This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
  • LibraryThing
  • Book discussions
  • Your LibraryThing
  • Join to start using.

New Talk flagging features

New features

Join LibraryThing to post.

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: May 23, 2009, 6:47pm Top

I've added a number of new flagging features:

1. I rewrote the little blub about what is and what isn't a flaggable offense. It now reads:
"Flag this message as abuse? Abuse includes personal attacks (including name-calling), commercial solicitation and spam. Disagreeing with content or grammar of a message is not grounds for flagging. See our Terms of Use."
2. You can now remove a flag you flagged.

3. You can now "counter-flag" if you think others have flagged something inappropriately. Counter-flags count for half.

Edited: May 23, 2009, 7:23pm Top

Thank you very much for these changes, Tim. A significant improvement IMHO.

May 23, 2009, 7:55pm Top

Thanks, Tim.

Do you want to specify that considering a message to be in the wrong group is also not grounds for flagging? Or is that just getting into over-specification?

May 23, 2009, 8:04pm Top

No, it's not grounds for flagging. Flagging is a police action of a sort. If someone breaks into your house, you call the police. If someone shows up at your book club with the wrong book, you just tell them.

May 23, 2009, 8:12pm Top

Have you considered increasing the threshold for disabling posting to 5 flags from 4? Despite these changes, I'm not convinced that people like Wafflez aren't at risk of being undeservedly shut out of Talk.

May 23, 2009, 8:29pm Top

Let's see how these play out.

May 23, 2009, 9:57pm Top

If you gave a thumbs up to a review and you go back and someone has flagged it, can you also counter-flag (if the flag is inappropriate), or do you only get one action per post ?

May 23, 2009, 10:47pm Top


Oh, I know it's not grounds for flagging; I was just wondering if you wanted to make that explicit in the directions.


Despite all the hand-wringing, I think "wafflez" is the only case I've seen of this happening. I don't think you need to worry.


This is about posts, not reviews.

May 24, 2009, 1:45am Top

>7 FicusFan:

Yes. You can only do one thing per message.

>4 timspalding:

Flagging for disagreement and annoyance happens more than I'd like.

May 24, 2009, 1:54am Top


I realize this would require a massive, massive overhaul of Talk, but if "ignore this poster" actually did just that -- so that not only did it disallow someone from commenting on your profile, but you wouldn't have to see their Talk posts, either -- I think people flagging for "bad" reasons would go way down. I haven't suggested this previously, despite fervently wishing for such a feature, because of the amount of work involved (since it seems like a "while you're at it I'd like a pony" feature) but if you are concerned with the level of flagging, maybe it's something to consider? I mean, it's clear that nothing you or anyone else does is going to eliminate the "asdfasdfasdf" posts entirely, and if they aren't flaggable, then maybe making it easier for people to ignore them -- especially when they appear in the middle of a useful thread, making the "red x" solution less useful than in other cases -- might be worth considering?

May 24, 2009, 1:57am Top

>10 lorax:

But it would strip posts of context. People would be confused what people were talking about, because they'd not be following one or more of the people. Fundamentally, conversations are conversations. You can ignore a conversation, but ignoring part of a conversation just doesn't make sense.

May 24, 2009, 8:05am Top

Previously, the flag "count" disappeared when the "hide" feature activated - after 3 or 4 flags, the message was hidden and the little flag icons disappeared. I just saw a spam message that had 9 flags against it.

Was this change intentional? It's going to be interesting to see how many flags a message collects.

May 24, 2009, 8:09am Top

Oh, wow. Maybe with counter flagging we could also create negative numbers of flags. Weee!...

May 24, 2009, 10:07am Top

>12 MrAndrew:

The change was semi-intentional. If it's not a trouble, can you shoot me that post? I could do some queries to find one, but if you have it handy, it'll be a good test-bed.

May 24, 2009, 10:22am Top

Waffelz isn't the only case of inappropriate flagging - the changes are much appreciated. It's very nice to have a tool to use against the overly aggressive flaggers.

Although I do hope that there will be fewer incidents since individuals are aware that the flags can be reversed. This way, we'll be back to original intent on the flags. :)

May 24, 2009, 10:25am Top

>9 timspalding: Thank you Tim.

May 24, 2009, 12:32pm Top

May 24, 2009, 12:35pm Top

The next LT game: how many flags can we get on a single post.


Edited: May 24, 2009, 2:18pm Top

>17 detailmuse:

Okay, it does four now, then puts the numeral in a parenthesis. Check it out on that post.

