(I must learn to write more interesting less terminally dull post titles...)
Today I've been mainly pushing php around the forums: one thing about open source projects is that, when you dig around in the code a bit, you find lots of hidden "extras" that, for one reason or another (lack of time to document, security concerns, lazy developers ... ok the last one is plainly wrong since noone would bother writing open source code if they were *that* lazy) never made it into the released product, or at least weren't fully exploited.
One of these handy little gems (bear with me - this post is about to get a whole load more boring) is the way moderators can "hide" a post which they think might break the forum rules, without actually deleting it; say, for example, someone posts something which might help other members cheat in an exam; it's probably against the site rules, but the moderator who spots it wants to e-mail an admin and check. They hide the message, fire off an e-mail, and twiddle their thumbs for an hour or so. In the meantime, anyone who wanders past the post can see a post has been hidden, but not who posted it or what's in it, and aren't any the wiser.
Of course, the person who posted the message might be getting a bit cross about all this, but I'm hoping a combination of sensible moderators and sensible members will mean there's a bit of understanding if this has to happen. Maybe; maybe not...
An extension of this system is that we can also pre-moderate a member's messages; it's unlikely it'll ever need to happen, but we can flick a pixel-switch to make sure all posts by a user are moderated if, for example, they develop the habit of drunkenly posting nasty comments about the quality of their housemate's cooking when drunk.
Both bits of the system are designed, ultimately, to make the forums a) safer and b) less harshly moderated (since it's less likely a post will be deleted on the spot "just in case" it upsets someone). That said, anyone and everyone can