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In front and behind an Abuse report

This time I will try to explain and show you what happens when you click this Report Abuse hyperlink…after you found it

Where to find it?

This Report Abuse hyperlink is rather lively and not always found at the same place.

To report an abuse for a question you have search for it in the Action box on the right to the question:


In case of a reply you can find in the south left of the Like.


While it just jumps to the right if you look at a comment to a blog:


And Hokuspokus, it vanishes completely if you look at a discussion or reply of yourself, because a self-abuse is not permitted:


What does an Abuse reporter see?

Bad content probably, why else should he search for the hyperlink.

Approach this hyperlink carefully, but don’t be chickenhearted, it does not bite and will not run away.

After you gathered all your courage and hit it with the mouse then a pop-up will appear and ask you a magic question:


What is the primary reason you are reporting this message as abusive?

The good news is that you can think about it forever, there is no countdown urging you to answer.

Even it is possible to only select from the drop down list and continue with submitting it by clicking the button Report Abuse (do you see it? it is again hidden here behind the drop down list), it is appreciated to a have a short (max 255 characters) written reason. E.g. a link to the original in case of copyright infringement, a link to the second discussion in case of Cross posting.

In case you lost all your courage now, you can leave by clicking the Cancel button.

What does the moderator see?

This is actually different from moderator to moderator.

As we are all humans I can imagine that there is one who just sees a “hell of work”

While others see the community engaging to keep their house clean.

Technically we see it like here in the example.


We see the chosen and the written reason, and can even dig into the original content.

We see who has reported the abuse against whom.

Further we have 3 options to get confused or confuse others.

Approve – means actually reject the Abuse report – approve the content

Reject –  means approve the Abuse report – hide the content

blank – means leave the Abuse report in the queue for another moderator 😛

What does the Abuser see?

You remember about this lively thing? Hidden, hidden.

The Abuser does not see that his content got reported abusive until the moderator took some action.

The Abuser does not see who has clicked the hyperlink, you are save.

If the report was rejected (the content approved) then he will not even know that there was a report at all.

If the report was approved – then he does not see his content anymore.

He will see an email that his content got rejected – sometimes even with a comment why.

I am sorry, but I do not have a screenshot. I remember that I approved  1 abuse report against my content, but I cannot find it.

What does the Abuse Reporter see?

This can I show you, here I have good experience.

You will see a small number next to Actions on top right of the forum. Click here, then go to Notifications tab:

In the example below you can see 2 approved abuse reports and 1 rejected. The first one has a reason added from the moderator.


A similar message is sent to your email account, here is then the abusive content included.

What else?

We do not have badges for serial abuser yet:

But this one is my proposal:


We don’t have any badges for the reporters yet:

What is your opinion about these?:


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  • What does an Abuse reporter see?

    Bad content probably, why else should he search for the hyperlink.

    I just love your style, Jürgen! 😀

    Nice explanation. I always wondered, what was going on after a report. It'd be nice, though, if you guys (the moderators, who approve or reject a report) would always write a short info to the reporter, why the abuse report was rejected. That would IMO help to learn in this field, too, what is allowed and what is actual abuse. 🙂

    And of course, the Dirty Harry badge! What else could it be?

    "I hover over the "Report Abuse"-link. So tell me... are you feeling lucky, punk?!"

    • Actually I was kind of thinking instead of Dirty Harry maybe the Charles Bronson movies, Death Wish, Death Wish II thru V.

      Wouldn't we be considered more as vigilantes?


      • I had him in mind too, but then thought about the audience, and as many of them have an age that is just half of my employment time I came to the conclusion that they cannot know about him.

      • Fire Fighter wrote:


        Wouldn't we be considered more as vigilantes?

        I'd see us more as a neighborhood watch. ^^

          • And here we go again to the depth of how different genders think differently.  I certainly (as a humanist and ...yes, as a woman) would prefer a friendly neighborhood "watch" to a band of ruffians because, as some definitions would have it, vigilantes take law enforcement into their own hands and avenge "violently and summarily".  Not to be confused with being vigilant and caring about the community.

            Are we to suppose ( for example, Steffi Warnecke and I ) that certain folks here are from Mars (the warlike planet, executing nature) in their approach, while others are from Venus (the planet of a more loving, educating nature)?   I like the idea of education rather than execution unless someone really seems unteachable.  And yes, I know, there have been a few of those individuals, but I see them as the exception, not the rule.

