How to flag posts with personal information?


@andresrcs brought up a great question in a flag discussion. He saw that a user posted some personal information in a reply and wanted flag and hide it.

I've set-up some auto-flagging features that look out for personal information like emails, phone numbers, addresses, and ip addresses. We also have auto-flags that hope to hide private data from being posted. (Both of these have had mixed success.)

Obviously, there are many situations where people might want to share personal contact information. It makes sense for some conversations to move to email. People who offer training and consulting services should make it easy to connect with them directly. But when people post personal info to discussion threads, it becomes really hard for them to manage this information later.

For example, when people leave a discourse website and deleted their account, unless they delete all their old posts, their user is simply anonymized. If they posted personally identifying info in an old thread somewhere, that info is preserved until deleted.

Our policy on posting personal information

And so our general policy on personally identifying information is to not share that kind of information in reply threads. Folks should share that information only in direct-messages or on a profile page.

When you do see personal info in a reply that seems inappropriate, we ask you to flag it. A moderator will reach out to double check with the user they are okay with this, strongly encouraging them to not reveal that kind of information.

The full policy is here: Personally Identifiable & Protected Information Guide

How to flag persona info

@andresrcs noted that when you flag with a "Custom Message", the reply-post is still publicly visible. But in some cases, that information should really be hidden immediately. We're working on a custom flag for this, but for the time being if you really want to immediately hide a post, flag it "off topic". If you are a high enough trust level, that'll immediately hide the reply-post.