Use cases for lock, unlock, and delete (TL4 and TL5)

The description of trust levels says:

Trust level 4:
New Perks:

  • May temporarily lock posts.
  • May soft-delete posts.

Trust level 5:
New Perks:

  • Not MVP: May permanently lock posts.

We now have draft use cases for lock, unlock, and delete, with TL5 having some additional abilities above TL4. Even though the spec says permanent locks aren’t MVP, I included them in the use case (a) to capture them while we’re thinking about this and (b) because I think it’ll be easy enough that we can do it for MVP after all.

Key points:

  • At TL4, users see that certain flags exist. This is an input to the decision to lock or delete. TL4 users do not have access to the identities of flaggers or any custom (“other”) flags. But being able to see that a question has N flags of type A, M flags of type B, a gazillion comment flags, etc can help a user decide that a post needs some attention, so we show that.

  • These use cases identify two lock types: no more comments and content lock (no more edits). Neither type prevents voting or answering; we don’t lock votes and if a question shouldn’t have answers, that’s what hold is for. Do we need any other lock types? (I know SE has historical locks but that doesn’t mean we need them. Are they useful beyond “no edits” and “no comments” and (optionally) “closed”?)

  • TL4 can lock a post for up to 3 days, and a lock from a TL4 user raises an auto-flag to TL5 for review. This means TL5 (elected mods) are aware of new locks that might need to be made permanent or might require other action (such as messages to users).

  • TL5 can unlock.

  • We haven’t written the “undelete post” use case, but it’ll be what you’d expect.

  • We haven’t specified community deletions yet. Right now TL4 and TL5 can single-handedly delete, and other users need to use flags to suggest deletion. I don’t see community deletions in the MVP requirements; doesn’t mean we can’t, but doesn’t seem to be a priority for MVP.

  • When placing a comment lock, users are reminded to flag (or delete) comments that need it. (TL5 users can delete comments, which is covered in another use case.)



Maybe it’s not necessary, but consider allowing TL4 to unlock posts they have locked themselves. Sort of a regret or something.


I think this should be not only on the post (“This post has 100 comment flags, 2 spam flags and 42 off-topic flags”), but there should only be a list of the most flagged posts This could be only a table with columns such as:

  • number of comment flags
  • number on spam/offensive flags
  • number of close flags
  • link to post
  • weighted score (sum of all flag counts multiplied by a specific flag type score, such as: comment_flag=1, spam_flag=10, offensive_flag=10, close_flag=2, edit_war_flag=5), this is the column after which we sort

Maybe only for some time to prevent cases of abuse. So you’re only allowed to change or remove the lock for the first ten minutes. And we shouldn’t allow TL4 users to lock posts multiple times (once unlocked)


We’re going to need a way for TL5 users (elected moderators) to see and process all the flags anyway, yes – haven’t gotten that far yet. Extending it in some form to TL4 users is an interesting idea, thanks.

Hmm, yeah, we need to work out what’s possible when people disagree, and how to distinguish it from the problem recurring. Comment explosion -> lock -> calming influence -> unlock -> 3 weeks later, comment explosion is different from a tug of war. So is edit war -> lock -> discussion -> unlock -> calm -> edit warrior comes back two months later and starts it up again. Addressing these complexities is problem a task for after MVP.

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