    • It's part of moderator guidelines to contact posters of rejected items and explain why. Sometimes it results in less than graceful responses 🙁 but most people take it in good heart, as just part of the education process.

      • That's the way I see it, too! I like to know, why something was rejected for future reference. 🙂

        This blog helped a lot in just knowing, that content, that is moved, will result in a "rejected abuse report" for me. So if the moderator would just include that "content moved to correct space" I know, that at least something productive came out of my report, instead of feeling, it was completly rejected and thus "wrong" on my side (I hope it comes across what I mean. oO).

        Knowing why reports are rejected helps build up confidence in what and when to report. 🙂

          • Matthew, we really appreciate all the work the moderators do. Surely not that many objects have the 'wrong space' reason. Typing 'content moved' takes only 2 seconds. Receiving an 'abuse rejected' email with no comment, wondering wtf, searching for the item reported, complaining on SCN "why was my abuse report rejected?", a nice moderator looking into the issue takes longer than that. 🙂

            Ideally though, there should be better tools for the moderators on SCN. I believe there was a suggestion made long time ago to add a dropdown with a list of most common explanations/reasons, so that the moderators don't have to type it every time. Not sure what happened to that...

            Thank you!

          • The tools is part of the problem.

            The process I go through is

            1. Read the post

            2. Evaluate

            3. Decide what to do

            4. Action

            Sometimes that's a 2 second job. Sometimes it takes a few minutes. We also have pre-approval posts to check. By the time I'm checking the fiftieth post, I've already been working through for half an hour. When you've got a queue of that level, there's some pressure to clear it as quickly as possible, otherwise you get duplicate posts, or you get complaints that posts aren't being approved, or it becomes too late to sensibly take action on a reported post.

            On other forums (which I don't moderate), I just hit the abuse button and then forget about it. I don't care if my report is actioned or not.

            However, now I know that other people do care  - I'll endeavour to be more transparent. 🙂

          • Matthew, thank you for a response - it's great to know more about all the work moderators do "behind the scenes". I forgot about the pre-moderation completely!

            Since I was one of those suggesting to have a feedback from the abuse reports, I should clarify that this is a feature in many other forums. But in those forums it's an option that the reporter may select (it's a checkbox that is not selected by default). I would be curious to know about a solution on some reports, only so that I could learn and act accordingly in future. Getting a feedback for every single abuse report might actually be an overkill for both the moderators and reporters. (And, unfortunately, causes some confusion, as we observed.)

  • Nice blog, Jürgen, very useful!

    Since the option 'Wrong space' was added not long ago, it seems that there should also be the 3rd action option for the moderators to move the content. Otherwise it's very confusing to the reporters when they get 'report rejected' message yet the moderators have to reject because the content doesn't need to be hidden, just moved. Maybe someone could put it on the Idea Place, er? 🙂

    • Your wish is our command (at least at the communication level).  Forwarding this request to Oxana Noa Zubarev and Scott Lawley although I am afraid that any major changes made to the moderation dashboard and abuse reporting will be somewhat difficult to negotiate and implement with the platform vendor.  But still, I've also thought that it would be great to have a "move" option beyond the choices of a reject and accept.

    • Hi Jelena,

      In this case moderators can use the personal note option (they know where is it 🙂 ) and leave a reason for the abuse report rejection to the reporter. If you have received this kind of email and personal note wasn't included then "Resolution is missing" will be displayed.



  • The abuse number 1 should be Cross Answer!

    There is people who insists in answering even more than one completed response was posted before.

    Interesting discussion Jurgen!

  • Thanks to all for the comments.

    The whole story is just meant to explain with a smile how the this serious thing of Abuse reporting works.

    The badges are just a final joke, I am not at all in a position make such recommendations. There is a team that just makes a wonderful job in defining missions and badges

    The automated messages from the small notes that can be entered by a moderator is  relatively new.  Even moderators need some time to get used to new developments and I am certain this feature will be used more frequently in future.

    And in case of  "wrong space" we have to reject the abuse report to be able to move the content to the right space. Please do not be disppointed in that case, accepting the abuse report would hide the content and we could not move it to the right space anymore. 

