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Microsoft Moderators move posts marked as abusive without removing the abusive mark first as they should RRS feed

  • Question

  • Forum users are helpfully marking a post as abusive if it has been posted to the wrong set of forums.

    Microsoft Moderators then see this and move the thread to the correct forum.

    Far too often the Microsoft Moderators do not bother to first remove the abusive mark before they move the thread.

    This means that the Moderator(s) of the set of forums to which the post is moved also see the - perfectly correct - thread in their own list of abusive threads and need to deal with it there too.

    The carelessness of the Microsoft Moderators is therefore causing extra work in vain for other Moderators.

    [Seen often in threads moved from the SP 2010 forums to the pre-SP 2010 forums]

     

    Note: Spam Filter doesn't seem to be getting any better either. Every post it marks as abusive isn't.


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:58 AM

Answers

All replies

  • Do you have any recommendation for solving the problem Mike? Other than fixing the spam filter (issue early this week was identified and resolved, sorry about that).
    Community Forums Program Manager
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:47 PM
    Answerer
  • Presumably the forum software could prevent a thread being moved if it is currently marked as abusive, or perhaps only allow it to be moved to the off topic forum.
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:52 PM
  • > Presumably the forum software could prevent a thread being moved if it is currently marked as abusive, or perhaps only allow it to be moved to the off topic forum.

    That's probably the best solution to Brent's question as it is automatic.

    Of course the non-automatic solution is better training of the Microsoft support people (yes, I know they are contractors not employees) in Shanghai.


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:36 AM
  • If someone is posting to the wrong forum, it's considered an abusive post?
     
    Am I reading that right?
     
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 8:06 AM
  • There are lots of sub-reasons you select from when you mark a post as abusive. (and in addition you can write some text with an explanation of why you think that reason applies)

    One of those sub-reasons is off-topic.

    As was stated in another recent thread it would perhaps be better if the word "Abusive" were not used and something gentler used instead.

    However the idea in that thread that each of the sub-reasons (there are four or five and one is spam) should have its own button was rejected there as using up too much screen space.


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    • Edited by Mike Walsh FIN Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:55 AM "can" removed as you must select a sub-reason
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:54 AM
  • Posting in the wrong forum is not off topic.  It's just not in the right place for the forum they are posting in.  I think we're being abusive to people trying to navigate a very confusing forum structure if they post in the wrong forum and then mark their question as abusive-off topic.

    Put yourself in a newbies shoes.  You are banging your head on a technology trying to find help.  You don't realize you are in the wrong forum.  Someone marks your post as abusive you posted in the wrong place.  The category is Off topic/irrelevant posts.  In my mind that's just someone being a troll that more often happens in a religious forum like Windows core products.  It's rare that I see irrelevant posts in other venues.

    If it's a legit question, it's not an abuse.  He or she is just lost.

    If the forum users are going to insist that they want to flag posts as being in the wrong place, how about some other means to flag this is coded up rather than flagging it as abuse.

    I think flagging any posts that's in the wrong venue as abusive, is abuse of the poster.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 5:13 PM
  • I agree that flagging as abusive often means something different from what people expect. I recently learned that when a reply needs to be edited to correct bad html, it is marked as abusive, apparently to flag moderators to "fix" it. Also, when the "spam filter" user flags a reply as abusive, there is no way for even a moderator to remove the flag.

     


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 5:35 PM
    Moderator
  • > Also, when the "spam filter" user flags a reply as abusive, there is no way for even a moderator to remove the flag.

    That's incorrect. I have several times removed the abusive flag given to a post by Spam Filter to threads in a forum where I am an Moderator.

    As for Susan's "Posting in the wrong forum is not off topic." and  "It's just not in the right place for the forum they are posting in."

    They are in the wrong place so they are off-topic. What else could they be? To be on-topic they need to be in the correct forum.

    Note in case this is unclear I am not talking here about a post that is in the right set of forums but which is in the wrong specific forum within that correct set of forums. In some cases it is difficult being exactly correct.

    I am talking about being in the completely wrong set of forums. Having a problem with installing an operating system and asking the question in a language forum for instance.

     


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 6:58 PM
  • If they can't figure out where to post because they can't figure out the structure of the forum, the forum is abusing them.

    Flagging someone as "abuse" is insulting to people new to forums who can't find the right place.  Tell them where to post.  Move them if you want to, but flagging as abusive is an abuse of the flag.

    I see SBS patching posts in the Windows Answers Windows update forum.  Is that abusive because they are in the wrong forum?  It's certainly not off topic to updating.  But there's a SBS forum where they can get a better answer.

