Fixing the quality of the devforum--Why post approval's philosophy of hiding moderation actively harms the devforum's quality

To keep Roblox accessible, the devforum most grow. I don’t believe that post approval is the way forward. In short, the devforum’s quality is broken because post approval is all about hiding bad content, not clearly communicating what good content is, and what bad content is. It really doesn’t scale. Users never learn what bad and good content is, all these see is a subset of posts. The devforum doesn’t need a content bar, it needs a cultural expectation of how users should post, and it needs to leverage the existing tools to do this.

Please read the article here:

Several notes about this post

  • Although I’m a member of the post approval team, I’m posting this as a user of the forum. This post does not represent the official views of Roblox.
  • This post may devolve in the same way that other posts do, UNLESS active moderation takes place in setting the tone and culture. The goal of this post is to see a significant structual change in how the devforum approaches moderation, but I also ask that you act responsibily and keep the topic on subject.
  • To be clear, I really respect and love the post approval team. They spend, on some weeks, upwards of 10–20 hours approving posts for people without being paid. Without their dedication, the forum wouldn’t function at all at its current state. With these proposed changes, hopefully this team can spend more time facilitating discussion with the community and less time in specific approval.
  • Here’s the current statement from the community sages before this gets heated

Hey everyone, I wanted to point out that everyone on the post approval team generally agrees that PA is not scalable, and we’ve already been working on removing post approval restrictions over the past year and scaling down the workload where we can. For example, Cool Creations and Discussion no longer have post approval. Ultimately we want to limit post approval to just the Platform Feedback category in. What Quenty is pointing out above is something we mostly already know and are working towards. I wouldn’t expect post approval to still work the way it does right now in 6mo/1year+ from now.


Honestly the biggest takeaway I had from this article was the sheer amount of non-development threads in #discussion. They definitely should have been categorized into #lounge:roblox-discussion. As for making moderation actions/feedback more visible to other users… all the yes.


Post approval has a history of not denying things. Even if they’re questionable, if they’re at least readable and follow the rules, they get approved. I don’t think we need to show people what bad post or topics look like, especially in Platform Feedback – which is where the vast majority of post approval requests come from. The rules are more than clear about what should and shouldn’t be posted – if people don’t read the rules, that’s on them, and if they don’t understand the rules, they should ask about them.

I’m trying to imagine a situation where naming and shaming people for making bad posts is helpful in any way, and I’m failing. Whatever you might call it, that’s what [using] staff features like notification and pinned notes at the top so both that user and all other users see bad behavior is: it’s naming and shaming people for mistakes. It’s the equivalent to putting “[Content Deleted]” or “Post hidden due to community flags” under someone’s name.

With regards to utilizing trust levels, post approval members actually get trust level 3, which includes the ability to re-categorize and rename posts. This mostly happens in the support categories at the moment, since that’s where it comes up most often, but there’s no reason why we can’t move or retitle other posts. I’ve personally moved a few platform feedback threads to their correct categories. Changing the names of topics isn’t very transparent at the moment, but there’s nothing to be done about that right now – long-term, there are some plans to deal with this, but nothing at the moment.

One of the things I think you’re neglecting is that without post approval we would be relying entirely on trust levels. All of those posts from Members that are waiting to get approved for platform feedback? They’d be gone, because if it comes between a bunch of terrible bug reports and having less bug reports, the choice is obvious. No amount of moderation will change that people will make bad posts, and it’s better to just prevent it all together with a high-priority section like platform feedback.

You’re also neglecting the reality of Discourse’s moderation tools. Being able to see Personally Identifiable Information comes with the role, and as a result it’s simply unacceptable for a platform like Roblox to allow community members to get involved, no matter how trusted they are.

I do agree that the existing forum moderation needs to be more heavy handed, and it would be lovely to have more community moderation. Getting more TL3 and TL4 users would be a good start, as well as un-specializing TL3 (it being named Post Approval would make it a bit wacky to have non-PA members in).

I also agree that post approval isn’t scalable, though I don’t think anyone thinks it is. That’s something that needs work. Ideally we’d end up with #platform-feedback being the only PA category, and have people who made good bug reports/feature requests get promoted to TL2 quickly.

