Flagging Important topics with a flag marker

There is a point of view that there should be an accord on SF that topics with some sort of of marker to show that the posts in the topic are to be regarded as having significant importance to warrant closer monitoring (perhaps by the topic creator) and to flag posts that are off-topic for action by the Team.
This is not intended to be a mechanism for censorship but merely to keep an informative thread on track as a valuable resource for SF members as a “go to” place for reliable information without the “noise” often associated with more general topics where thread drift is de-rigour and encouraged. Sometimes, thread drift discourages members from using the resource as they wade through the morass of unrelated comments to obtain the important stuff.

SF is a fantastic resource in itself, well managed and highly respected. The intention is simply to keep it that way.

My proposal on which comments are welcome is that such threads are first cleared with the Team (principally by DM to @cat to ensure initial support) and then the thread title adjusted to show a :triangular_flag_on_post: before the words of the title to indicate its special purpose. It would also require cooperation by members to make it effective.
I have done this on the heading banner for the French Vaccine Programme - New Thread to show what it would look like:-

The next stage would inevitably be wider circulation/understanding of the new protocol and I’m sure the Team would be happy to hear views on how this might be achieved too.

Let me be clear, this is not in any way intended to suppress comment or humour on SF (as @cat has already said, there are plenty of places for this already on SF) but to ensure that the platform retains its stature in the grand scheme of things and enhances its reputation as a reliable informative resource.


@graham Excellent idea Graham.
Hopefully the flag won’t become too ubiquitous so that there really will be a few, specific information threads.



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Think it’s worth a try Graham



I agree with Andy - definitely worth a try. It’s important to have lots of chat and letting-off-steam threads but a lot of people use the undoubted expertise of SF members in order to get information on worrying/confusing/important matters and it’s difficult if information is all mixed up with other sorts of comments.


I think that you are working against the original idea of SF.
I do not like your proposal at all.
It reminds me of one of your replies to me when you described yourself as having a good sense of humour, implying that I don’t. My sense of humour is different from yours, but nonetheless as valid.
I don’t think that SF needs a new arbiter, presumably with a good sense of humour.

That’s a shame Jane, but you are entitled to your viewpoint.
SF has evolved and this is an effort to strengthen its positives.

No, it seems to me that it is an effort to change its original ethos.

Don’t worry Jane!

There won’t be any change to the whole SF ethos :slight_smile: we are just going to give it a try. I think there will be very few posts on very few subjects that will qualify for the flag - maybe healthcare and driving licences for example. Most ‘information’ posts can’t be kept as information only for the simple reason that information is now very quickly out of date.

You probably remember that years ago we had a useful links section but even then the problem was keeping it up to date - although @terry did an amazing job!

(And this is why discussion boards like SF work much better these days than the traditional static forums. We now live in a world where things change overnight…)

Anyway, I suggest we give it a try and as James and I will make the decision on which posts qualify, there won’t be any issue with people simply deciding they want to keep ‘their’ pet subject on track.


Morning Mr Tech Guru!

Here’s my first ‘concern’ - how do we prevent people from adding their own flags willy nilly without having run it by us first? I know that the vast majority of law abiding SF’ers will, but it’s not them I am worried about…!!

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Good point @cat which is why I suggested running it past you first to include the flag in a thread as indeed I did with you on the new thread. Perhaps I should remove the reference on how to do it :thinking:
I’m sure the last thing you want is a tug-of-war with SF’ers insistent on the importance of their ‘pet’ subject but - whenever has that caused you angst before :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes, please do - need to know basis only! :slight_smile:

It won’t be many people but I can pretty much guarantee that as and when another thread kicks off on some seemingly innocuous subject, such as the use of peat compost, come Friday night and post apero hour, some bright spark will decide that their thread merits a flag.


I think it is a good idea, used sparingly as already mentioned. One must remember that for ever poster there is around 10 ‘lurkers’ that use forums for information so I agree that to have threads that are clearly information is of benefit to everyone. On my forum in the past when we have had these they’ve worked well and where people have wanted to go off piste they have started a seperate thread for the chat on the subject on the ‘info’ thread!



For what its worth, I think that Graham’s proposal is an excellent idea.

May I suggest that as well as a flag, all such posts also have a mandatory reserved tag (i.e. info), which will enable searching a bit easier?


Interesting Nigel. I’m not entirely sure of the mechanics of that within Discourse though.

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That sort of thing could be very helpful for new arrivals desperately looking for information! I imagine that was the idea behind the original Useful Links concept?

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I think that’s a good idea. IMO there are two types of thread on here, the advice/information type ones and the chatty ones. On the former one should make sure that anything one posts is accurate and relevant and on the second anything goes once it’s not (too) rude or offensive. A method of differentiating one from the other would be useful IMO.

If it’s not broke why try to fix it?
I find SF just fine the way it is.