    Technet

    MSDN

    Office 365

    Answers

    Windows phone

    And I'm sure there's tons of other Microsoft properties that I'm not aware of, are confusing to navigate.  I would just like to ask that we remember how confusing it is and try to not abuse the very people that are trying to find an answer.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:11 PM
  • They are being marked as Off-topic so that a Moderator can move them to the correct forum. It is to be expected that in the correct forum the user will get an answer to his question. Moving to the correct forum is therefore a service to the user - it is potentially helping her/him.

    You seem to be objecting more to the "word" Abusive. Unfortunately the only way today to inform Moderators that a post is off-topic (with the reasonable assumption that they become aware of this) is to click the Abusive button and then select the appropriate sub-response.

     

     


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:22 PM
  • I think there is general agreement that "abuse" is too strong a term to describe a post that (probably due to a misunderstanding) is in the wrong forum.  I think it would be better if the powers that be choose a milder term (perhaps "inappropriate"). 

    I also think that once a post is reported as inappropriate, it would be helpful if the notice at the bottom gave the subcategory. For example "Already reported as inappropriate: off-topic" or "Already reported as inappropriate: Spam". That would also help by not sigmatising the off-topic post (or at least not as much).

    However, I agree with Mike that if a post is so different from the subject of the forum it is posted in that it is not going to get a valid answer, then the post is off-topic. If I posted a question in the wrong forum, I would not object to seeing "already reported as inappropriate: off-topic" at the bottom of my post.


    • Edited by Blackwood Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:37 PM
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:36 PM
  • If I posted a question, or a reply, then saw it marked as abusive, I believe I would feel insulted.

    Also, I am a moderator in the Scripting Guy's forum. The last reply in this thread is flagged abusive by the "spam filter" user:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ITCG/thread/a262c264-395c-496e-bf67-513266b9a97c

    However, I do not see any "Clear Abuse" button. I only see a "Report as Abuse" button. What am I missing? Am I able to clear the flag? I reported this some days ago, and I understand there will always be a few false positives, but it has been 5 days now and I cannot clear this. Should I apologize to the person?

    Here is a screen shot of what I see:

     


    Richard Mueller - MVP Directory Services
    Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:40 PM
    Moderator
  • Then an ask to the forum coders to have an additional flag for "inappropriate: offtopic"

    Flagging it as abuse is abuse of the person posting.

    I won't go into how the structure of the forums doesn't allow people to move them to the right place and thusly when a poster with a solid question, but in the wrong spot and no way to get moved to the right one gets moved to "off topic do not post here" feels like an affront to the poster.

    I honestly don't like moving a post.  I prefer giving the poster a link to the right forum.  If I can't move it to exactly the right forum, I'm not moving it to the "do not post here" forum off where the person will get no help at all.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 8:06 PM
  • It sounds like you are are agreeing with the cosmetic changes I suggested (not that I claim to be the first - as I said, there seems to be a consensus that the wording of the notices is too harsh).

    I agree with you that moving a post to the off topic (do not post here) forum is not going to help someone who accidentally asks their question in the wrong forum.  But moving a post is a separate action from flagging it as off-topic in the current forum.  I think a reasonable set of events would be:

    • User makes post that is not on topic for the forum he/she is posting in.
    • Another user reports the post as "Inappropriate: Off-topic"
    • Moderator removes the "inappropriate" flag
    • Moderator moves the post to an appropriate forum

     

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 11:17 PM
  • Richard,

    Apparently the abuse flag is already cleared - you can see the post is not red.


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 1:56 AM
    Moderator
  • I often have hard time figuring where to move off-topic post myself. In one or two cases I had to move it to off-topic category. In other cases I'm making the best educated guess, but it's quite hard to figure out the good forum in the multitude of forums.
    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 1:59 AM
    Moderator
  • This thread seems to now be concentrating on two aspects.

    1. The unsuitability of the word Abusive for some of the things it is used for.

    The suggestion of "Already reported as inappropriate: off-topic" and perhaps the change of the word "Abusive" to "Inappropriate" would imo solve that.

    2. Susan's stance (or rather my impression of it) that there is no such thing as an off-topic post and that it is very difficult for new users to find the correct forum and so Moderators should be nice to all posters.

    My view is that posters (if we ignore the total beginners who have just been given a computer by their partner and who panic) to technical forums are people with a technical background and that when they post they should always look for a suitable forum (and investigate existing posts to it) before they post.

    So (using my own area) if they have a SharePoint 2010 question and all they find is a set of forums where each forum name includes the text "pre-SharePoint 2010", they should then take this as meaning that somewhere there are forums for SharePoint 2010 and look for them (and when they find them, post there).

