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Settling on language around suspending users

peter profile image Peter Frank ・2 min read

We've built the Forem moderation tooling to support the needs of DEV — a community focused on inclusion and constructive conversations. We're really happy to have been able to "scratch our own itch" as we grew, and we're excited that future Forem leaders will be able to leverage these tools to keep their communities healthy.

That said, one thing we've never done a good job is settling on the language for when we need to occasionally suspend or remove users.

Current language and interface

  • Ban a user to prevent them from taking actions on the platform
  • Banish a user to prevent them from taking actions on the platform (and additionally destroys their content)

Right now, we exclusively use Banish for cases of obvious spam, and we have plenty of warning and alerts before it's actually used. We don't want a Hawaii missile alert situation:

banish user warning
banish user confirmation

Proposed language

Clearly Ban and Banish are too similar, and we need to make some changes to avoid potential confusion.

The word "Ban" fits within the vernacular of internet forums, and the meaning is fairly intuitive, but I wonder if it implies too much permanence.

I prefer "Suspend" as it allows us a Forem Admin to hand out both temporary and permanent suspensions. It also makes it clear that it's non-destructive.

I'd propose renaming "Banish" to something extremely explicit. Potentially, "Expunge" or even "Expunge as Spam" (given that this tool should only be used in cases of obvious spam).


Thoughts?

Discussion (6)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I feel like we've talked enough about this to go with "suspend" for non-distructive and "banish" for distructive.

IMO the biggest thing is probably documenting it and changing the language (at least in the UI, and in code comments).

Docs:

docs.forem.com/design/language/

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

I like suspend and banish for the currently functionality that we have. I think these are good one-word descriptors.

I also think we could change the warning copy for banish, swapping out the first sentence "This is not a new user." for "This action is used to permanently remove spam accounts."

Banish User
This action is used to permanently remove spam accounts. You are only allowed to take this action because you are a super admin or a support admin.

This is extremely destructive. Banishing will delete all the user's existing content and change their username to @spam_###.

Do not do this lightly.

We may be able to change it up even more, but I like for the first sentence to clearly state what the action is meant to be used for.

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

I like suspend and expunge? I was looking at synonyms for expunge but they sound too extreme spoken out loud

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I feel like expunge isn't really part of my normal vocabulary so I'm wondering if that would possibly be overly complicated of a word?

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peter profile image
Peter Frank Author

Yeah, after a night of sleep on this I'm feeling like suspend and banish is probably the right approach.

banish seems to intuitively indicate "cast out and don't let back in" and is a much more common word. We also have plenty of warnings involved in that process around the destructive aspects.

expunge is not only less common, but it can also be used in more positive circumstances. "They stayed out of trouble until they turned 18 so their juvenile disciplinary record was expunged, ensuring future employers wouldn't need to see evidence of their childish misdeeds."

Thread Thread
citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

"They stayed out of trouble until they turned 18 so their juvenile disciplinary record was expunged, ensuring future employers wouldn't need to see evidence of their childish misdeeds."

That's an oddly specific example, is there something we should know @peter ? 😉

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