Over at KarateForums.com, we have a simple post reporting system. As a logged in member, you click a button on a post and you can include an explanation of why you feel the post may be inappropriate.

We encourage members to report a post whenever they suspect one may need attention from a staff member. We don’t want them to feel like they should only report a post if they feel 100% sure it is a violation. We want them to report anything that seems fishy and allow us to make the determination. There is no repercussion for filing a report that doesn’t lead to action.

As we’ve built up a substantial collection of report data over several years, I thought it would be interesting to see what words pop up in reports most frequently, as that is an indicator of the things they report the most and that data can be used to improve.

I sent the data over to my friend Chrispian Burks who was kind enough to produce a list of all words used in all reports, ordered by popularity. Once I removed the common words, like “this” and words that could have multiple interpretations, I had a list of words likely targeted at specific violations.

For sanity, I excluded any words that were not used at least 3 times. There were also many references to “guidelines,” “violations” and similar words, which could have been used in either specific or general contexts. I decided to exclude those and focus on words where the meaning could be reliably interpreted. Let’s go over the top 10.

Spam, Ad, Spammer, Advertising, Advertisement, Advertisment, Spamming, #3, Commercial, Spambot, Advertisements, Advertizing

People will always find ways to spam. To get around tools aimed at cutting down on automated attempts, manual blocks and other staff-led efforts. It’s not #1 just because it is a popular type of violation, but because it is probably the type of violation that members are most readily able to identify. In general, online community members as a whole tend to be more sensitive to spam than any other type of inappropriate behavior.

Double, Duplicate, Triple, Double-Posted

When someone posts the same content more than once, that is also something that many members are sensitive to and readily able to spot. Often, it is an accident. Sometimes, it isn’t. People want to post their thread in multiple locations to get it in front of more members, but members generally don’t want that. Members will sometimes label something as a duplicate when it is cross posting (more on that in a moment).

#13, Inflammatory, Personal, Trolling, Disrespectful, Troll

When you see a number in this list, that is a reference to our guideline that deals with this particular type of violation. In this case, #13 in our user guidelines relates to disrespectful and inflammatory comments, as well as personal attacks. I like to see members reporting this because it means, in a majority of cases, that they aren’t responding to it.

Moved, Move

Members sometimes post something in a forum that isn’t the ideal choice. For example, posting a thread related to tae kwon do in our General Martial Arts forum instead of our Korean Martial Arts forum. Members who take particular arts like to see threads related to their art in the appropriate section, which makes it easier for them to follow.

Inappropriate, #7, Cuss, Vulgar, Obscenity, [Vulgar Term], Offensive, Insulting

We are a work and generally family friendly community and we maintain a consistent line as far as what is appropriate and inappropriate. Not everyone likes this, but the members who do are the members who gravitate toward us. I suspect this would be higher on the list if not for Censor Block, which has drastically cut down our need to moderate profanity.


I would interpret the use of this word in reports to be due to a member who has made a mistake and is now reporting it to us to clean it up. This is why it is good to allow members to report their own posts.

#1, Cross

And here’s cross posting. As I mentioned above, some members will just label this as a duplicate or double post. For me, the difference is in whether or not the post is in the same section or not. If you have 2 posts in the same section, 1 is a duplicate. If you have the same post in 2 different sections, 1 has been cross posted. I don’t quibble over that sort of unimportant thing with members, but I did want to include it here since some members did, in fact, point out cross posting specifically.


We have guidelines that relate to member signatures and sometimes members will report those. A usage of the word signature could also mean that, in the report, a member is pointing to the signature of another member to illustrate they are spamming, because they are mentioning a link in their post that is in their signature.

#6 (Non-English Content)

We are an English speaking community and we require that conversations be posted in English. Obviously there are words and terminology, especially within a martial arts community, that are important to the discussion that must be used. And that’s fine. But as far as general conversation outside of that, we ask that it is in English so that it can be appreciated by our members and monitored.

#12 (Hotlinking)

Without looking at the individual reports, I suspect it is staff members driving reports of this issue, since most members would never notice or care. Then again, there are some technically driven members who may take the time to notice. We have a policy of no hotlinking and we actively remove posts where a member either embeds or links directly to an image file they don’t appear to have permission to link to in that manner.

I don’t know that I find this list to be terribly surprising, but it is fun to consider common issues and how we can tackle them. If you aren’t using your reported content data in this manner, I’d encourage you to do so.