Hiding posts from specific users

Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 219
My TypeDrawers experience would be improved by the ability to hide all posts from specific users. While I can take commonsense measures to avoid seeing these folks' content, I'd prefer to automate the process. Does Vanilla Forums offer this functionality?


  • Hi Marc. I hear you, there are a few people I'd like to pretend don't exist, even though they aren't breaking the rules. As far as I can remember, Vanilla Forums doesn't have a way to block one user from another user—at least not at the level we are paying for—but I'll do a deeper look today and let you know if I find anything helpful. And maybe our admins @Tiffany Wardle and @James Hultquist-Todd have some ideas (as they'd probably be the ones who could implement it)? 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,098
    How about a social credit system, in which the more “Disagrees” one gets, the worse the font in which one’s post is displayed becomes?

    You could easily scroll by posts in Comic Sans and Papyrus, Marc, and pariahs would be shamed into conformity.
  • Thank you, Nick.
  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 86
    I generally disagree with that stance.  Unless they're doing something completely intolerable (and I suspect anyone like that would ultimately run afoul of the board rules and find themselves ousted), even the most "useless" bit of dialogue or commentary has some value, even if only so that you know where the conversation is headed and how to discuss your points in it.  I might vehemently disagree with someone, but unless I know how to quite articulate that point, it's a moot issue.

    Besides, there's always the broken clock theory and you might just find yourself in agreement with someone at some point.

    That's just my take on things; other people, of course, have different views.  Ultimately, I'm sure the situation will hopefully solve itself.
  • Sort of related to time machines: I had done an Agree on Vasil's post, but then it was edited; luckily I noticed and switched to Insightful. And I wonder when those Abuse flags were logged, because for the life of me I can't figure out why people would find it abusive when somebody admits they grew to realize homophobia is primitive. In fact it might make those flaggers seem homophobic! (BTW why is only one of the five Abuse flaggers visible?)

    So: http://typedrawers.com/discussion/comment/40774/#Comment_40774
    One culture's normal discourse is a sign of weakness for another.
    This remains pure gold. To me it's crucially important for people –especially moderators– to be more liberal than their particular culture has conditioned them to be; otherwise it's essentially cultural chauvinism. This is also why blocking/muting/etc. only reduce overall social health.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,366
    (BTW why is only one of the five Abuse flaggers visible?)
    I could be wrong but I think one abuse reaction counts as five "negative points."
  • @Craig Eliason Only if that's changed since early March:

    Although maybe moderators get the quintuple weight. Which would be disconcerting; related:
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 236
    edited April 2019
    Just going to ask here instead since you guys are talking about content management, etc. Is there some way to not see super old posts when it's reopened because of a new comment or perhaps can you guys label it or something so we know it's just a very old post reopened for whatever reason. Recent Discussions just lumps everything together, maybe adding a submission date to each discussion in the main page might help?
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,366
    @Craig Eliason Only if that's changed since early March
    Although maybe moderators get the quintuple weight. Which would be disconcerting
    Yes, I was wrong, I just flagged you for abuse and it showed a "1" (and then I rescinded the flag!).

    But I don't find moderators getting quintuple weight disconcerting. I mean their job is to monitor threads for things like abuse. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 729
    edited April 2019
    I neither know what a  flag is nor why I got any... Matter of fact I haven't noticed there is such a thing. The meaning of my post seems pretty obvious to me, but it doesn't really matter to me how many people react in what way on the internet, it's vanity to me. Then again, I could use a blocking function, very very sparingly in specific circumstances. This is a very specific and dignifyingly obscure specialzed board about typography and the like, and there are plenty of other places for other themes. I don't see how culture wars, politics and whatever pertain to serifs and kerning. Maybe on twitter... haven't been there yet.

