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Suggestion for improved warnings system. More power with little effort

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
#1
Applying warning actions to specific warnings makes the warning system much more powerful.

There are several threads with various suggestions on how to improve the warnings system. I would like to add mine based on how we use warnings at AVForums, where we, unfortunately, have to issue them daily. Most of this functionality is available in Jon W’s addon here: https://xenforo.com/community/resources/warnings-by-waindigo.2300/ but I have added some ideas which would improve it further.


The Warning Process

  1. Actions by members trigger
  2. Application of a warning which may trigger
  3. Application of a warning action
The warning action on AVForums is always the temporary or permanent addition of a secondary usergroup. It is used to limit the user’s access to certain areas of the site where they have broken the rules which triggered the action.

Warning Actions Apply to Specific Warnings
One key element is the ability to specify, for each warning action, what warning(s) it applies to.
This is very powerful because we can make ‘the punishment fit the crime’ I.e. if people misbehave in certain areas of the forums, we can ban them from those areas.

The warnings given need to relate to those specific areas and trigger actions relevant to those specific areas.

Warning Groups
These speed up the management of warnings.
1.jpg
We put warnings into specific Warning Groups so that we can differentiate between warning types. And our warning actions (in addition to specific warnings) can be made to apply only to certain warning groups. By grouping warnings, when we create the action, we can click the single warning group rather than click lots of individual warnings.

For example, we on AVForums have a classified adverts section. When members break the classified rules, we give them warnings from the Classified Warnings group.

Sorting the Warnings
To make giving warnings an easier process, we can specify a sort order both for individual warnings in the list and also the warning groups. It makes a big difference to the ease of giving warnings.

Warning Actions
The warning actions are set up to apply to specific warnings or warning groups. To continue our classifieds example, we have a number of actions set up to act on the Classified Warnings group.

The Classifieds Warnings group contains several warnings relating specifically to breaking our classified rules. When someone breaks a classified rule, the moderator selects a warning from the Classified Warnings group.

When the user accrues 6 warning points from the warnings in the classified group, they are given a 1 week ban from the trading forums. 10 points means a 1 month ban. 30 points means a permanent trading ban.
2.jpg
Each warning action contains the options to
  • Ban or discourage or add usergroups
  • either permanently or temporarily for a number of days/weeks/months/years and
  • pick which individual warning(s) it applies to or
  • pick which warning group(s) it applies to
By using warning groups and allowing warning actions to apply only to warnings in those specified groups, we both speed up the process of managing warnings and can be much more specific with how warnings restrict members’ abilities in the various forums. A member who accrues classified warnings may get a classifieds ban of some kind, but his access to the rest of the forums can continue unhindered.

Notifications
As I’ve mentioned earlier, temporary bans from certain forums is a useful tool for ‘punishing’ members in a limited way for breaking the rules.

But there also needs to be transparency to the members, so we need to tell them about the warning action which has been applied to their account. Using the classifieds example, if they accrue two x 5 point warnings to get 10 points, they will hit the 10 point threshold which triggers the one month addition of the ‘banned from trading’ secondary usergroup which stops them from posting in the classified forums. They need to be notified of this either by an alert or private conversation. Perhaps including details of the warnings which have accrued to trigger the action.

Similarly when their ban expires, they should also get a notification.
The warning action should have default messages sent for when it is both the applied and when it expires.

Conclusion

Hopefully readers will appreciate that with the addition of (relatively simple) functionality of
  • Warning groups
  • Warning actions apply to specific warnings or specific warning groups
  • Warning sort order
  • Notifications
the warnings system is made much, much more powerful.
Thanks
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
#3
In addition, there is a problem with warnings that I would like to see addressed.
If there are two warnings set up:
Warning action 1: 10 points gets you a 1 week suspension
Warning action 2: 20 points gets you a 1 month suspension
and the member is awarded 30 points, both warning actions are implemented meaning a 1 week plus one month suspension.
I think only the second (more severe) of the warning actions should be applied. Not both.
 
Last edited:

Xon

Well-known member
#4
In addition, there is a problem with warnings that I would like to see addressed.
If there are two warnings set up:
Warning action 1: 10 points gets you a 1 week suspension
Warning action 2: 20 points gets you a 1 month suspension
and the member is awarded 30 points, both warning actions are implemented meaning a 1 week plus one month suspension.
I think only the second (more severe) of the warning actions should be applied. Not both.
I'm fairly sure warning actions do not block each other from expiring.

So the 1 week warning action expires at week 1, and then they should still be suspended until the 1 month warning action expires.
 

Harpers Tate

Well-known member
#5
The two "sentences" run concurrently, not consecutively.

However, if we are to try and offer our members some means to enquire upon or be advised of any temporary removal of permission (i.e. by being added to a secondary usergroup with reduced permission) for a fixed and defined term, then it would make sense that such actions are de-duplicated. In other words using Stuart's example
- 10pts = one week added to usergroup Suspended
- 20pts = one month (ditto)
then if we award someone 20pts, what happens is the system allocates two temp. actions - a one week one AND a one month one.
Ideally, the one month action should be the ONLY action present and visible on the account; the one-week action should be overwritten or merged or deduplicated or force-expired when it's superseded. And that should happen whether the two thresholds were passed concurrently or at different times.