    • "And in case of  "wrong space" we have to reject the abuse report to be able to move the content to the right space. Please do not be disppointed in that case, accepting the abuse report would hide the content and we could not move it to the right space anymore."

      That's clear, but in the last month with the delay between writing and publishing the threads, often the new users write the same question 2 or 3 times before to understand that they have to wait, I click on abuse for "duplicate question" but sometimes were rejected, I think because sometimes the thread hasn't the same title but a similar one and also the content isn't identical so the moderator quickly decide there are 2 differents questions, or maybe because there are separate, because one receive one or more answers, and the moderator didn't found the other thread, or....

      That's why I've tried (without success) to re-abuse it giving also the second link and it was rejected again so a little comment maybe it would be helpful: to understand what have seen the moderator differently and why he rejected it.



      • Roberto, I always put a link to the other thread when reporting duplicates and so far I think none were rejected. The moderator may have to reject the abuse if there were comments on the post reported, so they might go and delete the other one.

        I do agree that "rejection" seems to be misleading sometimes. Just recently I reported "notablog", but abuse got rejected. However, when I tried to find the reported item, I got an error - clearly it was removed. So it seems an action was taken anyway. Can only guess that maybe there were multiple reports and only one could be accepted. Oh well, stuff doesn't work as expected on new SCN - what else is new? 🙂

        • Hi Jelena,

          I admit I'm lazy 😳 , but in the re-abuse I added the link and the result was the same, true it contained an answer but was the same also in the second thread because a recent user duplicate the answer instead of clicking the abuse button.

          It wasn't important, just diminuish the noise in the forum, so I stopped, but maybe an answer could be helpful to understand if I missed some things. 🙂

          • I always reject duplicate discussions. (i.e. approve the abuse report!). I wonder if some moderators are approving, then deleting?

            Plagiarism reports take longest to clear, as there is a different mechanism for that.

            Anyway - outstanding actions is now at 50+, so I'd better crack on! 🙂

  • wow... approve means reject and reject means approve... this function sure is a credit to SAP's overall usability...


    Anyway, Jürgen, thank you for this 'behind the scenes'-view, quite interesting; especially the fact that the mod apparently is able to add a comment why he approved/rejected reported content. I'll keep that in mind the next time one of my abuse-reports of "herpus derpus plz do t3h needy"-content is rejected without any notation -_-

    • Approve content means rejection of Abuse report.

      Reject content means approval of Abuse report.

      Thankfully the email notification has correct text depending on whether receiving party is Abuser or Abuse reporter.

      It reminds of a term mentioned in John Grisham's novels..Presumption of innocence.

      Content creator is considered non-abuser until proven otherwise.

  • Great blog, most people don't know they have the power to steer the quality of their favorite spaces... we should put this blog on a very visible place!


  • I like the Sherrif badge 🙂

    on a more serious note, apart from reporting abuse, I also sometimes want to report very good content to moderators, so that it can get highlighted, or moved into a more appropriate space.

    One way to do that, is by emailing them (if you have a mail address), messaging them (but only if they follow you, otherwise you can't) or poking them via social media (if you know who they are)

    That's a lot of if's. It would be easier if the "report abuse" was renamed to "alert moderator" with different options for good and bad content.

    Theoretically, the liking and rating should provide the highlighting, but it can't cater for good content, lost in the wrong category.

    another note:

    a while back, I submitted a report of which I wasn't entirely certain. I got a response that the abuse was rejected and that I maybe could leave a reply to the content with constructive criticism. Only, there was no link to the original content, and I couldn't find it back manually.

    Is there normally a link to the original content? and if not, can we have that?

    Nice to get a look behind the curtain though!

    • Hello Tom,

      what about the "Share"-option, you have on the right side of the discussions, blogs etc? It's under the "Follow"-link. There you can see every user, so you "just" need to know who is the moderator you what the content to show. 🙂

      You MUST even send a message with this, so that would be great for pointing out cool content to people you want it to notice.



          • The sharing limitation actually even has a larger impact.

            One of the goals of the new platform was to encourage sharing of good content (cc Laure Cetin ), but since we're only able to share with people who follow us, our reach is rather limited.

