[Feature] "Borderline approval" flag for Janitors and up

In category: Site Bug Reports & Feature Requests

Requested feature overview description.
A flag visible to and usable by accounts with approval permissions, indicating that a post was viewed and was neither approved nor deleted as it represents a borderline case and the opinion of other approvers would be helpful in making a final determination whether to keep or delete the post. A list of approvers who had flagged a post "borderline" would be displayed along the top of the post in a bar directly beneath the "post pending approval" bar.

Accounts which do not have approval privileges would not see the flag, nor who had used it.

This functions similarly to the "favorites" system, except rebranded for a different purpose and hidden from most accounts.

Why would it be useful?
It would clarify when a post had already been bypassed for approval by multiple janitors, making it more likely to be deleted rather than being allowed to timeout.

Deleting a post for not meeting the minimum quality bar improves communication to posters that their posts are not meeting the minimum quality bar, as opposed to allowing a post to timeout and appear to have been overlooked.

What part(s) of the site page(s) are affected?
Post pages.


+1, a neat idea honestly. Would be super helpful for content just barely straddling the line of passable


Ayy someone read my post
+1


+1. Would definitely lower complaints of posts being "skipped over" or something.


I kinda just wish people could trust that we're doing our jobs, y'know?

We have many tools that help us get the job done.

I have a chart that shows the number of pending images on the date that I collect the data. I'm not especially diligent in doing it, but I've got 3 sets of data for this year so far, so, er, yeah.

Feel free to have a look

The VAST majority of pictures are approved within 3 days.

We have several people who make it a point to look at the back of the queue first.

Putting a mark on it that said "I saw this but didn't approve it" isn't gonna help anything, honestly. The complaints will just evolve "Why hasn't my post been approved yet" becomes "Why didn't Janitor X approve my post?" .... just like we regularly get messages like "Why did you delete my post?" The problem will just change.

the real question is... what is the root problem here, and how do we resolve it? and honestly, I have no idea.


SnowWolf said:
the real question is... what is the root problem here, and how do we resolve it?

After reading these threads over and over and over for the last month or two, it seems like the root problems are

  • impatience,
  • not understanding that e621 is a curated archive and not a gallery,
  • not understanding someone is reviewing the posts already,
  • not understanding the minimum resolution and artistic requirements,
  • honestly, overestimating the quality of their own work, and
  • taking it personally when their posts aren't approved.

Would it be possible, when someone is posting for the first time, to make them go through a short series of slides that explain -- one concise point per slide, because attention spans suck -- what uploaders need to know about when they can expect art to be approved, why it may be deleted, and not to take it personally?

leomole
Privileged
2 months ago
2014 anthro bottle bottomless brown_fur brown_nose brown_tail chair clothed clothing computer desk domestic_cat eyebrows eyelashes felid feline felis fur girly green_eyes hair headphones hoodie inside jailbird leaning leaning_back legwear liam looking_at_viewer looking_back male mammal multicolored_fur multicolored_tail office_chair reclining short_hair sitting slim smile snout socks solo tan_fur tan_hair tan_tail two_tone_fur two_tone_tail

Rating: Safe
Score: 152
User: Onii-chan
Date: May 09, 2014

I think your last 3 points stem from point #2 which is the main root problem.

One way to solve it, which is too flawed for me to actually suggest it, would be to add a rule like You may not upload your own art. This communicates unambiguously that e6 is not a personal gallery. It would stop many complaints about uploads not getting approved. And people would be forced not to take it personally since their uploads can't be their own art. The rule wouldn't actually be enforced, of course, it's basically just a deterrent for complaints.

The obvious downside is that there are artists who do upload quality art to e6, sometimes with better quality than elsewhere, and that's great! That should be encouraged not stopped. So I don't think this is actually a good addition to the rules overall. But it would address a particular issue we have.


SnowWolf said:
The complaints will just evolve "Why hasn't my post been approved yet" becomes "Why didn't Janitor X approve my post?"

Don't posts by anyone who would be able to see this information get auto-approved anyway?

ikdind said:
A flag visible to and usable by accounts with approval permissions
[...]
Accounts which do not have approval privileges would not see the flag, nor who had used it.


