[Mailman-Developers] RFQ: Member moderation feature.
J C Lawrence
claw at kanga.nu
Wed Jan 8 16:04:39 EST 2003
In discussion with one of my list members an idea arose to help reduce
moderator load and (better) allow posters to guide/control the threads
Assuming a fully moderated list:
1) A poster may indicate on their posting that they wish to moderate
the subsequent thread. This could be done by custom header or special
first line in a special format on the message.
2) All posts on that thread are then held for their approval, and they
can view that moderation queue as if they were a first class list
moderator, with the only difference being that they can only see and
process the posts held for them, and won't see the posts held for
other members or the list in general.
3) The real moderator(s) view of the moderation queue will show all
4) A member moderator can defer, accept, reject, or discard the
messages in his queue, just as per a normal moderator EXCEPT that in
all cases the commands have no effect other than annotating the
message for the real moderator. (ie the member moderator supplies
hints to the real moderator).
5) The real moderator in reviewing his moderation queue will see
normal messages, messages in member moderator queues, and annotated
messages from member moderated queues. Messages being held on member
moderation queues will be annotated to that effect. Any commands that
a real moderator applies to any messages (no matter its status) in his
moderation queue take place instantly (ie he's God and can do anything
with final decisions resting with the real moderator).
6) A messages arrive on a member moderated thread the member moderator
is emailed a standard "held message" email just like a real moderator.
In fact the same message could be sent to both moderators, with the
body of the message stating that the message is member moderated and
This could be extended for partially moderated or unmoderated lists by
replacing #4 above with:
4a) A member moderator can defer, accept, reject, or discard the
messages in his queue with the following results:
Defer -- message remains held in his queue.
Accept -- Message is broadcast or held as per any moderation flag
applied to the poster.
Reject -- Message is annotated with the member's proposed rejection
message and left in the real moderator's moderation queue.
Discard -- Message is annotated with the member's proposed discard
reason and left in the real moderator's moderation queue.
All the above assumes that member moderation is via the web only. I
consider this acceptable. Yeah, moderation via email is great, but it
doesn't have to be in version 1.0 of the feature.
Tracing threads is unreliable. Not all MUAs properly support or
generate References: or In-Reply-To: headers. For those that do,
tracing and tracking Message-IDs is the (only) reliable route.
I propose that when a thread/message becomes member moderated that
Mailman log the Subject: header and Message-ID. Any subsequent
message which has that Message-ID in an In-Reply-To: or References:
header and has a Subject: which is (at least) a prefix substring
(accounting for "Re:" etc) of the saved Subject: will be held for
Attempts by a member to moderate a thread already member moderated
will be refused/rejected/denied/whatever.
A member may however fork a thread and moderate the new fork _IF_ he
changes the Subject: header as that breaks the check above.
If desired we can support the ability for a member moderator to resign
from moderating a thread (web interface again).
Currently Mailman has poor supports in general for multiple
moderators. The above annotation features go a long way to better
supporting multiple moderators. Adding a general moderation queue
annotation feature would be a very useful as a way for moderators to
pass each other notes as to held messages, as well as for single
moderators to keep notes for themselves.
As a final tweak, and I find this one particularly delightful, I'd like
to see a text field with a controlling checkbox in the displayed headers
for a message held for moderation. If the checkbox is checked by a real
or member moderator and text entered in the field, the held message will
have its Subject: header edited/replaced ala:
Subject: Newly entered text here (Was: Old subject goes here)
Note that this would effectively allow a member moderator to fork a
thread out of his control. More specifically this would be the only
extent to which member moderators could edit held messages. Real
moderators would retain normal abilities to edit message text.
Moderated lists have a core scaling problem WRT moderator overload.
This feature allows moderation to be (partially) distributed without
bypassing moderator control.
A frequent complaint on higher volume focused lists is thread
creep/fan-out. The original poster wanted to investigate a specific
area (ie define and maintain focus) but the thread forked and charged
off in another direction. This feature would allow such a member
moderator to help guide the thread in the direction he wants without
bypassing or removing the real moderator's function.
J C Lawrence
---------(*) Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
claw at kanga.nu He lived as a devil, eh?
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/ Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.
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