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Post Checking System - a hugely important piece of functionality

Discussion in 'XenForo Suggestions' started by Stuart Wright, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    Folks, the moderator checkpoint system (as it is called on AVForums) is a plugin I commissioned a number of years ago. It's an absolutely vital tool for moderators to quickly and efficiently ensure that the maximum number of posts are checked for rule breaches etc. with the maximum efficiency.
    In order to present this functionality suggestion to you as completely as possible, I have made a video.
    I hope this video explains why I think this feature is so important, how it works, how simple it is when you get to grips with it, and how I think it's absolutely vital that we have it in xenForo. Ideally as a standard feature, otherwise as a plugin. The video is best viewed in HD and full screen.

    If you think this suggestion would be useful to you in xenForo, please Like this post.
    Thanks :)
    Kintaro, Moshe1010, Andrej and 24 others like this.
  2. Brandon_R

    Brandon_R Guest

    Isn't that what the Approved Posts are for? I think xenForo has approved posts but the problem of checking an already checked thread still remains.
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    No, having post approval hides posts until they are approved. The Moderator Checkpoint system is not the equivalent of the vBulletin 'moderated' posts functionality which hides posts until they are approved.
    Forcing approval of messages before they are visible is not a good way to run a forum because your community will expect their posts to be visible immediately.
    The reason why you check threads in the way used by the Moderator Checkpoint system is to ensure that
    a) your moderators are reading through the posts, reacting to any potentially libellous posts and anything else which breaks your rules and
    b) your moderators don't duplicate effort in checking threads.
  4. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    Stunning presentation.
    1. "No one but your moderators know it exists" - but now we all know. :p
    2. Can I assume 'moderation mode disabled' = the ability for mods to visit the forums for enjoyment?
    3. Is LFC_SL the name of a moderator?
    I like it, not sure if most forums would use it, I certainly would. My plan was to use the 'feeds' in xf to follow what the problematic people were doing, and fire off the report post (custom modification) for everyones first few posts, since there seems to be a semaphore system in that similar to what you have set up.

    But your mod would definitely be a better approach.
  5. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you for the visual presentation and the time you invested making this. Well articulated and makes your point abundantly clear.

    +(insert outrageous # here)

    I support this period
  6. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    moderation mode disabled = yes, mods visit forums for enjoyment.
    moderation mode enabled, active checking disabled = the same but can see how much work needs doing.
    LFC_SL is a particularly hard working moderator.
  7. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    Suggestion: Please give LFC_SL a raise. :p
  8. Ingenious

    Ingenious Well-Known Member

    It's a good feature (and thanks for the video). However I cannot get my head around the basic premise of a moderator deciding if content is libelous. Surely only the person who the comments/posts are about can decide if they are, or are not offended or the posts are libel? Also have there not been numerous libel cases which were lost because the site owner, once notified, removed the content? I agree that a disclaimer is not worth the paper it is written on, but don't agree that ALL content has to be pro-actively checked. Your forum is about a million time bigger than mine, so no doubt you have first hand experience of this as legal fact in the UK (ie. you've been sued?).
  9. wizzard

    wizzard Active Member

    Great looking system and a great idea :)
  10. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    We ask in our forum rules to contact us if any copyright protected material is found on our forums and this has always worked out fine. One time (in 8 years) we got an e-mail claiming 1500 euro's because one of our members posted a copyright protected portret. Later on I found out the guy asking for the money was just an impostor (luckily we didn't pay him). It's actually very unlikely you would get in trouble as an admin, as long as you remove any copyright protected content when asked to. Of course I do not know the exact risk in the U.S., it could very well be that administrators have to be more careful there, because law suits may be filed more often there.

    Checking every single post would of course be better, but I do not feel the need to do this, so I do not need this system. But I hope for those who do want it, that it can be done either by XenForo or the modding community.
    random likes this.
  11. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    What a fantastic video. Thank you for putting time&energy in this... it was a pleasure to watch.

    However, I have a bit of a different view and do not think this is absolutely vital or that every forum owner should not be without, as you've put it (but I understand/fully respect your drive/enthusiasm/motivation and of course words shouldn't always been taken too literally!) . I understand that it is or can be if you are indeed worried of getting sued for content being published by others, but boy... am I glad this just does not work that way in The Netherlands. Since 2001 I run one of the most successful (as people tell me ;)) vBulletin powered platforms in The Netherlands and the past 9 years we have indeed have threats of being sued by companies who did not like the way members of our site were talking about their products and services. I needed to pay for a lawyer to protect myself from being dragged to court :eek:. Because I simply refused to delete postings of my members who are just expressing their experiences with those companies. I setup my website exactly for that goal! To give people a platform where they can share their experiences with those companies (a fair amount of those companies deliver very questionable products and services). 9 years ago I saw that this was badly needed in my country and something needed to be done about it. So I did. All the lawyers I was in contact with and everybody else I spoke about this subject matter stated very clearly that I as a forum owner are NOT responsible for the opinions of other people. It changes however when the posting can be seen as 'slander/defamation/libel' (?) (<--- I don't know if this is the correct word in English). To deliberately 'harm' another person or company. (Don't quite know how to express is, because English is not my mother language and this is difficult material).

