Should we change the flag system?

I’ve had a few occasions where something of mine was flagged, but I had no idea why. Usually they were flagged as inappropriate, but that could mean anything. There were several times where I’ve scoured the forum guidelines and still couldn’t figure out what went wrong.

I think this is because the selections for the system, as they are now, are too vague. Not to mention that each individual’s interpretations of the rules tend to differ to the point of making them somewhat subjective. I’ve thought for awhile now that making the flagger(flaggee?) write a short explanation would help remove any potential confusion. Thoughts?


We actually do have that option. When you go to flag a post a hit ‘Something Else’, you’re prompted into writing an explanation and won’t be able to send the flag until you write something.

As for making that the default flag option, I don’t believe that Discourse allows us to do that (it also doesn’t let us make customized flags, by the way). Doing some quick Googling, it seems that the only flags we’re actually able to affect are the options that piggyback on the PM system, by which I mean, they’re the only ones we can turn off (but that would only be by turning off the entire PM system). Basically, it looks like the flags we have are hard baked into the system.


Well there goes that entire discussion.

Maybe we could tell people to use the ‘Something Else’ option instead? That seems like a lot of work but it would help somewhat.


Just to make sure we’re on the same page (I think I confused myself, sorry! :woman_facepalming:), are you saying that when a user flags something of yours as ‘Something Else’, that you would like to see their reasoning (assuming you don’t already see it)?

Follow-up question, have you ever received an automated message telling you that something of yours has been flagged for ‘Something Else’?


No, I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever had stuff flagged as inappropriate, so I wouldn’t know if I can see the description or not.

1 Like

I posted this on Discourse’s own forum.


Nice! Maybe a change is in the works then.


Maybe! Just don’t hold your breath though, it’s been like five years since people started asking for custom flags. I would be the happiest mod if we could make a special flag just for closing or opening WIP threads. :pensive:


Well we’ve got the co-founder pushing for it now, so maybe it’ll get somewhere. Give 'em hell @dfabulich!

Wait… a flag for opening and closing WiP threads? Would that help? How is it done now?

It varies.

Some users will PM the moderators as a group, some will only message a single mod, some users flag their own post, and others will simply tag us on their thread, or someone else will on their behalf.

You know, I’ve never actually brought up the question to the other mods, but I’m pretty confident that we all prefer that we remain in the loop even if we didn’t actively do anything, and the easiest way to achieve that is for users to message us as a group, which is what flags are, technically.

That and some authors might have multiple WIPs at a time and sometimes they’ll forget to mention which thread they mean, lol. So yeah, a dedicated flag would just be easier.


So you want a way to contact any mod that only pertains to the thread in question, that isn’t @ ing you directly, and this is something to be used exclusively for opening and closing? That seems really specific. Is that a common problem?

I’m not a mod, so I have no idea how you guys interact, but I could imagine people not necessarily wanting to be involved in everything, especially stuff that one person could probably handle just fine. That seems kind of like it would just take time away from other things. I suppose it would make sure everyone is on the same page though, so there is that. I guess I always assumed you guys had more of a divide and conquer approach and only came together when the need arose.

So here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • tagging only works if the thread is already open and the author wants it closed; asking to open a thread has no equivalent
  • there is a separate page/inbox for flags that all the mods are privy to and receive notifications for; it is essentially a fancier version of the PM system
  • yes actually, we get lots of requests to open/close threads, and those are just the ones that we receive as a group; sometimes an author only contacts one of us, so we don’t actually know the true frequency

To be clear, I don’t have an issue with us being tagged in a thread for closure, I just wish there was an equivalent for authors to request that we open their thread, hence the desire for a custom flag. Plus, I feel like it’d be a bit easier on authors, in addition to ourselves, if there was a dedicated function just for that.

I didn’t say that we all want to be involved or take part in every issue, I said that I think we all appreciate being in the loop. And with opening and closing threads, it’s not like we’re expecting our fellows to read through all 200 comments to gain context, it’s just a quick glance at what is literally a PM to the moderators as a group (and I mean the literal group tag @moderators not the team as a whole, lol) and bam, you’re caught up.

What I’m really asking for is just a bit more convenience, lol.


It would feel more impersonal, and much less intimidating, to flag your WIP thread to have it reopened, than having to send a PM.
At least for me.
So it sounds like a great idea.


Ah. I didn’t realize there was no equivalent with opening a thread. I can see why a dedicated option would streamline things a bit.

1 Like