>18 vaneska:

One reason I chose to make it flag = 1, counterflag = -0.5 was to prevent people from using it as an ersatz voting mechanism. Flags are tied into various spam-triggers. I wouldn't want people to use it for voting and then discover they were locked out of the site for three hours.

May 24, 2009, 1:28pm Top

I did mean to include a smilie in my post 18.


May 24, 2009, 1:39pm Top

I know. But you know people would get creative... :)

May 24, 2009, 1:44pm Top

What about non-commercial solicitation (or the like)? More specifically, someone creating an account, not adding a single book, and posting "I've got a great book blog here, come and visit me!"

Edited: May 24, 2009, 1:57pm Top

I think that's probably not spam. Obviously, it would be if the blog were about penile enlargement pills. When in doubt, I think members would do well do http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Assume_good_faith . Some of those people are irretrievable jerks. Most are just expressive. If you're like that, and you came to a site, you might start out by saying "Hey, check me out!" and then move on to use the site and help others in great ways.

May 24, 2009, 1:52pm Top

I had the impression that up to now, when an OP collected five flags and no replies, it disappeared from sight. As the heavily flagged example given in #17 shows, that doesn't happen any more. The advantage of the old system (if I'm right about what it was), is that no more users were led to waste time looking at the spam.

May 24, 2009, 1:56pm Top

I opened a discussion on "Assume Good Faith."


Edited: May 24, 2009, 2:16pm Top

Good changes, Spaldo.

Note: In #19, you meant counterflag = -0.5, not -5.

May 24, 2009, 2:19pm Top

>26 Carnophile:

Thanks. Fixed. But no calling me Spaldo!

May 24, 2009, 2:33pm Top

Sorry, it was intended to be funny, not annoying.
Uh-oh, I hope I don't get flagged for name calling.

May 24, 2009, 2:35pm Top


May 24, 2009, 2:59pm Top

I like it!
It's better than Carny, which is what the Pro & Con crowd call me, and makes me sound like a carnival worker on the grift.

May 24, 2009, 3:10pm Top

I don't know. I kinda like "spaldo". "where's spaldo?" we can say.

May 24, 2009, 4:43pm Top

Very nice, I really like the metaphor in post 4.

May 24, 2009, 6:31pm Top

Thank you for the changes, and thank you to the people who pointed out the problem. The nastiness towards new posters who innocently violate the norms has bothered me too. (I don't post much but I do lurk here a lot.)

May 24, 2009, 6:50pm Top

But it would strip posts of context. People would be confused what people were talking about, because they'd not be following one or more of the people. Fundamentally, conversations are conversations. You can ignore a conversation, but ignoring part of a conversation just doesn't make sense.

Well, it made sense on Usenet, and made it usable for much longer than it otherwise would have been. :)

I'm honestly not talking about ignoring people I disagree with, or who insult me (but not personally and thus not flaggably) -- I'm talking about people who post random stuff just to get attention.

If it's technically prohibitive, that's fine. But if you're just philosophically opposed, I think there are genuine good use cases for a feature like this -- either this, or allowing users to individually hide specific posts (so for them, it would be like they'd been flagged, but everyone else could see them.)

May 24, 2009, 7:08pm Top

Wait, do you want to hide certain messages or all messages by certain users? The former seems pointless to me—by the time you hit "hide" you've already read them. The latter is a bad idea for the reasons mentioned.

May 24, 2009, 7:13pm Top


Either. Preferably the second, but the first if the second isn't possible -- sure, I've already read it, but if it's in a thread I'm following I don't have to see it again. And it would be satisfying to just make it magically disappear. :)

May 24, 2009, 7:22pm Top

We should have a Quark alien come out and blast it.


Edited: May 24, 2009, 9:57pm Top

Well, good timing, here is a test case from a brand new member

May 24, 2009, 11:19pm Top

>#14 Tim: sorry, i posted and ran, but i see you got your sample and fixed it anyway (thanks detailmuse).

Did the point in message #24 get addressed?

I had the impression that up to now, when an OP collected five flags and no replies, it disappeared from sight. As the heavily flagged example given in #17 shows, that doesn't happen any more.

