Nothing to add? Then please don't comment


Wasn’t the point of the thread things that bother you? Why does it need to be things that have to be changed? We all live in our own little bubbles so learning what things bother other people can be useful. Besides, it’s discussion, and isn’t that what a discussion board is for?


When posts are automatically collapsed due to a large number of flags, this is an automated process to quarantine potentially problematic posts until a mod can get to the forum. When such automatic collapsing happens, we always review it to see if it’s fair. It can happen to posts that are legitimate but that the software has wrongly suspected of being spam, for example. We always reinstate posts that have been auto-collapsed if that’s the right thing to do.

Unless the flag-and-collapse happens overnight, we usually review these things very quickly, so the chance of ganging-up being allowed to happen is very small.


Here are the posts:

I’m no proponent of censorship - particularly in political matters, and especially in opt-in areas. But when people do go off topic in public areas of the forum and a series of these posts are flagged by a member, what are mods to do?

At the end of the day, I felt the harm to Londondrz and Starman was minimal here. They’d had the banter - it had been up there for a few days for everyone to see. If another member felt it was off topic, then fair enough. The flag exists for a reason. Forums aren’t chatrooms. And it’s perfectly possible to have friendly banter that is on-topic.

I’ve chatted with other mods about this and the general feeling is that I was a bit hasty with this particular modding intervention. But that doesn’t mean the member who flagged these posts was wrong, and I would encourage people to continue to flag posts that they feel are taking a topic off-topic.


To be clear, I felt the action taken was unjustified as it was a quick bit of banter between Starman and I. However a member flagged it and a mod made a decision to remove the comments. Why the member flagged it is up to them, I disagree but when I joined the forum I agreed to abide by the rules. Mod or not, I am still subject to them.


  • I have just reconfigured the site so more flags are required from regular members for this to happen.
  • mods are alerted to flagging and if there is collusion it would be obvious to us, and we can ensure this doesn’t happen.
  • the site’s automatic trust levels prevent new members from flagging posts, helping avoid sock-puppets maliciously flagging
  • posts from established members will not be silently censored by community flags. The author is informed automatically and given a chance to edit their post, in which case it is automatically reinstated. Also, the posts are still visible on-site, but in a collapsed state.


After reviewing this with the team, it’s clear to me that the posts should be reinstated and I’ve just done that.

Apologies to @Londondrz and @Starman for the over-zealous modding.


No issue Chris and I am sure Starman feels the same way.


I think anything I may have had to say has been said by others. If I could make one suggestion. The automated notice one receives when a post is hidden feels like it could use some tweaking.

  • While the message is automated, it comes from @ChrisBeach so can seem unnecessarily personal.
  • Reference to “multiple” community members would suggest several or more than two. Some might think many.
  • The “community feels” could also be misleading insofar it can be just one person plus a moderator. Hardly the community as this example may suggest.

As I mentioned, only suggestions.


Yes, definitely undesirable (from my point of view too). I could change this so mails originate from but I’m concerned that no human would see replies to this system user account. There may be something I can do about that, and I’ll look into it.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the site has been reconfigured so it now takes more than two flags before a post is automatically collapsed.

If several people feel strongly enough about a post to flag it, there are likely many others in the community who also feel the post is inappropriate.

But it is possible that flaggers may not be representative (if they are colluding against an individual, for example). In this case the mod team will take action, as we monitor flagging.


Are you the only mod then to receive flag notifications?


Nope, all mods see flag notifications.


Which almost always results in a team ‘huddle’ of sorts. Even if one of us has already taken action on a clear cut case (spam, for example) we can all see what has happened and why.


All very complicated, I can see both sides, and appreciate the ability to flag things. Personally I see no problem with in-thread banter.
Michael raises some good points, and with that in mind, I think maybe more flagging of off topic or thread hijacking, for the sake of injecting a topic of interest to the person, which a vague connection to the OP, is needed.


Off, off topic… Are you sure its not a blackbird!! More likely to sing at night.


No, it’s definitely a robin. It’s a known phenomenon, they get confused by street lights right over their nests.