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.

  • 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? Apr 20, 2012 at 13:57
  • @BilltheLizard Feel free.
    – user142852
    Apr 20, 2012 at 13:58
  • @Bill the Lizard: I can, on meta :P Apr 20, 2012 at 13:58
  • Go for it (as long as you don't actually suspend me of course)
    – ChrisF Mod
    Apr 20, 2012 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. Apr 20, 2012 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. Apr 20, 2012 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. Apr 20, 2012 at 14:04
  • 7
    Wow I've had a busy day. First sock puppeting, then consistently low quality questions and answers!
    – user142852
    Apr 20, 2012 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). Apr 20, 2012 at 14:06
  • The "something else..." message does prompt you to fill those {todo} items in if you try to submit without replacing them. Apr 20, 2012 at 14:09
  • @Bill the Lizard: Oh, it does? Well, then. Post that as an answer? Or I'll delete this... Apr 20, 2012 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. ;) Apr 20, 2012 at 14:10
  • 2
    @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, 2012 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 2
    And here, Meta Police Force, is your daily dose of science. Have a great day. Apr 20, 2012 at 14:29
  • 7
    Windows XP Pro???
    – user1228
    Apr 20, 2012 at 17:32
  • @Won't It's a work machine. I was wondering how long it would take anyone to react to that. :) Apr 20, 2012 at 17:49
  • 1
    "Uh, boss, someone accidentally shot my machine with a destructive device. Can I have another?"
    – user1228
    Apr 20, 2012 at 18:23
  • @Won't You should see the machines that are piling up to be thrown out. Nobody will even steal them. Apr 20, 2012 at 18:25
  • 3
    It's been this way for a long long time. Good idea but long implemented already Apr 21, 2012 at 21:17
  • 3
    @Jeff Atwood: The dev team thinks of everything. Apr 21, 2012 at 21:28
  • 1
    @JeffAtwood Nice implementation on the first two that just fill in the known values for us instead of prompting for input. Apr 22, 2012 at 0:19

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