Also there are some problems with the medium post that you may want to fix

Despite you saying that the discussion forum is locked to “regular” users , that’s not actually quite true. Members are still allowed to make replies to discussion threads, they just can no longer make threads.

The sentence Heavily discourse bad replies using a flag! doesn’t make any sense. I assume you meant ‘discourage’.

There’s also only 5 community sages, not “about 10” like you said.

The link that’s titled “Posts by DevForum members should never be rephrased by DevForum moderators without permission” links to this post. It should link to the correct thread.


Quality starts with the Post Approval team. With only 25 people checking posts made by hundreds if not thousands of people daily, it’s hard to keep a bunch of volunteers from making mistakes. From my experience with the post approval and hearing people talk about you guys, honestly I do feel like there’s a lot of improvement to do. I feel like fixing your basic communication with both members and regulars would be a good start. While you may not be working with posts from regulars regularly, I noticed that sometimes the PA edits our posts too. This happened to me a few times and out of (maybe) 4-6 times it happened, only once I was actually notified that there was a change. I don’t say that you guys have to demote everyone but it would be nice to know that you guys are helping us too. When it comes to members I know some people who’ve had complained about the vagueness of some responses from you and even went as far as ask for detailed feedback outside of the Forum. I do understand that you guys are volunteers and have other stuff at hand but I think that if someone’s asking someone else to essentially do your work, then you guys pretty much failed.


Improving anything starts with speaking up and making sure your voice is heard. @Quenty deserves a big thank you for consistently fostering and spreading the idea that our voices should be heard, and that even the small voices matter. It’s ideas like this – ones intended to help us improve as a community – that encourage that idea, so I’ll do my part and provide my two cents.

As a forum member, I frequently see low-quality posts made by other Members like myself. I’ve often wondered how that problem could be solved, and I agree: the issue here is culture. In many small groups/cliques in life, one can find that there are “unwritten rules” that must be followed. These “rules” help guide discussion and discourse, while preventing wanton discord (that sentence was quite fun to write :joy:).

Adopting a similar methodology is key to ensuring the production and dissemination of quality content here. If Members don’t understand that some things just aren’t done because they’re bad practice, much like with scripting or building, they will continue doing those things.

I recently got a PM from a member of the Developer Engagement Team, explaining succinctly why a post I made was flagged, and what I could do to improve it. This made my day, because I was not simply told I had made a mistake and to fix it, but it helped me learn about my mistake and grow as a member. It’s the little things that count – they make a big impact.

Empowering the forum community to inform fellow members about rule violations or general post etiquette is equally as important as providing unwritten rules. I believe Regulars do typically, given their more lengthy experience on the forum, have a fundamental understanding of the rules, both written and unwritten, and can thus leverage that knowledge to help less experienced members assimilate. I recognize that a potential problem with this is Regulars providing incorrect feedback or information. However, I believe with the numerous Regulars that can also correct and educate each other, this is a risk worth taking.

Thank you again to Quenty for another searing, thoughtful insight into how this forum could be approved, from a credentialed developer who actually takes the time to explain – a welcome retreat from what I see frequently.


Firstly, thanks you for posting. It’s great to see self-reflection and pushing higher standards, it’s lovely to see that and read. For me, I find that I do agree with what you’re saying and I try to personally help by being more clearly publicly on threads where I think moderation should step in a bit more.

The hardest thing moving forward is bringing people back who may have better value than we expect, even if they don’t get the rules so well (I think of BSlick and Asimo as examples); I’ve hoped to try and change culture more directly with DevRel in a private meeting with them, some of that has come to existence but there is much to do.

Maybe PA is part of it, but there just feels like this ethos, standard, behaviour, something which taints the response, maybe it could be stupidity of those who don’t know better; whatever it is, there should be some movement to create a higher standard and that standard to trickle down why giving free will to make choices.

Maybe the introduction of a specific category for Roblox policy or other similar idea may work but ultimately I want to an ethos across the entire forums for whenever change is what you want known, simply.

As an entire thread, you need to:

  • Make your points clear and not duplicate others
  • Be decent and make it logical
  • Know when to shut up and change how you respond
  • Be readable and respectful

If the thread requires anything not immediately seen by people on the forums (not DevRel and Roblox engineers [if in Platform Feedback ONLY], there are a more wider concept people need to consider with their post

  • You need to take your idea, be able to give it to DevRel to forward, to whomever it needs to go to; for them to respond however they do, for DevRel to come back to show to you.