May 25, 2009, 3:56am Top

I guess the answer is that no, they don't disappear any more. At least this one didn't:


I'm not concerned because i can just red-x it or let it slide down the list. The main reason i was asking was in relation to the "Assume good faith" discussion. It was pointed out to me recently that by responding to a spammy thread, I prevented it from disappearing when the original post was flagged. This made me hesitant to do a "Thanks for your interest in LibraryThing...." post in future. However, if the flag-and-disappear trick is no longer working, I can;t see that i'm doing much harm by posting an "Assume good faith" response.

Although, it will be kind of a shame that the really, really spammy threads (like the one linked above) don't disappear for good.

May 25, 2009, 8:54pm Top

Tim, was it a deliberate decision to keep all the spam threads? I'm not sure it contributes to a friendlier atmosphere, and it certainly makes the site look worse.

May 25, 2009, 9:14pm Top

No, no. I need to dig into how it works.

May 25, 2009, 9:49pm Top

>43 timspalding: this exact same message is spammed on about eight threads! I'm gonna flag the sucker.

//short pause//

Then again, maybe not.

May 25, 2009, 9:59pm Top

Has anyone tested or used the new flag stuff yet ?

May 25, 2009, 10:02pm Top

>#45: The counter-flagging is tested and it works. Not sure about removing your own flags.

May 25, 2009, 10:03pm Top

Go ahead and test it on this one, you stupid fig lover! :)

Please note: abuse is simulated for flag testing purposes.

May 25, 2009, 10:09pm Top


Besides, it's true. I am a fig lover. It's my secret shame.

May 25, 2009, 10:09pm Top

>47 justjim: Fig lover, eh?

It worked just fine. When I hit "flag abuse" a second time, it recognized that I had flagged already, and gave me the option to remove it.

What was bothersome, was that in between, the flag wasn't visible. Surely one should be able to see one's own flags? I think I have in the past, the rare times I've needed to do it.

May 25, 2009, 10:12pm Top

#47 was 'aimed' at #45 ficus=fig, fan=lover. It brought some secrets out of the closet though, didn't it MrA?

I feel so dirty now though.

May 25, 2009, 10:12pm Top

47, I flagged it, but it didn't show up ?

And only for testing purposes, was going to see if I could remove it, but its not there ?


May 25, 2009, 10:12pm Top

Please flag this message to death—and don't post any replies to it.


May 25, 2009, 10:14pm Top

>51 FicusFan: As far as I know, the first flag doesn't show up. (I think it's to minimize the harm rogue flaggers can do).

May 25, 2009, 10:16pm Top

I flagged it and it didn't show. I reloaded and the flag came up #4.

I tried reloading here #47, but it never showed.

May 25, 2009, 10:16pm Top

>54 FicusFan: A message with one flag has never shown a flag--even before this feature. A post has needed 2 or more before they are visible.

May 25, 2009, 10:17pm Top

But how can you use the new remove your flag feature if it doesn't show ?
You might think it didn't take and then not bother.

May 25, 2009, 10:18pm Top

Right. First flag doesn't show until the second one is added.

I got to be first to tag Tim's message in the link above. Do I get a prize?

May 25, 2009, 10:30pm Top

#52, I feel like counter flagging the other post you referred to, it seems kind of lame but I don't really think it's spam. ;)

May 25, 2009, 11:27pm Top

>56 FicusFan: - I just tried it. You flag it the first time - it doesn't show. If you hit flag abuse again it offers you the option to remove your flag (the invisible one).

May 26, 2009, 4:23am Top

I had the pleasure of counter-flagging a post this morning. It felt really nice :)


May 26, 2009, 4:44am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
Do you need debit and/or credit card processing services? We help merchants find the right solution for their business needs—everything from retail to wireless, internet to MO/TO. We guarantee to help you find a low cost Canadian credit card processing provider. Typically we are saving most Merchants 10-30% off traditional card processing accounts.

Cynthia Kurtz
Canadian Merchant Account

May 26, 2009, 4:50am Top

>61 cynthia145: For one brief glorious moment I thought that a regular had made a fabulously witty fake spam post. How many flags can 61 get in this thread?

May 26, 2009, 5:41am Top

I think it's hilarious that 61 chose this topic to spam.

May 26, 2009, 7:23am Top

#59, yes I understand that you can remove the flag (ie: the function works), but why would you if the flag doesn't show ? I didn't know it was invisible, until it was mentioned here, in the rest of LT you would just think it didn't take, and then not bother to 'remove' it.

If the flag shouldn't show for LT until there are 2, it should still show for the person who flagged it, so they can in fact see that its there and can be removed if you changed your mind, rather than thinking that you lucked out because it didn't take and you changed your mind. Either that or something in the flagging message about the first not showing, but still being there.