    Even then... the other party has to PROVE the posting by a member of my platform is in fact lawfully incorrect. So, basically I refused to put censorship on my members and if things really get out of hand in postings/threads and the changes are it might go into the direction of deliberate unfounded slander... I can always step in. But I almost never did really. It is even NOT my responsibility to check if a posting contains lawfully incorrect information... I mean HOW can you know in the first place!? That is exactly the reason why the other party has to prove it first, and this is not more then logical in my eyes. At least over here in The Netherlands.

    Do I really need to check every single posting to pro-actively prevent myself for getting into a nasty situation? My goodness, I am glad not! So, for us a Post Checking System is something that really has not much value, I'm afraid. If a poster becomes problematic... there is the button [Search for postings by this user] and we can have a look afterwards. In those 9 years we got a letter from a lawyer or the individual companies maybe 3 or 4 times. So I can perfectly live without a checking system :).

    Having said that I can understand where you are coming from and why it is a different matter for you. You've explained it very clearly in your excellent video and I hope that a plugin can be created for XenForo to suit your needs. This is clearly something that is more fitting for a Plugin then to be default functionality, IMHO.
    random, Baron, Tanax and 2 others like this.
  12. ---MAD---

    ---MAD--- Well-Known Member

    Grover I see your point however I think this system can be used not just to ensure laws are followed but also that the forum rules are followed. Moderators sometimes miss posts/threads as they presume they have been already checked by another mod (for example if a moderator posts in a thread but isn't actively moderating).

    One thing I am not sure I understand is why there is a need for a second activation? Why doesn't enabling the moderation mode enable active checking automatically? Is there a reason why you would do one but not the other?

    Very interesting system none the less and seems very helpful to making sure posts are indeed checked.
  13. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member

    I am sorry, but this is exactly the reason why there is a [Report] functionality integrated into XenForo. Do I need to (pro)-actively check every single postings on my platform just to know if the forum rules have been followed? My God... I would not get out of my house for a year ;). Again... my opinion: I am NOT responsible for the contents of what people post in my forums. Do I expect myself and especially my Moderators to check every single thread/posting (in a team effort, which this proposed function stimulates) if the members are following the rules?! Surely not. Impossible and not needed on a day-to-day basis. Again: they keep an eye on things, sure, but we do not even expect from ourselves to follow every single issues or forum violations... it is impossible and I do not even want it. There has to be some balance you know. And the [Report] functionality is there to help us with it if things really get out of hand/if we miss stuff ourselves.
    Tanax and anotheralias like this.
  14. GodForum.com

    GodForum.com Well-Known Member

    Stuart you bring up valid points about lawsuits ... can you give examples of any that you may have been a target of ?

    I have seen a thread on IPB about some forums getting sued when members posted entire news articles.
  15. Sir nick

    Sir nick Well-Known Member

    <3 this idea. Support.
  16. KURTZ

    KURTZ Well-Known Member

    outstanding product/presentation Stuart!

    +1 definitely!
  17. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    Returned from a lovely day in the sun to lots of replies to respond to. Thanks for taking an interest.
    I'll double it. 2 x 0 = 0. :) But seriously we really appreciate our moderators and how they work so hard for us.

    Thank you. We have simplified the solution by having rules which state that certain language is not permitted. So for example, nobody is allowed to say company x are a bunch of crooks. or company x are a bunch of cowboys. This is obviously unreasonable language. Similarly we state in our rules that unqualified or unsubstantiated criticism of a company is not allowed. Saying company x have really bad customer service and never answer the phone is against our rules unless the poster accompanies the statement with some kind of evidence like email exchanges, though we actually don't enforce those rules unless we need to.
    If you think about it, it is very easy for an unscrupulous employee of a company to post negative criticism of a competitor, and we have no way of knowing whether it is a genuine complaint or a false one.