MagnusEffect said:
Don't posts by anyone who would be able to see this information get auto-approved anyway?

I have a fever and am doing pretty good to remember that I am SnowWolf today :)

You are correct. but then, I was KINDA more replying to the very last post before mine which... seemed to assume that the poster could see it too, or some such.

anthro chest_tuft countershade_face countershade_torso countershading disney featureless_chest female front_view fur grey_countershading grey_fur half-length_portrait judy_hopps lagomorph leporid long_ears looking_at_viewer mammal nude pink_nose portrait purple_eyes rabbit reaction_image shrug simple_background solo starshippizza tuft white_background zootopia

Rating: Safe
Score: 12
User: jockjamdoorslam
Date: March 01, 2018


I do hope it wasn't too forward to post as a feature request. It seemed like a more appropriate place for the conversation than a "General topics" post.

It also seemed like a recurring theme in the "why are my posts not being approved" responses was "It was borderline and we don't really know when there's consensus or even adequate coverage ensuring all posts are viewed by at least 1 approver, so we let it time out instead."

But, also, the pervasiveness of these threads does seem like more of a recent phenomenon, and mayhaps this too shall pass, like those sex-tagging threads.

imagoober
Privileged
2 months ago
2016 ambiguous_gender anthro cacomistle camo clothed clothing english_text half-length_portrait hat headgear headwear image_macro impact_(font) mammal meme portrait procyonid reaction_image ringtail shirt shrug simple_background smile solo text topwear vins_(volcanins) volcanins

Rating: Safe
Score: 34
User: Manabu
Date: August 22, 2016

I'm also interested in something other than "let it sit and rot because we can't decide", though I can understand SnowWolf's concerns.

As for the suggestion of not being able to upload one's own artwork, yes it is flawed. At the very least, some of the entries in conditional_dnp restrict uploads to the creator (some also allowing commissioners to post).

(And on a tangentially related note, since all paid artwork is now DNP, why the "free stuff only" restriction entries on CDNP?)


ikdind said:
I do hope it wasn't too forward to post as a feature request. It seemed like a more appropriate place for the conversation than a "General topics" post.

Nah, you're fine <3

It also seemed like a recurring theme in the "why are my posts not being approved" responses was "It was borderline and we don't really know when there's consensus or even adequate coverage ensuring all posts are viewed by at least 1 approver, so we let it time out instead."

Mmm. I feel like this is a bit mischaracterized... that's probably my fault. I have a lot of uncertainty about approving or deleting of posts--that's why I'm honestly a fairly poor janitor. but I know that almost every post is getting looked at by several people. I mean, just looking at the mod actions for who's deleting posts and you can see over any given day period, there's a LOT of people deleting stuff. and I know we all have our own methods ways of making sure nothing slips through--mostly.

So, except in some very extreme circumstances, we're pretty sure that everything's getting looked at.

Just, when it reaches the end of the queue, it's because several people have looked at it and said "I don't think this is good enough to approve, but I also don't wanna delete it, because maybe I'm being too hard on it" ... if 5 people have said that, then it should probably be deleted.

Which is why we have the automoderator in the first place: they used to just .... linger until someone rolled up their sleeves and manually deleted them.

But, also, the pervasiveness of these threads does seem like more of a recent phenomenon, and mayhaps this too shall pass, like those sex-tagging threads.

It really is weird. it took us even longer before and yet now...?

who knows.

imagoober said:
I'm also interested in something other than "let it sit and rot because we can't decide", though I can understand SnowWolf's concerns.

it's not really rotting. it still gets deleted after 30 days.

(And on a tangentially related note, since all paid artwork is now DNP, why the "free stuff only" restriction entries on CDNP?)

I'm guessing here, you'd need to ask nimmy.. but.. i'd guess: One part lazy, probably. and one part... that was what the artist requested.


SnowWolf said:
So, except in some very extreme circumstances, we're pretty sure that everything's getting looked at.

Just, when it reaches the end of the queue, it's because several people have looked at it and said "I don't think this is good enough to approve, but I also don't wanna delete it, because maybe I'm being too hard on it" ... if 5 people have said that, then it should probably be deleted.

Which is why we have the automoderator in the first place: they used to just .... linger until someone rolled up their sleeves and manually deleted them.