If you fail to get across that entire track, you don’t see any messages giving any feedback back, if that’s your fault or not.

Where PA comes into this overarching concept of feedback, that can be a point of discussion but that’s ultimately how I feel things like that should go.


Discussion as a category also needs a change. I want discussion to just be about making things — not about Roblox policy. There are other feedback channels that can be used. Please, move posts about Roblox policies, moderation, or the devforum into a separate forum away from development discussion . Sub-category won’t work, we’ll still see them, so it needs to go into another category like the “Lounge” or “Platform feedback.”

Done. I moved the red-highlighted topics to Lounge and the orange-highlighted ones to Game Design Support and Forum Feedback respectively.

I would also like to see the discussion description change from “For discussing all topics related to development and creation on the Roblox platform” to “For discussing the art of making things on Roblox.” to clarify we don’t want discussion about moderation and other “all topics”.

And done.

Thanks for the other feedback, we’ll have DevRel read over it too


I’ve never realized this, but now that I think about it, it does make sense. I completely agree with you.

The article states:

Sub-category won’t work, we’ll still see them, so it needs to go into another category like the “Lounge” or “Platform feedback.”

However, I believe that this is the dilemma around the #discussion category. After my topic (that was highlighted in red in the article) was moved from #discussion to #help-and-feedback:game-design-support, I wrote this to one of the sages (@buildthomas):

I get what you’re trying to say, but my point of discussion was really to see what other developers think of the safety of drawing games. I specifically am not asking “Are Drawing Games Allowed” but rather “Should Drawing Games Be Allowed”. Hence, I don’t think it fits in #help-and-feedback:game-design-support. I feel like the #discussion category should broaden up or have another counterpart reserved for discussing Roblox policies and what other developers think about it .
Ever since it got renamed from “Development Discussion” to just “Discussion”, I think that that’s why many users are incorrectly posting there. Also if you think about it, putting a discussion-intended topic in #lounge:roblox-discussion, then it’s way too exclusive to regulars and the same discussion that would happen outside won’t happen. The discussion would be “dead”; [the lounge is a hostile place for a large discussion]. In addition, the category descriptions can very extremely vague sometimes.
I don’t know, but I am noticing that many people have a dilemma around this category. There should be a change to it.

I changed a little bit of wording and added a snippet to the sentence with [], but it’s mostly unchanged. My stance on the discussion category is that there should definitely be a change to it.

  1. Either broaden it up so that it’s all discussion about Roblox development, policies, games, genres, etc. Things that would fit better in the lounge include random other things like myths, personal stories, etc.
  2. Or, a more viable solution is to have a counterpart to the discussion category that would specifically foster policy discussion (and more counterparts for other topics). As an alternative, although @Quenty did mention that such topics in subcategories would still show up in his feed, subcategories can also work since a discussion is a very large field. It can be about anything, hence, there shouldn’t just be one type of discussion. But having subcategories doesn’t mean that they will definitely show up in the latest and there’s nothing you can do about it; you can mute entire categories, not to mention subcategories as well:

So, I’m a bit perplexed to the statement in the article that I quoted at the beginning.

That’s my viewpoint on this topic.
Thank you.


I feel like one of the issues was 3/5 of the posts highlighted in your first section were made by Members and not Regulars, therefore they cannot access Lounge. A simple fix would make Members be able to see Lounge exists but block them from viewing the category, such as when you click on it it just says it’s hidden - OR make the posts in the category public but block them from making posts/replies. I’m not sure how the Discourse software works or if a system like this is possible. Members don’t know if they’re posting in the wrong category if all of the proper categories are hidden from them.

Even adding it to the About the Discussion category post saying “Other threads relating to the discussion of polices, etc should be posted in the Lounge instead.” (or something along those lines) would probably clarify to a lot of users that #discussion isn’t the proper place for general discussion but specific development discussion that doesn’t fit the other categories and that there’s other places for general discussion.

In general, I agree users who help with the forums (PA, moderators, etc) should be more transparent, but I don’t know if making it public by pinning a message to the top would be the best option for this. As Dekkonot stated, it makes users feel shamed. I know if my mistakes were pinned to the top of my threads, I’d feel embarrassed. Making users feel embarrassed should not be a way to improve the quality of posts being made.

