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[IP.Services] 4.0 - Moderation Part 5: Warnings

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Effective moderation features are essential for online communities. Forums, blog entries and member-to-member messaging are particularly attractive for spam bots and nuisance users alike. IPS Social Suite has always been best in class when it comes to moderation features with features like the free IPS Spam Service that are completely unmatched by other web applications. Over this series of 5 blog entries I'm going to introduce you to some of the new moderation features in the IPS Community Suite 4.0.

Part 1: Setting up moderators
Part 2: Approval Queue
Part 3: Reports
Part 4: Effective Moderation
Part 5: Warnings


A lot of what I'm going to cover in this blog entry is similar to the warning system in 3.x which was recently overhauled. Since warnings and moderations are such an important aspect of running a community though, I wanted to reintroduce the system, showing off the new UI for 4.0 and highlighting some of the tweaks that have been made.

The warnings system in the IPS Community Suite is point-based. When issuing a warning to a member, you select a reason, and each reason is tied to a number of points, and then when a member reaches a certain number of points, an action (such as to ban them from the site) is taken.

This is the setup page for reasons - I've set up each one to give one point which is never removed.

For each reason, I can choose if moderators can override that or not:

This is the setup page for actions:

I've set up a number of actions so that the following flow happens:
  • On the first warning, nothing happens (it's a verbal warning only)
  • On the second warning, all posts the user makes for the next day will need to be approved by a moderator.
  • On the third warning, the user will be banned for one day and all posts the user makes for the next week will need to be approved by a moderator.
  • On the fourth warning, the user will be banned for a week.
  • On the fifth warning, the user will be permanently banned.
You can control whether members can see their previous warnings or not.

Moderator Permissions

For each moderator you can control is they can see, issue and revoke warnings, and control how often they can give warnings:

Viewing Warnings

You will be able to see the current warning points for a member from their hover card (which shows whenever you hover your mouse over their name throughout the suite) and can see the details in their profile.

Clicking on a warning brings up the details which show a link to the content the user posted which prompted the warning, the notes both for the member and for other moderators, and lists the actions taken (points given, if the member was suspended, etc.):

In addition, when viewing content (posts, comments, etc.) if that post prompted a warning, this will be shown to moderators:

Issuing Warnings

When issuing a warning, selecting a reason will automatically fill in the number of points and actions to take based on the number of points the member already has (these can be changed if the administrator has allowed it). You can clearly see the pre-defined actions for each point level on the right. You can optionally add notes, both a note for the member and for other moderators.

Acknowledging Warnings

You can optionally set the system so that members have to acknowledge a warning before they can post again. When this is the case, the member will se a message on every page:

Viewing the warning details will have a button allowing the member to acknowledge the warning:

Even if you do not require warnings to be specifically acknowledged - members who have restrictions applied to their account (are on moderator queue, are restricted from posting or are banned) can clearly see this and the reason why. For example, this is what a member who is on moderator queue sees when making a comment:

Revoking Warnings

A new feature in 4.0 is that warnings can be revoked. You can reverse all the actions of the warning, or just delete the record of it:

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