Behind the Scenes of Leader Beans

We’ve had a lot of curiosity over the years about how being a mod here works and what mods see, so I thought I’d provide a little informational thread on mod basics and what we as mods do/see.

Most of what we do is clearing the queue of posts that end up there, either because they are flagged or because they’re caught in one of Disqus’ various filters (for example, we don’t filter “I just paid”, Disqus does). Comments can be filtered automatically by Disqus when users have a low reputation, which is basically a ratio of posts vs. flags/spam flags, because a phrase Disqus doesn’t like is used like “I just paid”, or because Disqus flags the user or comment as “toxic”. What defines “toxic” is pretty obtuse, but here’s Disqus’ explanation. We don’t see a lot of things Disqus auto-mods: most of the time posts we see in the “pending” filter are items that were flagged by Avocados.

We also answer emails with questions or concerns, approve people to have publishing access, make edits or changes to the site itself in WordPress as needed, feature or unfeature comments, sticky or unsticky threads, keep an eye on arguments that look like they may get out of hand, and any number of smaller duties I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Now, on to the fun stuff: what mods see!

First, this is what the main page of the mod queue looks like, with pending comments. This is what we look at most of the time. As you can see, we can see pending comments, approved comments, comments marked as spam, deleted comments, and all comments. So yes, we could theoretically see everything posted on the Avocado, but we use that rarely. Last time I used it it was to find my own engagement announcement, for example. Our most used tabs are “pending” and “spam”.

Here’s what our pending approval queue looks like.

flagged queue

As you can see, when a post is pending approval, we see the username, the thread it was in, the actual post, the person’s Disqus rep, and in red why it’s in the queue. What I blue’d out here would be a partially redacted email address and IP address, like what you’ll see below.

userinfoIf we click on any post, we get a bit more detail about the user. So, we see the option to trust you (whitelist all your posts) or ban you. If I click on that little person icon, I’ll see options to “view all from Username”, “view all from Email Address”, or “view all from IP address”. Please do note though that the email addresses and IP addresses are mostly redacted: we never see your full email or IP address. In the rest of the panel, we’ll see a users “reputation”, which is determined by Mysterious Disqus Forces, how long ago they joined, the redacted IP, how many comments they’ve made, how many flags they’ve gotten, and how many of their comments have been marked as spam.

We can also see a list of posts you’ve made in the flag the comment is in, your comment history (yes, we can see this even if your profile is set as private), and the history of that particular comment: whether it’s been moderated in any way, deleted by the user, or highlighted, unhighlighted, or moved between moderation queues by another mod.

And that’s all we see in that part of the panel, and all the personal info we can see about you.

Now, on to what the banned list looks like:

bannedlist

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you see here that we can ban by username, email address, IP address, or all 3. We don’t do IP bans a lot because we don’t want to accidentally include an innocent party in a banning. But we frequently ban by both username and email address.
Finally, a lot of people have been curious about the word filter. I will post a screengrab of the filter in a comment below. Please be warned that it includes many, many slurs and it can be upsetting to see that many in one place. Click the spoiler I’ll hide it behind at your own risk.
If you have any other questions about modding, let us know! We’ll try to answer as best we can.