June 3, 2021

[meta/modpost] Your feedback is requested – proposing personal support & tag changes!

Hi everyone! I’m tweedge, one of the new moderators (alongside u/Ghawblin – say hi!). We’ve received a bunch of feedback in the last [Sub Update](https://www.reddit.com/r/cybersecurity/comments/mj6pc6/sub_update/), and while there are a few minor plan changes we’ve made because of this (e.g. keeping Mentorship Monday as a weekly post, instead of monthly), we’ve not taken any major steps and have been mostly trying to keep up with the new posts this subreddit gets.

As you all (probably) know, personal support isn’t currently allowed on the subreddit, and keeping a lid on this takes up the vast majority of moderation time. This is both due to the new posts that get through, and manually approving posts that were caught by our slightly-overzealous AutoModerator configuration. While we’ve mitigated this by bringing on new moderators, there are still some posts that get through until we can contain them.

While many people are keen on helping out – and **thank you** to those that do – others are irritated that there are rule-breaking posts on what *should* be a professional community, and leave snarky or inappropriate responses. I totally understand this is frustrating, but this perpetuates a really strong negative perception of many technical communities being elitist/unhelpful/gatekeepers/assholes, and leads to very well-deserved notes like [this](https://www.reddit.com/r/Cybersecurity101/comments/nntyl0/someone_threatened_me_via_whatsapp/) user made after being redirected by more-helpful community members.

So, it’s time for mods to step up and make a change. We know that we *really* want to help people, and that there are a lot of people on this subreddit that choose to. But we also want to make sure that people who are on this subreddit for professional discussions aren’t impeded – not only that, we need to make sure that professionals on this subreddit don’t need to do *anything* to avoid unwanted discussions. Really, we’re sticklers for this: you shouldn’t need to take *any* action (even a simple one, like applying filters) to participate in a professionals-first subreddit.

So the first proposed change is: **personal support questions will be allowed, but** ***only*** **in a monthly personal support thread – this allows community members to choose whether or not to donate their time, and allows the community to do good for folks in need of assistance.**

One of the recurrent themes of the feedback we received in the Sub Update was that people wanted a stronger or enforced tagging system for posts – so they could choose to filter out news and only focus on research, or filter out career questions, etc. r/homelab requires posts to be flaired and it reportedly works fairly well – users receive a message if they are missing a flair, and if they don’t add one within a fixed period of time, their post is removed.

We weren’t really considering this on its own (since it’s a burden to set up and maintain), but if we tie this in to supporting personal support questions, we think this could be a big win for the community – if we require post flairs, we could write a bot where if someone uses a flair such as “Help!”, they could be redirected to the personal support thread (and their original post would be hidden). That will help us moderate, and make the subreddit more usable for community members that aren’t interested in answering support questions – less would get by the moderators, even though the subreddit “condones” help questions and may receive more traffic for those.

So, as above, the second proposed change is: **all future posts must have an accurate flair, and posts without a flair will be removed automatically.**

I’m happy to share proposed implementation details, or some nitpicks we might also need to root through (like changing some tags around, because some people will give their support question a “threat” tag, and that’s not really accurate), but that’s the overview of where our heads are at.

Please let us know any questions, comments, or concerns by replying – this is a proposal rather than a concrete change, so we’ll be really receptive to feedback, and if the preference of the community is “throw this all out!” – ok! We would do that – but we’d prefer if that started other conversations about changes that need to be made :)

Anyway, looking forward to your feedback. Thank you for reading!

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