How to flag a post, what happens when you do so, and moderator preferences on this subject

Good evening,

Could someone please explain how to “flag” (report) a post, and what happens when our report is sent? There are new options and the interface is significantly different in Discourse compared to vBulletin. Most of the information I’ve found on Discourse doesn’t apply here because, to my knowledge, we do not use community moderation. (Clarification on that point couldn’t hurt, although I think it has already been established that we have disabled community moderation.)

I see a little flag button next to each post. Clicking on this button brings up a menu with multiple options:

Thanks for helping to keep our community civil!

    Send @username a message

    • I want to talk to this person directly and personally about their post.

    Notify staff privately

    • It's Off-Topic

      This post is not relevant to the current discussion as defined by the title and first post, and should probably be moved elsewhere.
    • It's Inappropriate

      This post contains content that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or a violation of our community guidelines.
    • It's Spam

      This post is an advertisement, or vandalism. It is not useful or relevant to the current topic.
    • Something Else

      This post requires staff attention for another reason not listed above.

If you choose to send a message, a text box appears and the blue submit button changes from “Flag Post” to “Message”. I assume that upon clicking the blue “Message” button, a private message is sent to the author of the post you flagged. I am not sure whether a moderator is copied on that message, and would like clarification on that question.

If you choose “Something Else”, a text box appears and you can send a written report not unlike the report function in vBulletin.

From what I can tell, if you flag a post as off-topic, inappropriate, or spam, you do not get the opportunity to attach your reasoning to a moderator. I can personally confirm that sometimes, choosing one of those three options and clicking the blue “Flag Post” button may result in the following popup message:

“Thanks, but we’ve already reviewed that post and determined it does not need to be flagged again.”

If this message appears, it is not clear whether the moderators are notified that I have flagged the post. It is also not clear whether the “we” refers to the actual, human moderators. If I think a post violates board/forum/category rules, and I report it as inappropriate, and I recieve this message, does that mean a moderator has already reviewed the message and decided that it is appropriate? Could somebody please explain under what circumstances the above message appears?

Finally, I would like to ask how moderators prefer us to flag posts. For spam, I assume they prefer the generic “flag as spam” option. For most rule violations, under what circumstances do moderators prefer a generic “flag the post as inappropriate”, a written report by flagging it as “something else”, a private message to the moderator, or an ATMB thread?

Any responses are appreciated, although the last question is necessarily intended for moderators. ETA: I apologize for purposely flagging a couple posts which have already been moderated - this was to get the exact text of the popup message.

Related topics:


I have never been copied on a message, so either we don’t get copied or no one has ever done that.

If you get the message “Thanks, but we’ve already reviewed that post and determined it does not need to be flagged again” then the message was already flagged and the flag was dealt with by a moderator. If it doesn’t let you flag it again then we don’t get a report for it.

For spam, if you flag it as spam that makes it easier for us to delete the spammer (one click and we can nuke both the spam post and the spammer at the same time).

For rules violations, we’re really not that picky. If you just flag it as inappropriate we are going to look at the message and the context anyway. If you feel that it’s necessary to type out a more detailed message, that’s fine too.

As for sending a PM to a moderator, it’s better to flag the post. If you flag it, then all of the moderators will see the flag. If you send a PM, then no one but that moderator sees it, and if that moderator happens to be unavailable at the moment (hey, real life happens sometimes) then the issue won’t get dealt with until the moderator becomes available again.

ATMB is for resolving questions and issues, not reporting individual posts. Don’t put a post report in ATMB.

Thanks, ecg. In this particular case, if I think a post violates the rules, see that it has not been addressed by a moderator in the topic, and still get the message when trying to flag it, how should I proceed? Especially when I think it’s a blatant violation, for example if I see someone accuse another member of being “Another brand-new apprentice troll” in Great Debates.


In that case, sending a PM to the moderators of that forum is probably your best bet.

Got it, and again, thank you.


How about best practice for threads in the wrong forum? Just flag the OP as off-topic?

I noticed that some posts get hidden . . . somehow. I don’t know if that’s automatic. I don’t want to hide the post.

I did notice for posts with the “we already delt with this”, you can still select the “Something Else” option and send a message. Whether anyone reads it or not isn’t clear.

It’s probably best to use Something Else and say wrong forum. Just marking it as off-topic might be a bit confusing.

Discourse does that automatically. When we review the flag we have the option of keeping it hidden or restoring the post.

If Discourse lets you flag it with Something Else, we’ll get a notification for it in the review queue, so yes, it will be read.

I tried to flag something in GQ as “Off-Topic” since I thought it was better suited for Cafe Society but didn’t see any action. Given this advice, I went back to try to flag it again but it wouldn’t let me. I resorted to posting in the thread and reporting my own post.

Huh. Apparently after enough flags, the thread autolocks for 12 hours.

This topic is temporarily closed for at least [12 - t] hours due to a large number of community flags.

Same thread with the (still) unmoderated “apprentice troll” comment.

Does this mean that a thread can be deliberately shut down by flagging it a lot? If so, I don’t like putting that much power in the hands of trolls.

For what it is worth, my vision of this thread is to understand actual and intended procedure when we flag posts, not to litigate proper board policy or any particular moderator action. Not that anybody has strayed off course yet…

In a certain thread, @Jonathan_Chance wrote that he had recieved over 900 reports. His response was to put all participants on high alert:

Forty-two hours and one hundred forty-eight posts later, as described by Ruken, the system user appears to have temporarily auto-locked the thread “due to a large number of community flags”. Could a moderator clarify whether the thread was actually locked by a moderator, or whether it was automatically locked by the system due to a large number of community flags? If the latter, is that intentional?

In the same thread there is a post by kswiss that currently reads,

(In the actual post the words “View ignored content” are blue like a hyperlink.)

Could a moderator confirm whether this specific post has actually been hidden by a moderator, or whether it has been automatically hidden due to community flags? If the latter, is that intentional?


I’m not too concerned about it, kind of new here. I was taken aback as it wasn’t anything I said differently in similar thread. Maybe it was the “nut job” comment. Was kinda surprised one comment got a 900 post shut down.

But I am willing to learn.

Perhaps start by reading the rules for the different forums?