (including myself) deliberately turn off the ability for others to see when they are online.
I am more concerned about the people who would mark a topic as requiring attention simply so that they get a moderator to look at it, hoping for an answer. Thinking about this though, there are many times when a moderator simply deletes a problematic topic with the intent to restore it later when they have some spare time to devote to fixing the problem. So perhaps if the "report this topic to a moderator" screen had an explicit warning that "reporting this topic as a problem might result in the topic being deleted - especially if it is not immediately obvious what the problem is", then this should stop people trying to game the system.
That makes me think there is potentially a need for a fourth state to the problem reports: reported / investigating / fixed / trashed. The trashed status might indicate that a moderator has deleted the topic because they don't have time to do a better fix, but it would be good for someone else to look at it.
I'm also thinking that it might be worthwhile tracking users, the reports they make, and the resolution. This will have two benefits:
So - I can see some ways of reducing the concerns listed here, and there are potentially some benefits. I have other features I am trying to add to the site first though, so I am not volunteering to add this one just yet.
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Posting in the thread to flag it to the moderator also involves only one step.
Agreed but I think there are some flaws with that approach:
- It would decrease the quality of the topic because of the "moderator calling" post.
- Other people may respond to the report.
- The problem-reporter might feel a barrier because other users can see that he reported it.
- The one that caused the problem might feel offended/attacked.
I was thinking about a box with messages, only visible for moderators, above every category so that moderators visiting that category could fix the problems.
However a central approach as Andrew suggested is also a good idea.
Remember that I'm viewing this "problem" from a users perspective since I'm not a moderator.