So... Would there be a problem if the automoderator deleted posts as soon as they'd been passed by five approvers, instead of needing to then hit the 30-day limit?

Or if the admin team would rather the automoderator not get involved, is there a downside to approvers knowing how many other approvers had passed over a post? I'm not really in the know, but I'm assuming there's no current way for an approver to even know if a post had already been looked at by the entire approval crew already.


MagnusEffect said:
So... Would there be a problem if the automoderator deleted posts as soon as they'd been passed by five approvers, instead of needing to then hit the 30-day limit?

Or if the admin team would rather the automoderator not get involved, is there a downside to approvers knowing how many other approvers had passed over a post? I'm not really in the know, but I'm assuming there's no current way for an approver to even know if a post had already been looked at by the entire approval crew already.

I mean...

for one, code doesn't grow on trees.

for two... how to you determine what "5" is. I mean. Some of us browse the site too. If I click on a picture and look at it, because I wanna look at it, did I "judge" the picture, even if my only through was "oooh, snow leopard!" What if I view it a few times?

What If I look at it and go "huh..." and ask my fellow staff "what do you think about the X on this?" and then 4 more people click on it, viewing it and forcing it to auto delete because 4 people viewed it?

What if I have to click a button in passing to make it clear I "judged" it? well that's adding an extra click on every picture which doesn't take much time, but, y'know. it adds up and people are pretty lazy.

but ... this idea--while neat-- is basically a whole lot of extra code work that... there just isn't a need for.

we have several people looking at this. I know several of us check the end of the queue automatically SPECIFICALLY for good posts that might have slipped by.

It's a good idea, it honestly is. But it also feels a bit like "Say, I know we have a dozen people who sweep the courtyard a few times a day, but... maybe we should buy a roomba, in case they miss something."

The problem is, basssically...

CCoyote said:

  • impatience,
  • not understanding that e621 is a curated archive and not a gallery,
  • not understanding someone is reviewing the posts already,
  • not understanding the minimum resolution and artistic requirements,
  • honestly, overestimating the quality of their own work, and
  • taking it personally when their posts aren't approved.

This, mostly. And that's not easily fixable.

There will always be a "gray area" where the posts aren't quite good enough but not quite bad enough. *shrug*


SnowWolf said:

It really is weird. it took us even longer before and yet now...?

Yeah, but now pending actually makes a difference. People know that 'my post has been pending for 20 days, and it's probably gonna pend for another 10 days, meaning it will get deleted aaaaaaaaa'.

Tell me if I'm wrong, but a lot of people seem to upload a handfull of posts during their entire time at e6. These people are not what I call artists; they don't care about quality. They don't care about artistic improvement. They only care that 'TIS MAH FURSONA DONUT STEEL!!', so if those posts pend to the end of times... so what? People can see them, and with that, the uploader's furry ego is happy.

With this in consideration, I don't think it's wierd that there are more people complaining about their posts being auto-deleted than there were people complaining about being deadlocked by pending images. A true artist that gets told that their art 'does not meet quality standards' thinks 'oh, hmm how can I do this better?' If your first reaction is 'that's subjective fuck you janitors' *angry furry noices* then you're not are not an artist, and your work does not belong here. Ever.

What you did was good, those forever pending images should not have been here in the first place, and if that upsets a bunch of furry egos, then so be it.


  • CCoyote said:
    • not understanding that e621 is a curated archive and not a gallery

    leomole said:
    I think your last 3 points stem from point #2 which is the main root problem.

    "Our mission: To archive the best/strangest/most excellent animal/anthro-related artwork, regardless of content, for all those who wish to view it."

    No wonder people are confused. Right now, there's the wiki home page (which uploaders may or may not read) with the quoted statement, and there's a link to Uploading Guidelines on the Upload page which is even more ambiguous and actually invites people to upload their own art.

    ===

    And by the way. I don't think calling e621 an "archive" is a good idea. It's a crappy archive. To be an archive, just scrape FA/IB/Weasyl/whatever indiscriminately like archive.org does with the WWW as a whole.

  • e6 is a mix of two things:
    • a search engine, similar to images.google.com but powered by wetware brains instead of the artificial neural networks Google employs;
    • a curated digest/citation directory similar to Wikipedia, but for furry images.