    I've tried hard to think of an equivalent in the real (US) world as this concept for the forums seems to pass some people by. Here it is.

    If I as a European decide that I want to see a NFL match in Chicago, the first thing I do is a bit of research to see if there is an NFL team in Chicago (and if they are playing at home in the time available to me). I then fly to Chicago (post to a MS forum). Once in Chicago I don't ask to be driven to "a stadium" (post to any forum for a particular product - the product here being an *outdoor* stadium) instead I do my research and ask to be driven to the stadium where the Chicago Bears are playing (post to the correct set of forums). Once there I probably sit in a very unsuitable seat if I choose one at random (post to the wrong forum in the correct set of forums) but at least I get to see my NFL game (a moderator will either leave it in the forum as close enough or will move it to the right forum in the same set of forums)


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 12:58 PM
  • Do you have any recommendation for solving the problem Mike? Other than fixing the spam filter (issue early this week was identified and resolved, sorry about that).
    Community Forums Program Manager

    Proposing Brent's answer because it addresses the Spam Filter issue.
    Ed Price a.k.a User Ed, Microsoft Experience Program Manager (Blog, Twitter, Wiki)
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:08 AM
    Owner
  • I often have hard time figuring where to move off-topic post myself. In one or two cases I had to move it to off-topic category. In other cases I'm making the best educated guess, but it's quite hard to figure out the good forum in the multitude of forums.
    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog

    It's confusing sometimes. I just ask the Asker if/where they want me to move it. I give a few recommendations as well.
    Ed Price a.k.a User Ed, Microsoft Experience Program Manager (Blog, Twitter, Wiki)
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:10 AM
    Owner
  • > Proposing Brent's answer because it addresses the Spam Filter issue.

    Not marking it as an answer because the SpamFilter issue was very much an aside and had nothing to do with the topic of this thread!


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:13 AM
  • > I just ask the Asker if/where they want me to move it.

    It should always be remembered that doing this (and the extra time it involves both in processing alerts and also in having twice to reply to a single issue) will always be easier for people who are being paid to spend a certain amount of time working the forums than for people doing this in their limited spare time and wanting to be as efficient with their time as possible while doing the most good.

    Moving to a reasonable forum for the post at once rather than asking the poster *if* he wants it to be moved saves quite a bit of time and mostly the moderator ought to know better than the poster in which forum the post belongs.

    Aside: On the subject of time: Merges and Splits take far too much time; even a single move takes a tangible amount of time. I am spending almost an hour less in my morning session since I almost entirely stopped moving posts within the same set of (pre-SP 2010) forums. There are guidelines in the two main forums in that set of forums on where to post what to but does anyone read those guidelines - I doubt it.

    Mike


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters
    • Edited by Mike Walsh FIN Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:01 AM it -> those guidelines
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:01 AM
  • > I just ask the Asker if/where they want me to move it.

    It should always be remembered that doing this (and the extra time it involves both in processing alerts and also in having twice to reply to a single issue) will always be easier for people who are being paid to spend a certain amount of time working the forums than for people doing this in their limited spare time and wanting to be as efficient with their time as possible while doing the most good.

    Moving to a reasonable forum for the post at once rather than asking the poster *if* he wants it to be moved saves quite a bit of time and mostly the moderator ought to know better than the poster in which forum the post belongs.

    Aside: On the subject of time: Merges and Splits take far too much time; even a single move takes a tangible amount of time. I am spending almost an hour less in my morning session since I almost entirely stopped moving posts within the same set of (pre-SP 2010) forums. There are guidelines in the two main forums in that set of forums on where to post what to but does anyone read those guidelines - I doubt it.

    Mike


    SP 2010 "FAQ" (mainly useful links): http://wssv4faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    WSS3/MOSS FAQ (FAQ and Links) http://wssv3faq.mindsharp.com/default.aspx
    Both also have links to extensive book lists and to (free) on-line chapters

    That's actually why I ask first. Even looking takes a considerable amount of time.
    Ed Price a.k.a User Ed, Microsoft Experience Program Manager (Blog, Twitter, Wiki)
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:05 AM
    Owner
  • Exactly. I will try asking next time unless I'm certain where to move the post.

    BTW, I agree that Merge is a very long action. Usually takes ~30 seconds or more per merge.


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 1:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Do you have any recommendation for solving the problem Mike? Other than fixing the spam filter (issue early this week was identified and resolved, sorry about that).
    Community Forums Program Manager

    Unproposed since Mike clarified that the Spam Filter issue is not part of his question.
    Ed Price a.k.a User Ed, Microsoft Experience Program Manager (Blog, Twitter, Wiki)
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:56 PM
    Owner