  • Craig Eliason said:
    their job is to monitor threads for things like abuse. 
    They already have enough such power, without quantifying them as being five times more important than we mortals...
    The meaning of my post seems pretty obvious to me
    I agree, and I found it insightful, candid and self-deprecating. But I wonder: did you perhaps add "Took me a looong time to grow out of this primitive mentality" after the Abuse flag? Because otherwise it leaves the impression that the flagger saw "homesexuality" and (perhaps after getting riled by your first two sentences) didn't read the rest carefully enough.
    Vasil Stanev said:
    I don't see how culture wars, politics and whatever pertain to serifs and kerning. Maybe on twitter... haven't been there yet.
    Oh but they do...  :-)

    Twitter provides people who can't handle opinions that challenge their conditioning with all kinds of tools to stay safely in their bubble.
  • But I wonder: did you perhaps add "Took me a looong time to grow out of this primitive mentality" after the Abuse flag? 
    No, I didn't.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 729
    edited April 2019
    Also, as far as I understand it, moderators are not paid for their job. If modding the way they did till now helps them keep the forum as it should be, it would not be right for me to demand special attention. Flag away, mod away, do whatever they must, it has kept the place much cleaner than others. Honestly, I do not care for internet reactions. It didn't teach me how to make better fonts.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,073
    I know that in virtually every free online forum, there is no question of the forum being a democracy. The moderators make their decisions, and normally it is not even permitted to discuss them. So there is no question of flagging a moderator post.

    As well, to avoid difficulty over content that doesn't violate the rules, allowing users to block other users is a standard feature found on most forums.

    As this is what I am used to from everywhere else, I don't have an expectation that things should be better. So, while I see what Hrant is looking for as unrealistic, at least I agree with him in one way: I admit that what he is asking for is better than the reality we must live with. Better, but not realistic? Yes, because it must be possible for those from whom the forum is a gift to moderate it with reasonable effort.

    If a large group of people wishes to pay for, and jointly make the effort to run, a forum run on democratic rules, that would be a different situation entirely.
  • it would not be right for me to demand special attention.
    You're right, but fighting for fairness is a social duty.

    FWIW (probably not much) I for one am generally happy with the moderation here. I do hope as a team they don't shy away from reining in the occasional failing (as seems to strongly be the case above).

    Also important is to rein in users who go around abusing people with Abuse flags (often from the safety of not actually posting anything themselves) not least because it fosters the –dishonorable– temptation to retaliate.

  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 507
    edited April 2019
    I once suggested how I’d envision a forum like this to work well: 

    1. Whoever starts a topic, decides on the house rules for that topic with a simple switch: “smoking is not permitted” means that all conduct within the topic must adhere to a stricter policy, and “smoking is permitted” means that the rules of conduct can be more relaxed. 

    2. It’s clearly visible which topics are “non-smoking” and which “can be smoking”, and every user can decide whether to see at all each group of topics, or have all topics of a given type hidden.  

    3. In the “smoking” topics, there is a much higher threshold of complaints required for moderators to take any action. 

    I think the smoking analogy works. In the population, there is a group of people who enjoys smoking and will spend time in a room with other smokers, there is a group who is actively disturbed by that, and there is a group who doesn’t mind either way. I think in a fair society, there should be space for each of these groups. 
  • Thanks for looking into it, @Dyana Weissman and @Tiffany Wardle
  • I'm happy to see the moderator removed their flag from Vasil's post. Hopefully that will put some pressure on the other unwarranted Abuse flags.
  • I worry about the need for so much police work by the Admins.  Are we not all adult enough to have a reasonable dialogue?
    Different countries and cultures have different debating styles that are considered acceptable. Often, what’s considered good and effective in one culture is quite the opposite in another, and vice-versa. Different forums adopt different policies.

    I used to post here quite a lot, but at some point my impression grew that the rules of what's acceptable here became much less inclusive.

    At some point, I found myself starting to rewrite anything that was my personal view several times in fear that my words could somehow be “inappropriate” or “offensive“ (two concepts that I’ve failed to grasp).