May 26, 2009, 8:12am Top


Tim is right. I have belonged to forums where this was possible.
It did make things wonky. I never actually used the option...but as admin, I tried it on several occasions when there were problems. I have longed for it here a time or two with three users in particular.. but when I got over my snit, realized that it is a bad idea. IMO

In one instance I simply quit visiting the group.
In another I rarely visit the group.
The third instance.. there is nowhere to hide.. but I can live with it.

I try to be a grown up about these things. Now and then my will gets weak and I get snarky back. Nobody's perfect.


May 26, 2009, 8:39am Top

Any takers for a bet that Cynthia145 is an account created by Tim for a test?

May 26, 2009, 9:25am Top

66 > looks like a real URL

May 26, 2009, 9:39am Top

Yeah. But the post showing up here is more of a coincidence than I'm ready to buy without a struggle. :-)

May 26, 2009, 11:34am Top

I remember there being a message if you were the first flagger to the effect that no flags will show until there are at least two.

May 26, 2009, 11:43am Top

> 69 yes, I know that now.

So what happens now with the mystery first flag, if someone adds a 2nd and it appears. Will it stay visible or disappear again if someone goes back and removes the second flag ?

May 26, 2009, 12:23pm Top

Well, it takes two people to remove a flag. Does one removal then remove the visible flags or does it wait for that second removal (of half a flag)?

May 26, 2009, 12:53pm Top

No there is a new function where you can remove your own flag if it is in error. See #2 in the first message.

May 26, 2009, 1:33pm Top

No, it wasn't my doing. I think it was "real" spam, if that phrase has any meaning.

Edited: May 26, 2009, 1:42pm Top

>73 timspalding: (real spam)
Sorta like a "real fake" or being "pretty ugly", right?

A member of my knitting circle has a son who works in military intelligence. She says he refers to himself as an oxymoron.

May 26, 2009, 1:52pm Top

Back to lorax's suggestion about implementing a killfile -- I'm another Usenet inhabitant, and unsurprisingly I second the suggestion. It's one of the Usenet features that I really miss on other systems. And no, it does not particularly disrupt the conversation to not have to read the bozos who are in the bin, although admittedly that's partly due to Usenet quoting conventions.

May 26, 2009, 1:55pm Top

I don't think Usenet is a particularly good comparandum for LT. Anyway, I feel pretty strongly that adding features to ignore particular users is a waste of my time, and likely to cause confusion down the road. Deal with social issues socially.

May 26, 2009, 1:56pm Top

Tim, was it a deliberate decision to keep all the spam threads? I'm not sure it contributes to a friendlier atmosphere, and it certainly makes the site look worse.

Highly-flagged single-message topics now go away again.

May 26, 2009, 1:57pm Top


May 26, 2009, 2:00pm Top

I also tested that, yes indeed, people who get flagged a lot aren't allowed to post. Yes, that was me. (And yes, site admins no longer are affected by flags!)

May 26, 2009, 2:02pm Top

>79 timspalding: Didn't that previously apply only to unpaid members?

May 26, 2009, 2:03pm Top

No, I'm using the same function as before. It applies to all. Perhaps shouldn't.

May 26, 2009, 2:04pm Top

Well, what does "a lot" mean?

May 26, 2009, 2:05pm Top

It's in between a bunch and a ton.

May 26, 2009, 2:06pm Top


Edited: May 27, 2009, 5:24am Top

Two things:

1) For the first time today, I accidentally flagged a message. Obviously, I would have had to click again to confirm it, but there wasn't a cancel in the box. I had to reload the page to get rid of it.

2) This thread isn't appearing in my Your Groups list. It's not red x-ed, but it's not there. Other New Features group topics are, but this one isn't. I had to go to the blog post to find the link. Makes me wonder if anything else has gone missing.

Edit to add: it's also not showing up in my Your Posts list.

Edited again to add: It's not just me: http://www.librarything.com/topic/65470

May 27, 2009, 3:59pm Top


Deal with social issues socially.

Well, we've been trying to, but we've now been told we can't; instead of ignoring or criticizing bozos, we need to roll out the red carpet for them in the hopes that they might at some point obtain clue. So we were seeking alternatives.

Edited: May 27, 2009, 4:33pm Top

This thread has disappeared from my post listing also.

I only found it again by following your link in the other thread rorrison.


Even this post didn't bring it up on my posts in my home page.