    Usually an organisation will ask us to remove content and we will look at it and make a decision. Most of the time it breaks our rules (as specified above) and we ask the poster for more evidence, which they often can't provide, so we delete the post. Sometimes we stand by our guns when someone's comments are purely opinion, and we refuse to remove it. We have been told we will be taken to court a number of times, but it has never happened.
    But that's not the whole point. If a judge were to ever consider whether we are being responsible about how we moderate our forum, the moderator checkpoint system would be a strong sign that we take our role of publisher very seriously.
    Then there is the aspect of getting advertising. In order to get the real big money from advertisers, you need to get the big organisations on board. (We have had Microsoft advertise with us.) However, advertisers are often nervous about advertising on and engaging with forums because they are worried that the community will blast them with negative comments and criticism. If we can demonstrate to potential advertisers that we have a strong moderating team, armed with powerful tools to efficiently check all posts on the forum and remove unreasonable language, then the potential advertisers will feel reassured and are more likely to spend money with us.

    Copyright infringement is not a significant problem on AVForums.
    You are not responsible for their opinions, and posting opinions on forums is not a problem. You can post I hate x company or I think x company are hopeless because those are both opinion. But if you were to post that the chairman of x company is a paedophile, then that is a statement made as fact and could obviously get you a into serious trouble. Libel is defined as communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant). More information at wikipedia. The defences against an accusation of libel include that the statement was true, or made in a good faith and reasonable belief that they were true, the statement is opinion or fair comment on a matter of public interest. This last one is a good reason why someone might warn other forum members about an organisation they have had a bad experience with, and is probably the most common reason why someone posts a potentially libellous statement.

    Moderation mode allows a moderator to see the checked status of posts without automatically checking them when viewing them. A supermoderator might want to, for example, check the work of a moderator. Active checking is used when a moderator is specifically there to check posts.
    I do not know what the laws are in your country, but if your statement here is only your opinion, then you ought to check for sure. You may find yourself getting sued. And if there is lots of work to do, recruit more moderators.
    So far, because we have a responsible and active moderating procedure and team, we have avoided any lawsuits to date, despite being a very visible forum with thousands of new posts daily.
    Because we have a good Google penetration, if you search for some companies, we are at the top of the natural search results. For example http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=si...ial&client=firefox-a
    As a result, some companies monitor comments made about them on AVForums and if we do not make sure that potentially libellous comments are kept to a minimum, we will get an email from the legal departments of those companies.
    If you are thinking that this will never be a problem for you, then you ought to consider that if your goal is to build a successful forum, then if you are successful, eventually this *will* happen to you.
    Ingenious likes this.
  18. ---MAD---

    ---MAD--- Well-Known Member

    Ahh, makes perfect sense :).
  19. Brandon_R

    Brandon_R Guest

    I think you are going about this all wrong as it's not possible to check Every thread as some will get by.

    We need something that fits well into the social theme of things ie The User's does the moderating and the Moderators Performs the final action. Im pretty sure facebook has complaints/lawsuits all the time and thats why the "Report" button is still there "It can stand up in court". If it couldn't im pretty sure they would of replaced it for something like your system.

    As Nikola Tesla once said

    “If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”

    We have the necessary tools required without having the moderators check every thread and it lies in the users. Take a look at this request: http://xenforo.com/community/thread...n-users-can-select-a-recommended-action.2588/

    To sum Up:

    Users does the moderating and moderators performs the final action. Saves alot of time, avoiding to have a gorup of X people check every threads. xenForo's little theory and calculation could very well lie with an arsenal of features like the one above - http://xenforo.com/community/thread...n-users-can-select-a-recommended-action.2588/
    Grover likes this.
  20. Grover

    Grover Well-Known Member


    Thanks for you extensive reply. Very much appreciated.

    I get this, we are in the same situation that advertisers back out of participating on the forums because of -potential- community criticism. But, I have different priorities. Not saying yours are less in any way, but I choose to give my members almost total freedom of speech. This is more important to me then the feelings of any advertiser. Because if I would put the wishes/feelings of my advertisers first, then I would basically destroy the goal of my whole platform. But that is of course different for everybody. So in my case I don't have to prove we have a strong moderating team; if they don't like the openness of our platform, they can just stay away :). But when I hear now how you are managing/seeing stuff, it becomes clear to me how valuable this tool is for you.

    The laws in my country are as I've explained in the posting above: I've dealt with it 3-4 times now as you can read, so I know from experience what I am talking about :). We are also monitored by a fair amount of companies and they know by now that there is really not much they can do. Of course I will take appropriate action against libel, but luckily this almost never happened on our platform. In fact, those 3-4 companies claimed that a posting was libel, but in my eyes and the eyes of our lawyers it was clearly an opinion of our members. I refuse to censor the opinions of my members, even if it costs me a lawyer.

    Anyway, I hope for you this will be developed as a plugin (I still don't see the benefit of having this as standard functionality), because the benefits for you are obvious. Second reason for this plugin is that I would love to see your site powered by XenForo (so it's also in my own interest after all in in the end... ;))

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