            (That's why I still email the links to my colleagues, which Laure doesn't like 😉 )

            (and if Jurgen doesn't like our off-topic he can report an abuse. Helps him get a badge too. And we can get an abuser badge as well 😛 )

        • Hi Tom,
          Wow, this is a humbling experience. Having SCN Team privileges I can do a lot of things on SCN. I know that there are restrictions to other users but I had no idea about the share being considered a direct message, and therefore only possible between people who follow each other.
          But if you want to share SCN content with colleagues, doesn't the share work when you enter their email addresses?

          As for your other comment, well 😉 it's not that I don't like... but if I can't track it 😉


    • Tom, what kind of content would you "highlight"? Would it be some "hot news" or rather an FAQ kind of material?

      There is a 'top liked content' list on the SCN home page, but it's only 5 items with no link to "see more". The same list is also on every space's overview page (only it's Top liked in the past month) but, again, just 5 items. In any case I'm not sure many people actually visit the Overview pages (I usually go directly to the forum page through a bookmark).

      I agree with you that there is a lot of potential, but right now not much functionality is available to highlight or recommend good content. E.g. I'd love to see a quick list of "what Tom liked in the past N months", but it's not an option right now, unless I somehow download SCN data and use HANA on Amazon Cloud for analysis. 🙂

    • @Tom today we have automatic notifications on actions taken for the abuse reports and they include a link to the original content 🙂

      Regarding the promotion, I believe there is an alert moderator idea in idea place so perhaps you could vote it up there... I agree that its nice to reach out to SCN mods to promote good content and not only let them know about the bad...

      @Jurgen, great post and glad to see the lively conversation is sparked!


  • What a great blog Juergen! You took the time to explain something that is not usually known by others. And you manage to describe a process like abuse report in a funny way. Kudos!
    Thanks for all the great suggestions about badges - which you are totally entitled to make! We've already thought about a Sherif badge, Dirty Harry is kind of cool as well. Now we need to be able to track abuse report activity, which we can't at the moment ;-(

    Thanks for educating us, especially with the recent changes in terms of notifications.


  • Steffi Warnecke, Tom Van Doorslaer , all:

    it is not offtopic in my opinion.

    We all learn a lot from each others comment here, and certainly keep it in mind going forward.

    And I like each comment here 1000 times more  than the obvious one-liners in some other blogs.

    I am confident this is the kind of comments that Laure Cetin  and her team had in mind when they developed their beginner missions.

    So we are making good progress and giving an example for the quality of comments

    I was long time pregnant with the idea to write this blog, certainly more than 3 months back I made the first screen shots and wrote down some catchwords. But I did not find a starting point. A day before posting it had actually a totally different style,

    more like an interview. But then I took one more screenshot and everything was just flowing.

    However, I still had some doubts after I clicked submit. Was it right to give this insight or did I walk over the edge .And the doubts even grow because the first day was pretty calm. And I was a kind of afraid that comments could develop into an unwanted direction.

    But I am really glad that your comments blasted my doubts away.

    Community! We are listing and hear what you say.

    • Hi Vinod, I've also reported this as a New SCN bug shortly after migration last year, but it was dismissed with a note that 255 characters should be sufficient (although my concern was mostly that the content was totally lost instead of showing an error message and allowing to correct it). I believe Jim Spath raised it again recently, but haven't seen any follow-up.

      Thanks for opening an idea to give this issue more visibility. If I find a link to my report, I'll add it in the comments.

  • I laughed ......and cried over this text:

    Further we have 3 options to get confused or confuse others.

    Approve - means actually reject the Abuse report - approve the content

    Reject -  means approve the Abuse report - hide the content

    blank - means leave the Abuse report in the queue for another moderator 😛

    I spoke to my colleagues this week and the good news is that Oxana Noa Zubarev and Gali Kling Schneider will work to at least improve the text associated with these messages.  IMHO You can't REJECT or APPROVE abuse but rather only reject or approve content .  That approach might simplify the understanding.

    Thanks for a really great (and entertaining) blog.

  • Nice work done by you Jürgen L and I really like the badg for serial abuser. This badg should come in serial abuser's profile automatically if lets say five or more of his posts are reported abuse. This is a nice idea 🙂

    Three actions on a reported abuse content i.e. Approve, Reject and Blank 😀 . Why they don't have written any text for blank like "Leave for other modrators"


  • Dear Jürgen,

    Thanks for sharing it which will help me to use it in a proper way.

    What I liked is your style and Humour.Really after I end my reading I can't stop myself to laugh after seeing the batches.