May 27, 2009, 6:16pm Top

I'm struggling to find it also, only got here via rorrison's link.

May 27, 2009, 11:11pm Top

I can't find it listed even if I go to the New Features Group.

May 28, 2009, 3:09am Top

They're back. Sorry about it.

May 28, 2009, 5:08am Top

>86 lorax: I don't think you help your case by overstating it. As an individual you may ignore anything you choose. I don't think that criticism, if polite and constructive, is proscribed. Red carpets are not demanded.

All this started off from a post - offensive only to grammarians and anti-Twilight bigots - that was dealt with, in the opinion of many, in a harsh and uncivil manner.

Why can't people treat others in a more friendly manner?

May 28, 2009, 7:35am Top

>91 abbottthomas: Because common courtesy isn't so common.

May 28, 2009, 10:54am Top

site admins no longer are affected by flags!

Like playing a video game in god mode.

May 28, 2009, 12:01pm Top

:shoots Carnophile with the BFG.

Edited: May 28, 2009, 12:23pm Top


Perhaps I've been misinterpreting this issue from the beginning, then, but Tim hasn't said anything to make me question my interpretation -- he specifically said (in the other thread) that a part of "Assume good faith" was that we should post "Welcome to LibraryThing" messages for people acting questionably (advertising a book or a blog, when they don't have any books entered in their library, was the specific case he mentioned, and the specific case I responded to. I'm perfectly happy to ignore people who I'm still allowed to ignore, to the extent that the UI allows (like poor wafflez, whose post started all this uproar), but that seems to be specifically ruled out in some cases.

Edited to add: Also, some of us have the peculiar notion that newcomers to a community should also act politely -- that civility is a two-way street.

May 28, 2009, 12:22pm Top

>94 timspalding:
Am I the only one who instantly wondered how you could shoot someone with The BFG?

May 28, 2009, 12:28pm Top

You use the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BFG_9000 . Blows Mr. Dahl away. Also his peaches.

May 28, 2009, 12:31pm Top

>96 AnnaClaire: Maybe not shoot, but squish?

Edited: May 28, 2009, 1:24pm Top

>94 timspalding:
(Skeletor voice) You may have won this round, He-Man, but I'll be back! (/Skeletor voice)

May 28, 2009, 1:25pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 28, 2009, 2:31pm Top

Why are people flagging Tim in #97? There's absolutely nothing concievably objectionable about that post.

May 28, 2009, 2:33pm Top

There's some joke going on here...

May 28, 2009, 2:34pm Top

Maybe to test the statement:

"Site Admins are no longer affected by flags"

Which as we can see is untrue. Just my guess I didn't flag him.

May 28, 2009, 2:35pm Top

Rudeness to Mr. Dahl?
Because he links to a page that uses a curse word?

Oh well, gives me a chance to try counter-flagging.

May 28, 2009, 2:40pm Top

>103 FicusFan:

The flags show up. But I can post, no matter how many people flag me.

May 28, 2009, 2:46pm Top

Oh, Like having Kevlar PJs huh. :)

May 28, 2009, 3:05pm Top

> 105 : No fair!

> 104 : BFG has several unrelated meanings.

May 28, 2009, 3:20pm Top

I conjecture that some irredeemably malign people were flagging him just to check the "immunity" feature. I'm appalled at such behavior.

May 28, 2009, 3:34pm Top

>107 Nicole_VanK: And yet, in Doom, it's exactly what you think it is...

May 28, 2009, 3:53pm Top

> 109: Yeah, but it has nothing to do with Mr. Dahl's BFG - although I'm now tempted to think up a scenario where the two would be combined ;-)

May 28, 2009, 6:00pm Top

>110 Nicole_VanK: Maybe Michael Bay decides to do a live-action version of Roald Dahl's BFG, and being Micahel Bay, he decides that it's perfectly natural for the BFG to have a BFG because the BFG helicopter scene is entirely different in his head?

May 28, 2009, 6:03pm Top

I'm so tempted to redo the Dahl cover with him holding a BFG9000.

Edited: May 28, 2009, 6:13pm Top

There's always the Noisy Cricket.

May 28, 2009, 6:19pm Top

>112 timspalding: Sophie can be played by Summer Glau.

and now I should probably take a shower, channeling Michael Bay kinda gives me the heebie-jeebies...

Group: New features

45,201 messages

This group does not accept members.


This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 134,203,399 books! | Top bar: Always visible