Moderation takes your user’s reports and turns it into a fully fledged safety and security system, where you can now take action against any item the report may be about.
How do I moderate an activity?
Activities can be moderated in two ways.
- Use the ‘Moderate’ button in the Report Moderation box from inside the associated report
- Set and enable a moderation threshold, where activities will be automatically moderated when they reach this level.
What happens when I moderate an activity?
Depending on the activity type, one or more things happen.
Moderating a user is the same as suspending them. As a result, there is no moderate button on reports that relate directly to a user. For some time, an administrator has been able to suspend a user from the front end of the site, perhaps after seeing activity from that user that breached the site policy. Suspending a user via a report does the same thing, but from the back end of the site, and in response to an allegation from another user. As with other activities, users can be suspended via auto-moderation.
When a user is suspended via a report screen, the settings in the ‘Suspend’ settings menu item will be retained, so you may control the email that is sent, the login message received and so on.
We have made some changes to the suspension system to bring it more into line with other social media. From version 3.0, when a user is suspended, other users can no longer access their profile, or see any of their activity. This adds an extra layer of safety where a user has been moderated via a report of serious misconduct.
When you suspend a user, especially where it was done by auto-moderation (and therefore an administrator was not involved in the decision), you will be hiding their profile, logging them out of any active sessions, and stopping them from logging in again. Please ensure you consider the effect that will have on the suspended user, and ensure you have a set of procedures for dealing with the suspended user being able to rejoin your community. If you choose to enable auto-moderation for a user, we recommend setting the threshold to a high level, due to the far-reaching consequences of it being triggered.
When you moderate an activity, the activity is removed. If, on further investigation, you feel it can be unmoderated, it will reappear.
Comments in activities
When you moderate an activity comment, it will be removed as above. However, to preserve the flow of conversation, it is replaced with a notice that the comment is under review.
When you moderate a group, it will be hidden. Any attempt to access the group will redirect that user to your default 404 page.
Private message moderating behaves slightly differently depending on the type of message. When a user reports the first message in a thread, it is actually the member who sent the message that is reported, not the message itself. Due to a quirk in BuddyPress, if an initial message is moderated, it breaks the message list. It therefore cannot be hidden. When you receive a report about an initial message, the report will make this clear, and you can deal with it appropriately. There is an advantage to this quirk however. If a number of users receive new messages from the same person, this could trigger an auto-moderation, which means that the plugin will take care of trolls who send offensive messages automatically and swiftly, by suspending them.
When you moderate a non-initial private message, the message will be hidden.
If a user receives private messages from others, and they have reported those messages, we strongly suggest you advise the user to use the blocking system. This will prevent them from receiving any further messages from that person.
For forum topics, we use bbPress’s spam system. When you moderate a topic, the topic is moved into the spam queue. This means that the topic will be inaccessible to users, but will show as hidden for administrators. If you try to access it manually, via the browser bar, it will show a 404 page.
As above, replies also get moved to the spam queue. In the case of both topics and replies, it is worth noting that if you manually unspam the activity, it will reappear, but will still show moderated in any corresponding report. It is advisable to use the unmoderate button in the report (or the quick moderate box in the dashboard) to unspam it.
Moderation of rtMedia is handled slightly differently to the others. Because of the limitations of rtMedia, when you moderate any media it is removed. This is in line with the moderation tool provided by rtMedia themselves – https://rtmedia.io/products/rtmedia-moderation/.
It is important to note that moderating rtMedia media does not delete the media from the media library. Instead, it removes the link between rtMedia and the standard media gallery. We considered having the media fully deleted from the site, but the benefit is that the media is still available for an administrator to inspect, and it can be retrieved if it was moderated in error.
Once rtMedia has been moderated, two further things happen. If the media was uploaded and formed an activity update of it’s own (when a photo or video appears in BuddyPress’ activity wall), the corresponding activity will also be removed. Also, the media will be removed from the user’s gallery (accessible via their profile). Thus, if the media that was moderated was that users only upload, they will appear to have an empty gallery.