OK, so let's imagine an, uh... hypothetical... set of forum software that, uh... hypothetically... let the community participate in this moderation process. Stop. Do not reply now. Read what I am about to write first, because HYPOTHETICALLY here is how it would work, in this fantasy imaginary software that clearly does not and cannot exist, because such a thing would be impossible: 1. "enough" trusted users flag a post as offensive. Could be 2. Could be 20. Depends on trust levels and forum threshold settings. Could be one, if that person is a formal mod with infinite trust. 2. The post in question is immediately hidden. 3. A private message is sent to the author of the post, describing what happened, in the friendliest imaginable language, and letting them know that a considered edit of any kind is enough to un-hide the post. It also lets them appeal this flag to a mod, if they want to. Now some what ifs. The post author edits, the post is un-hidden and nothing else happens: success! No harm no foul, and notably no formal moderators had to be around for this to work!. The users who flagged gain a little trust, and the post author gains a tiny amount of trust. (There are other ways to gain trust outside this process altogether, even by just reading the forum a lot; I'll probably describe that in a later post.) The post author does not edit, does not appeal: the post is never un-hidden and that user loses a fairly sizable amount of trust. (if their trust level gets low enough, they lose posting privileges, at the lowest levels of trust, they will gently be turned away at the door of the forum altogether.) The post author appeals to a mod. The mod agrees that the flags were not correct. The flaggers lose a little trust. The post author gains a little trust. The post author appeals to a mod. The mod does not agree. The post author loses a LOT of trust. Like.. a lot a lot. The flaggers gain a little trust. The same post is hidden a second, third, fourth time through another round of flags. The trust levels amplify in each round, so by the third time a post is hidden, a simple "do nothing" by the post author might be enough to have the system gently turn them away from the forum. The goal here is for the community to be able to protect itself from the worst users, even without a moderator present. But it works even better with a moderator, as the moderator can accelerate the process by handling the appeals, which amplifies the speed at which trust is gained or lost. Or you could disable it altogether, and go back to a world where every raised flag must be manually handled by an official mod, if that's how you roll. But this'll be on by default, so moderators who start a forum and walk away forever are not an inevitable death sentence to the community. Cough. You know who you are.