    I would primarily call it a search engine, but for some people Wikipedia analogy may be easier to understand, including rules on notability and self-promotion and death-of-the-author when it comes to tagging.


    SnowWolf said:
    What If I look at it and go "huh..." and ask my fellow staff "what do you think about the X on this?" and then 4 more people click on it, viewing it and forcing it to auto delete because 4 people viewed it?

    What if I have to click a button in passing to make it clear I "judged" it? well that's adding an extra click on every picture which doesn't take much time, but, y'know. it adds up and people are pretty lazy.

    but ... this idea--while neat-- is basically a whole lot of extra code work that... there just isn't a need for.

    I don't know how hard this would be to code, but you could have an upvote/downvote system visible only to janitors and above, for the purpose of polling whether borderline drawing should be approved. The upvote/downvote system is already in place, so maybe the existing one could be duplicated for that.

    If a janitor or above comes along and decides to just approve it outright, then they could do that, too, just like they do now.

    hslugs said:
    "Our mission: To archive the best/strangest/most excellent animal/anthro-related artwork, regardless of content, for all those who wish to view it."

    Within the context of the rest of the site, "regardless of content" clearly is not the same as "regardless of quality." That is, when admin wrote that, they didn't mean just everything could be dumped here no matter how poorly it was executed.

    As for whether the place is a good archive, the argument seems like semantics to me.


    CCoyote said:
    I don't know how hard this would be to code, but you could have an upvote/downvote system visible only to janitors and above, for the purpose of polling whether borderline drawing should be approved. The upvote/downvote system is already in place, so maybe the existing one could be duplicated for that.

    If a janitor or above comes along and decides to just approve it outright, then they could do that, too, just like they do now.

    I thought about this, but if the point is to maximize utility, minimize friction, and minimize the scope of a change, I felt favorites were a better model to start from for the following reasons:

    • Anyone who would "upvote" an ambiguous quality post already thinks it is of sufficient quality to approve, why not just approve it?
    • Is a "Score"-like widget sufficiently informative? It gives a difference between ups and downs, but we probably care more about the total number of votes.
    • It might be important to know who has voted. Although the site nominally trusts all the janitors with approval powers, surely there are janitors who are viewed as more authoritative by other janitors. And by the time a "Favorited by"-style name list would get truncated, there are enough votes against the post that the exact people to have voted probably doesn't matter anymore.
    • My understanding is that some folks do prefer to work from the search page. How easy is it to extend the different search page modes for an upvote/downvote-style system? "Add to favorites" and "remove from favorites" are already modes available to normal users, but not "upvote" and "downvote", so it may be more work to expose a clone of voting than a clone of favoriting.

    Edit: One more thought that occurs to me about allowing "upvote"-style voting is that it might actually undermine the intent of preventing things from timing out, by expanding the grey area of things "nominally above the quality bar, but not enough for us to approve it". It may be preferable to only allow votes for delete.


    ▼ ikdind's response

    ikdind said:
    I thought about this, but if the point is to maximize utility, minimize friction, and minimize the scope of a change, I felt favorites were a better model to start from for the following reasons:

    • Anyone who would "upvote" an ambiguous quality post already thinks it is of sufficient quality to approve, why not just approve it?
    • Is a "Score"-like widget sufficiently informative? It gives a difference between ups and downs, but we probably care more about the total number of votes.
    • It might be important to know who has voted. Although the site nominally trusts all the janitors with approval powers, surely there are janitors who are viewed as more authoritative by other janitors. And by the time a "Favorited by"-style name list would get truncated, there are enough votes against the post that the exact people to have voted probably doesn't matter anymore.
    • My understanding is that some folks do prefer to work from the search page. How easy is it to extend the different search page modes for an upvote/downvote-style system? "Add to favorites" and "remove from favorites" are already modes available to normal users, but not "upvote" and "downvote", so it may be more work to expose a clone of voting than a clone of favoriting.

    Those are some great points, @ikdind, and the first one is particularly compelling for me.

    Maybe it would just be easier to reduce the limbo time from 30 days to 14? Instead of a month before an unjudged post is autodeleted, make it two weeks. That would reduce the heartburn period for contributors and the length of the awaiting-approval list for janitors and admin.