I actually had no idea moderators / PAs would message you to fix your mistakes. So far when things get flagged, I get told my post was removed by community flags followed up with (typically) a one word reason for why. (They will give you a general response on why it would be removed, but typically the reasons given do not apply to my post.) It’s only left me confused on what I could’ve done to improve the quality of my response but I’d never really know. A lot of the times I’ve re-read the rules and I can assume what I did was breaking the rules out of the rules given to me, so it’s good they encourage users to re-read the rules with the flag message to look over things they might not cover in the flag message.

I’ve gotten a LOT of help from regulars more than anyone else. They taught me a lot about posting etiquette more than any staff / PA user. I think PMing users is a good system already. I haven’t been able to experience this part of the forums moderation but I think it’s something that could be improved on rather than removed.

I think open communication is definitely an easy way to improve posts - but I wonder if it would make things harder for the PA team? Correct me if I’m wrong, but rather than reviewing posts and denying/accepting them, they would have to spend the time to write out responses to a lot of posts that are incorrect which would require a lot more time. (Unless they copy and paste their responses.)

I have zero clue how the PA team works (so I don’t know if it would take longer for them to do this or not) but I think having an understanding of how the system works to users like me who don’t understand the process will make topics like this easier to discuss. It’s easier for me to give feedback if I have no idea how the system or the process works. I think that’s why it’s great a PA made this post instead, as they understand how the process works a lot better. So I can only assume counting a PA user suggested it, it wouldn’t take much of their time - but again, I don’t know.

(Edit: Made edits to the last paragraph.)

So basically leave as it is now?

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No, I mean have it where users can view it on the front page but when you click on it it leads to the “This page is private.”

Edit: @sjr04 's suggestion could also work, as I noticed a lot of Members get their posts moved to private parts of the forums. I thought they could always view their own thread so that’s new information to me.

I think what WhiteCamera means is that they should be able to see the lounge but only their post. I actually asked in the Community_Sage group about this, since I saw a post there that was by a Member, because it was moved from discussion to there. Now the OP cannot see their own post.


This is unfortunately not possible without basically rewriting a major part of Discourse. This won’t happen because the benefits do not weigh up against the implementation effort and they would need to maintain it forever too as a separate fork which is really painful.


I realized so, but I was just trying to clarify what I thought the post meant. Also since it is in lounge there is potential for leaking which I see is not desired

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I don’t agree with making public notices about bad posts, but discourse offers tools such as the one that leaves a staff reminder in the topic, that is anonymous and doesn’t require shaming someone. Additionally, if a post is taken down, and PA helps improve it, maybe there could be a category or something like that, so if a user agreed that their post that got taken down, and then improved with PA can be shown in that category, other people can learn, and this wouldn’t be shaming and it could help a lot of people when about to post. And of course, posts don’t need to be deleted, they can just be unlisted.

I would keep post approval but, it just needs some big improvements. It’s like how the way of getting TL1 an TL2 didn’t use to be automated but, due to the growth of the devforum, automation was required. Post approval, with a team of only 25, is not fit for a forum of this size. We should have more member’s on PA, maybe inviting people who are close to top contributor, or have shown they know what sort of posts need to be taken down. Additionally, removing post approval on more categories will be beneficial for categories such as the bug report categories. But feature requests, in my opinion, should keep PA, otherwise you would probably have a lot of unhelpful feature requests.

And, removing PA would mean more posts that need to be deleted/ unlisted or such, so maybe increase the abilities that come with TL3, making them able to read flags and stuff.


As much as this is a good idea, unfortunately PA has their hands full with other stuff.

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The post approval team and the community sages don’t deal with forum moderation as that falls under the DevEngagementTeam. Just flag any post you come across that you think needs moderating and leave it up to the DET to sort it out rather than increasing the workload for the community sages and the post approval team which are all volunteers.

AFAIK increasing the permissions for TL3(Post Approval Team) to see flags won’t be feasible because from my knowledge it would require some major modifications to some core Discourse features. I don’t think something like this is possible with plugins either.

Currently the only categories that have post approval on are the #platform-feedback categories: