In my previous blog I discussed the User Control Panel and the reasons why we decided to make the changes we did as well as what we brought in terms of new features. In the Moderator Control Panel, the topic of this blog, the reasons are very similar. Being a moderator here on www.dotnetnuke.com allows me to spend time here moderating and using the module just like any other moderator would (instead of just being a person who posts or develops the module, I have to deal with moderation as a real user and experience the same dififculties they do - unlike simple testing). Beyond the reasons written in my previous blog, one of the things that came to my mind was all the information collected that is useful but NOT displayed to moderators.
For example, in previous versions users could report posts but this did very little to bring it to a moderators attention. Because of this, I thought to myself "wouldn't it be useful if we could not only address reported posts but also see how many times a particular person has been reported?". So now that you have some background info on why we made the changes we did, let's discuss what is available in Forum 4.5.3.
Previously, moderators were taken directly to a list of forums with post awaiting moderation. Now, because of the addition of new moderator features, they are navigated to the moderator contorol panel (which is the DHTML menu on the left that loads various controls to the right).
Similar to before, the post queue lists all forums that contain posts that need approval (for which the logged in moderator is a moderator of the forum). If there are no posts awaiting moderation, a simple message will be displayed. Clicking the forum name will take the moderator to the same moderated post list for a particular forum they saw in 4.4.3.
In previous version of the module, users could report posts. The reasons could simply be a duplicate, or perhaps a post contained offensive language. However, outside of moderators and module administrators coming across a thread and seeing the icon, there was no way of locating posts that have been reported. In 4.5.3, this has changed. In addition to the interface, moderators can view details about why a post was moderated, then take action accordingly (go delete the post, ban the user, etc.). Clicking the last reported post date, a new browser window will open a direct link to the reported post.
Clicking the post subject in the above image will display a new interface to the moderator, one which he/she can 'address' the report. If the moderator is going to delete the post, there is nothing to address. However, if the moderator is going to make an edit or feels that the report was unjust, they can make any necessary edits and then come back to this interface and click the checkbox (as shown in the image below) to address the report. Addressing this will mean it doesn't show up for any other moderators so there is no confusion once another moderator has already taken action.
If enabled, users can be banned for a specified time period. While I admit in a community where users can register an infinite number of accounts this does very little, it was a new feature requested by the community. Banned users are still able to read all the forums they previously had access to, however, they can no longer post in any forum. Banned users are banned for a time preiod that will automatically 'unban' them once it is complete (it ends at midnight the date it is set for release based on the portal's timezone - not the user's timezone).Depending on various configuration options, moderators may or may not be permitted to ban users (or remove their ban).
Another new feature for moderators is the ability to view how many times a particular user has been reported. This can be useful to see which users are being reported quite often and then, if necessary, take any action such as user banning. There really isn't much to do from this interface besides view the users profile (or edit their account if you are an administrator).
Well, thats all there is to the new moderator control panel. In my next blog I will cover the admin control panel.