    It might not reduce complaints, and it could make them more shrill, but everyone would know the status sooner and could move on with their lives.


    Lot of text in all this to address, so please forgive me if I'm a bit quick today:

    MyNameIsOver20charac said:
    so if those posts pend to the end of times... so what? People can see them, and with that, the uploader's furry ego is happy.

    As always, you make me giggle <3

    That said, the posts didn't stay pending to the end of time. Every few weeks, someone would roll up their sleeves and generally delete everything that wasn't awesome.

    It's like... the only difference now is that it happens on a schedule. Without anyone having to roll up their sleeves. And MAYBE a very few more posts get left to be caught by the moderator.

    hslugs said:
    "Our mission: To archive the best/strangest/most excellent animal/anthro-related artwork, regardless of content, for all those who wish to view it."

    If I had a dollar for every time someone said something like... "omg how can you allow cub porn here???" or... some other freak out over cub porn, feral porn, gore, scat, vore... I could probably afford a vacation somewhere nice.

    There was a time when people were getting banned because they would not shut up about wanting to ban MLP content.

    That's not to say that it couldn't be phrased better, but that is the reason behind this wording, as added back in 2011, around the time the "blacklist or die" was installed.

    And by the way. I don't think calling e621 an "archive" is a good idea. It's a crappy archive. To be an archive, just scrape FA/IB/Weasyl/whatever indiscriminately like archive.org does with the WWW as a whole.

    That's what we've been calling ourselves for a decade.

    Do you really want e6 as you know it to go away and just be a repository for scrapped websites? I am pretty sure you can already find something like that out there if you look around.

    CCoyote and Ikdind's clever plans! <3

    It's a nice idea, but... like.. if I could already upvote or down, then I should delete or approve. The problem is the "eeeeh.... maybe?" posts. okay line art but shitty coloring, shitty line art, but nice colors, okay line art, okay colors... a photo but maybe not an awful one? a really messy sketch, "this one looks okay, but how did someone draw a face that nicely while fucking up the hand like that? did they trace?"

    It could be useful sometimes though! this is actually something I *would* love to see on the site, because there are sometimes some submissions where I feel "I like this, but I don't know if it's good enough" It definetly COULD help to bring some pistures it a decision... if peopel use it which is problem number 2. Old dogs, new tricks and all that.

    CCoyote said:

    ▼ ikdind's response

    Maybe it would just be easier to reduce the limbo time from 30 days to 14? Instead of a month before an unjudged post is autodeleted, make it two weeks. That would reduce the heartburn period for contributors and the length of the awaiting-approval list for janitors and admin.

    It might not reduce complaints, and it could make them more shrill, but everyone would know the status sooner and could move on with their lives.

    It's not a bad idea honestly, but 14 days is probably a bit short. RL does happen and bad things cluster together in groups sometimes. I know there was a period a couple months back where it seemed like half the staff was sick or busy.

    and I know historically... there's been at least one period of time in the past where the approvals were backed up liek a month. Yikes.

    Maybe 21 days? but 30 is a nice round number.

    It's worth considering.


    SnowWolf said:
    Maybe 21 days? but 30 is a nice round number.

    It's worth considering.

    Awesome!


    SnowWolf said:
    That said, the posts didn't stay pending to the end of time. Every few weeks, someone would roll up their sleeves and generally delete everything that wasn't awesome.

    I thought the auto-moderator was put in place to avoid clogged-up uploading limits.

    It's like... the only difference now is that it happens on a schedule.

    hmm. Well maybe that is the problem. You keep telling people not to take it personally. But art is personal. It's your thoughts, your mood, your personality. So maybe people would rather see it treated like it's personal. I'm not speaking about detailed constructive criticism and long pep talks, but having your post deleted by someone is at least a 'sorry. but this doesn't cut it'. the auto-moderator doesn't even give you that. It's just a cold date. 'this post was deleted because it reached a deadline'. You're right, nothing personal.

    (I feel the need to point out that these are just speculations. They are meant to be helpful, and if they are not, just tell me and I'll stop :)


    In my opinion a simpler and more effective way to avoid the problem would be to try to improve the communication with those users, at least a bit.

