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[IPS] 4.0 - Simplification of deletion and approval process

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A little history

For many years, IP.Board functioned under a relatively normal model of managing a content's status. A topic, for example, was either unapproved or approved. If a moderator did not like the topic, that moderator could delete the topic. This worked well for many years, but improvements in technology and processes necessitated changes. As IPS software evolved we recognized the need to handle all content throughout the entire suite in a uniform manner, so old concepts like the "trash can" forum were no longer relevant when considering how you work with Gallery images or Download Manager files. Additionally, many sites today employ moderators that they do not wish to entrust with the complete ability to irrevocably delete content, yet they still need the moderator to be able to clean up a mess should it occur.

A few years ago, we introduced the concept of "soft delete". In practice what this meant was that when a user soft deleted a topic, the topic would be removed from general view for most users, but the topic would not actually be deleted. Administrators could choose who can view soft deleted topics, and who could "un-delete" the soft deleted topic.

Some time after this, the way topics were deleted changed as well (which was now referred to as "hard delete" in contrast to "soft delete"). If a topic was truly deleted, it would not actually be immediately removed from the database. Instead, a flag was set and the topic would be deleted from the database at some future point in time by a task. The idea was that you may need to restore something that was deleted by a moderator...but then, the software already supports a soft-delete concept to account for this, right?

When clients proved to be confused with all of the terminology (we can't blame you!), "hard delete" was renamed back to "delete", and "soft delete" was renamed to hidden. Nevertheless, behind the scenes we still had all of the various statuses to account for

  • Content is awaiting approval (unapproved)
  • Content is approved and viewable (approved)
  • Content has been hidden or soft deleted (hidden)
  • Content has been deleted but not removed from the database yet by the task (pending deletion)
  • Content has been deleted and is gone permanently (deleted)

And how about 4.0?

In reviewing the needs of most admins and how the process of managing the content and your moderator roles works in the real world, we decided to simplify and improve this experience.

The 4.0 Suite now has just 4 of the above statuses, and they behave in a manner you would expect.

  • If you require moderator approval of new content, when something is submitted it will be in an unapproved status. If you do not require moderator approval of new content, that content will be approved automatically and immediately viewable.
  • If a moderator has permission to hide content, the moderator will be able to hide any content that has been submitted. The moderator may or may not be able to see content that is hidden, and may or may not be able to restore hidden content to viewable status. (All that depends on Admin settings.)
  • If a moderator has permission to delete content, the moderator will be able to delete content that has been submitted. Upon doing so, the content is immediately and permanently deleted.

You can configure your moderators such that they are able to hide content, delete content, or both.

As with 3.x, moderators who can see hidden content will be able to review all hidden content in the Moderator Control Panel, and those with permission to restore hidden content will be able to do so from here as well. You will not have to worry about the content you are viewing in the Moderator Control Panel is deleted or hidden, as there is only one status now.

This is an example of a very minor change that was made after careful consideration of how the software functions and should "flow" when being used in a real-world situation. It is often the case that the smallest changes can make the biggest impact in the eyes of the users.

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