The forum software contains a Trust level and Flag Success rate for all members.
When you flag posts, if a moderator agrees with your flag, then you score a success and increase your overall trust level - if not a failure and decrease your overall trust level. Some members have a high success rate. Some a low success rate.
Previously these scores were included in the moderation queue as guidance for us when reviewing flags. We would then review the moderation queue agreeing or disagreeing, hiding / unhiding / deleting / etc as required.
If multiple players flagged a post then it would automatically be hidden - until reviewed.
If a thread hit a flag limit it would automatically be closed for a period. During this period the queue is supposed to be cleaned by a moderator. If the queue hasn’t been cleared, then when the close timer expired the queue would auto-reclose again because the thread still contained too many flags.
The recent forum software update has switched from the training mode into an active mode. If a post is flagged by enough players with enough trust rating, then action will be taken automatically. Some players are much stricter about off-top and in-appropriate posting. In the past this didn’t have any effect. But now it can result in a post being hidden. Even when this happens the flag still shows up in the queue to be reviewed. If a moderator agrees then the player increases their trust level, if we disagree the post is restored and they lose some trust.
At the moment some players likely have more trust then they should. This will only be resolved by us processing the moderation queue.
I think ultimately this is a good system - as it empowered the community to self moderate. We’re not always online and engaged in a thread.
But can it be abused? No - players need to build up their trust level. If you do abuse it then you’ll lose your trust level and will no longer be able to flag posts.
The possible false positives that are happening at the moment is because we’ve not been strict enough reviewing the queue in the past - so players don’t have the correct success rates. We’re going to make sure we work through the queue.
Why are some posts un-hidden and others not? Simply because the queue is presented in an urgency order and I will have likely processed a few items in the queue.
What needs to be done:
- Players need to use the flagging mechanism to help moderate the forum. Trust the flag and don’t get into fights.
- Moderators need to make sure we’re reviewing the flags and helping players establish the correct trust levels. Then the false-positives will reduce.
- We should be giving clear public guidance on what is allowable on/off topic posts, necro-posting, etc.
In general players do take the flagging seriously and I don’t see anyone using it as a trolling tool - as I said above - players just have different levels for off-topic / in-appropriate / etc posting.