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When a moderator intends to contact a user about questionable behavior on a site, the moderator can choose from a set of message templates for addressing common behavior patterns.

Some of these templates contain {todo:} template tags that are meant to be, well, filled in. Currently, submitting a message with any of these template tags still in the message causes it to be sent anyway, with that template tag plainly visible both in the on-site message and in the email message, which can be quite embarrassing (for lack of a better word).

It would be cool if moderator messages could be validated for the presence of template tags and summarily rejected if any of them were found, in case a moderator neglected to fill in important information such as the duration of an account suspension.

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I know this used to work (not submit the form if there was still {todo:} text in the body) in some of the messages. Do I have any volunteers for some science? – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 13:57
    
@BilltheLizard Feel free. – user142852 Apr 20 '12 at 13:58
    
@Bill the Lizard: I can, on meta :P – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 20 '12 at 13:58
    
Go for it (as long as you don't actually suspend me of course) – ChrisF Apr 20 '12 at 14:01
    
I just suspended @Ninefingers for sockpuppet upvoting (here on Meta) and the form automatically filled in the {todo:suspend} days with 7 days. – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 14:01
    
@Bill the Lizard: Very interesting. We could use some validation for the rest of the template tags, though. I don't think all of them are auto-filled. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 20 '12 at 14:03
    
I got the same result with the "consistently low quality" message. It auto-filled the {todo:suspend} days with 30 days. I'm looking for others that have text to replace. – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 14:04
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Wow I've had a busy day. First sock puppeting, then consistently low quality questions and answers! – user142852 Apr 20 '12 at 14:06
    
@Bill the Lizard: Message/suspend me for "something else"? Almost the whole thing is template tags, and those aren't auto-filled (unless they wrote and hid an AI behind the scenes or something). – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 20 '12 at 14:06
    
The "something else..." message does prompt you to fill those {todo} items in if you try to submit without replacing them. – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 14:09
    
@Bill the Lizard: Oh, it does? Well, then. Post that as an answer? Or I'll delete this... – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 20 '12 at 14:10
    
@Ninefingers Thanks for volunteering to be the guinea pig. Now you seriously can't break any rules on Meta because the next suspension will be 365 days. ;) – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 14:10
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@Bill ok. But can you make it something more interesting like rule violations or to calm down next time please? If I'm gonna be a test troll, I want to look and act the part! ;) – user142852 Apr 20 '12 at 14:13
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I tried all three of the messages that have {todo} items embedded in the body here on Meta. Two of them automatically insert the suspension length for you in place of the {todo:suspend} placeholder, and the last one prompts you if it finds any {todo} placeholders when you try and submit the form.

This may be browser-specific, so I'll add that I'm on Firefox on Windows XP Pro.


I re-ran these tests on Stack Overflow (using Tim Post as a guinea pig this time), and I got the same results. The {todo} text is either auto-replaced or a prompt tells me that I forgot to fill one in.

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And here, Meta Police Force, is your daily dose of science. Have a great day. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 20 '12 at 14:29
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Windows XP Pro??? – Won't Apr 20 '12 at 17:32
    
@Won't It's a work machine. I was wondering how long it would take anyone to react to that. :) – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 17:49
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"Uh, boss, someone accidentally shot my machine with a destructive device. Can I have another?" – Won't Apr 20 '12 at 18:23
    
@Won't You should see the machines that are piling up to be thrown out. Nobody will even steal them. – Bill the Lizard Apr 20 '12 at 18:25
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It's been this way for a long long time. Good idea but long implemented already – Jeff Atwood Apr 21 '12 at 21:17
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@Jeff Atwood: The dev team thinks of everything. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 21 '12 at 21:28
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@JeffAtwood Nice implementation on the first two that just fill in the known values for us instead of prompting for input. – Bill the Lizard Apr 22 '12 at 0:19

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