    Ultimately, this rewriting got to the point where I could no longer identify with the words I wrote — so, effectively, I pretty much stopped posting anything other than pure information, and refrain from “debating” with others, because, well, I never know. 
  • @Adam Twardoch  Nicely said. Congratulations, you are not a politician! (And please don't edit it. :-)

    It's quite a paradox that the fear of being offended is anathema to a truly liberal environment. There is no freedom without risk.

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,630
    You surprise me, Adam. Looking at your reaction stats, I see 36% for "insightful", 25% for "agree", and only 1% for "disagree". I'd say that's pretty good. You do have a tendency to write rather lengthy posts (which I find amusing at worst), but I can't remember you ever posting something offensive or inappropriate. (Although perhaps that's because of your self-censorship.)
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 507
    edited April 2019
    That’s right :) I have drafted quite a few replies that very much reflected my thinking and personal views, but then often chose not to post them, realizing that they might cause complaints. So in the end, I’m mostly sharing what I agree with but also presume to be non-controversial. 

    I agree that there is a need for a safe (and therefore, occasionally, somewhat distanced) environment for discussions, and I think TypeDrawers works well for those who prefer such modality. I respect that. 

    At the same time, my own limits for what’s acceptable are on the “liberal” end. Perhaps it’s the Slavic background plus my lifelong experience of living among  and working with people from different cultures, and usually trying to see good intentions even in an emotionally more charged exchange. Short, my personal view of what “diversity” is. 

    I can adhere to more homogenized rules of conduct and engage in a “polite” manner — but I also worry that some of the diversity may get lost on the way. It’s a tough challenge — in the end, as some have said, moderated forums are usually more pleasant than fully unmoderated ones (the latter being e.g. Twitter that I tend to avoid). I know that negative emotions are strong, and that offense is real. 

    Hence my earlier “idea” of the smoking / non-smoking threads, akin to house parties. Maybe the prerequisite could be that whoever starts a thread automatically “owns” it, i.e. becomes a moderator of that thread (in addition to the general moderators). Similarly to the role of a host at a party. 

    I’m not saying “do it”, and that this is something TypeDrawers should adopt. I’m well-aware that we’re all busy people, and I’m not volunteering to implement such a system. I’m merely laying out a sketch of how discussions could be done in a way that might fulfill a wider definition of inclusivity. Have I tested it and know it’d work? No. 🙂

    So, I’m not saying there is something deeply wrong with TD, I think it’s wonderful and precious that it exists, and that it works. But it certainly is a forum that is “family friendly” (I think is the polite term). Yet from real-life conferences, I know there are “family friendly parts”, and there are the “pub crawl parts”. Somehow I think we’ve lost those a bit in the virtual world. 😃
  • Ps. Mark, the “lengthy” attribute seems to apply to both me talking and writing. I can just-so use post-reform Twitter (though it's still not my preferred medium), but when they had the 140 limit rather than 280, I sincerely thought Chinese might be the only language in which I could write anything there. 
  • Also, I admit that in real life, I tend to be “deliberate” and “considerate” at times, but I often choose friends who are much more “heated” than I am.

    I really like many of the heated debates I have with them, I find them very inspiring, my brain gets a proper kick, so it’s both entertaining and engaging.

    Exquisite tirades full of sophisticated insults mixed with actual well-made points are my favorite form of comedy. 🙂
  • Adam Twardoch said:
    some of the diversity may get lost on the way.
    Indeed. In fact it will as a rule.
    There are diverse kinds of diversity! The communicative not least among them.
  • only 1% for "disagree".
    You need to work on that Adam.

  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 219
    I wonder if this officially supported Vanilla Forums add-on would do the trick:

    "This plugin allows users to ignore others, filtering their comments out of discussions.

    Ignore allows each member of the forum to maintain a list of other users whose comments they would prefer not to read.

    Comments posted by a person you have ignored will be 'buried' and must be clicked on (to expand them) in order to be read.

    Administrators are able to revoke access to the ignore feature on a per-user basis in case of abuse, and ignore list length is able to be limited on the global scale. Administrators cannot be ignored."

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