    You see, it seems that the main case that's generating the problem here is when: The user uploads a picture that doesn't get approved within a couple of days; and The user doesn't know enough about the site's rules to know why that is the case

    With that situation in mind I'd have a couple of suggestions on how to reach out for the users and try to educate them on why that may be the case:

    • Tweak the "Create new forum" page to detect if the user has pending approvals and add a message on the top in a similar way to the "you have dmail" one, preferably saying something to the effect of "You seem have posts that still need to be reviewed by the staff, please do not create a topic about it. Instead here's a helpful link to our uploading guidelines", bonus style points if we create a sticky with the title "My post hasn't been approved yet. Help!" to link to, which would contain all the info about how mods and etc look over all posts and only really skip them in some cases (all info that I don't remember being in a single help topic but rather only through word of mouth? I might be mistaken though)
    • Tweak the post page in a similar way, as to display a message "This post hasn't been approved yet. If it's been several days be sure to check our forum post about how posts get accepted [URL]". I suggest this change as I feel that the post itself might be one of the places the user would most often keep checking again and again before they finally decide to make a forum complaining about it. Same deal with the post index page, with a message like "Some posts in this page have not been approved yet. If it's been a couple of days make sure to check our forum post about how images are accepted [URL]"

    No need to introduce complex systems that would not be used by the majority of the staff approving new posts. A couple of helpful signs on places where people often get lost are much cheaper than a permanent rescue team dedicated to getting them back on track all the time.

    Just an idea though, I'm 100% sure people could implement it much more elegantly than this


    We could just slap a big, ol' sign on a freshly uploaded picture, "This post has 30 days to be approved or deleted." Perhaps, any time a pending posting is looked at by a member, its "This post is pending moderator approval." message can also say, "They have X days left to make up their minds about it. Please be patient."

    Of course, whether they actually read said signs is out of our hands.


    Do state somewhere explicitly that submissions are being vetted for quality, artistic and otherwise. Preferably somewhere on the upload page.

    New users probably expect this "approval" thing to be a simple spam filter to weed out real-life porn and image macros and just unrelated stuff. When their uploads clearly aren't any of that, and still don't get approval, they don't understand what's going on and come complaining.

  • CCoyote said:
    • not understanding that e621 is a curated archive and not a gallery

    New users have no easy way of learning this.
    The "curated" part is not obvious and lots of people probably do not expect it.


    hslugs said:
    Do state somewhere explicitly that submissions are being vetted for quality, artistic and otherwise. Preferably somewhere on the upload page.

    https://e621.net/wiki/show/uploading_guidelines#quality

    On the upload page, there is a link near the very top of the page to the uploading guidelines.

    hslugs said:
    New users probably expect this "approval" thing to be a simple spam filter to weed out real-life porn and image macros and just unrelated stuff. When their uploads clearly aren't any of that, and still don't get approval, they don't understand what's going on and come complaining.

    New users have no easy way of learning this.
    The "curated" part is not obvious and lots of people probably do not expect it.

    My 2 cents about this is that it's more a matter of there being too many words we're asking posters to read and understand before posting. howto:upload isn't awful, but Help: Avoid Posting is a lot and where I would guess most people stop.

    Especially when a user is excited to upload their first post, I would guess that if they look at Help: Uploading Guidelines at all, they're basically skipping it as they would a EULA. Too much text, too dense, doesn't focus enough on basic, critical information in a readable format.

    ...and I'm guessing even fewer of those follow the link to, let alone read, Help: Tagging Checklist. Information overload has occurred, and they just want to post.

    I guess what I'm suggesting is that if we wanted to take a look at the problem from that angle, I'd suggest overhauling the documentation we present to new posters to focus on the most common flubs and missed expectations.


    Clawstripe said:
    We could just slap a big, ol' sign on a freshly uploaded picture, "This post has 30 days to be approved or deleted." Perhaps, any time a pending posting is looked at by a member, its "This post is pending moderator approval." message can also say, "They have X days left to make up their minds about it. Please be patient."

    Of course, whether they actually read said signs is out of our hands.

    Yo, if I were a new user and saw that sign, I'd freak out and ask the staff to get to it quickly whereas I wouldn't have normally.