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Why is it so hard to find a flagging feature in forums?
flagging, flag, craigslist, inappropriate, spam, filter

 10:42 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I reviewed many forum applications and none offer a craigslist's type of method for community members to flag posts as spam, miscategorized, etc. In a very busy community, reviewing every single post can be cumbersome. Is this type of feature is not something popular or requested by people to be worth developing? I would love to find a forum product that has this feature of "self moderated community". I'm looking for a ASP/.NET product, but at this time I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks in advance.

- raking my brain



 1:41 pm on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, quickpick!

Actually, quite a few forums have a "problem post reporting" feature. vBulletin has one that puts a link in each post that lets members report it as a problem by sending an email to the moderators for that forum.

One really good enhancement for that feature is to replace the email notification with a post in a private (viewable only by mods/admins) "Problem Posts" forum - this enables mods to reply when they deal with an issues, and for other mods to quickly spot which items are still open. This is currently a third-party hack for vBulletin, but it will easily double the productivity of your mods because they won't end up chasing the same problems.


 5:36 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, maybe I didn't explain it very clearly. But, as on CraigsList, people can "flag" messages and the system is programmed to automatically remove posts after certain number of "flags". For example, if there's a spam post, people would flag it and, say, after 50 spam flags, the message will be automatically removed (hence you end up with a community moderated forum).

Most forums do have a "report post to admin", but I was looking for product that will more or less be moderator-free forum that is policed by the community itself.

I hope I'm clear this time around. Trying to find a product with such support is, so far, been impossible.



 5:43 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see what you mean... sort of a voting system on bad threads/posts.

That sounds like a neat idea if your membership is responsible and involved. I imagine that some forums would find it problematic, either from lack of a large enough number of "flaggers" or due to flagging wars in which members attack the posts of other members they don't like.

One interesting variation that occurs to me is the awarding of flagging privileges to designated members, creating a class of mini-moderators. Or, offer flagging privileges automatically after, say, 200 posts, but make them revokable if abused.

Please let us know if you find a solution that meets your needs.


 10:11 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Right, abuse is always possible in this type of situation, but for what I need, I think it will do. The closest thing that I came across is a product that mimics craigslist, but as you may know, craigslist is not built for organized threaded discussion. Again, I just find it amazing that no one really supports this out of the box. I know WebMasterWorld itself has this "flag" feature. But I don't know if it's just another way to "Report to Admin" (which it probably is). But if anyone come across something like this please let me know, I'm a bit at my wits end and I rather not have anything custom plug-in built (which may cost me a pretty penny).


 10:44 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not sure of forums that have this, but Scoop does.

Might also check out CMS matrix to see if other CMS systems have it...


 5:18 pm on Oct 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>no one really supports this out of the box

It is a bit surprising, but my guess is that we don't see it because it would be too easy to manipulate in many forum situations. I think it's certainly worth a try, though.

Overall, the key is being sure that members behave in a responsible way. A threshold number of posts to earn flagging power and loss of posting privileges for abuse of the system would probably work nicely.


 2:05 am on Oct 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is a bit surprising, but my guess is that we don't see it because it would be too easy to manipulate in many forum situations.

Visit some of the stock investment discussion sites. Where this feature has been available, it has been widely abused. To the point where people have written software to automate the process of having a poster "ignored" by hundreds of accounts.

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