Posts and Flags and Moderation, Oh My!

Continuing the discussion from Upcoming Change to Add Location:

Broken out as a new thread, in the Meta category, as it’s really off-topic for the original thread.

Not true. It says quite clearly:

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

This forum runs the Discourse engine, and is hosted by Discourse servers.

Community members (with sufficient privileges) have the ability to flag posts as “off-topic”, “spam”, “inappropriate” (ie violating the guidelines,) or administrative action required (with reason / comment.)

So the idea is that the community itself polices the forum to a large extent, reducing the time that admins or moderators need to deal with many little things. So (according to certain admin threshold settings) a given number of certain types of flags by community members, result in posts being hidden, and transgressors being notified (so that for example they can modify the tone or naughty words etc. in the “flagged” post.)

The flagging button appears at the bottom of each thread, and below each individual post (but is often hidden beneath the ellipses, which when clicked displays a set of seldom used buttons.)

There is no evidence that any member(s) assigned flags improperly.
Just because I used an offhand conjecture does not mean it is true.

Besides, it is a subjective thing.

Who’s to say that any particular member’s opinion as to what is inappropriate is invalid ?
… or what they feel is flooding the thread with the same opinion over and over and over ?
… or what they think is a tone that is just a bit too nasty for a Memorial Day weekend ?
… or what they see as a business advertisement tacked onto the end of nearly every post ?
… or whatever
(Just guesses, but I’ve “heard through the grapevine” that one of the above, was a reason for one of the flags.)

It is called “community standards”. It is not chiseled in stone. The standard can change depending upon who is reading the thread.

This is by design, otherwise there might be retaliation, … or flame wars, … or threats, etc.
Discourse is designed to help prevent this.

Secondly, it usually requires more than one flag by members to trigger the system into collapsing the post.

And then, please realize that the post can still be viewed, if a reader clicks on the “View hidden content.” link below the “This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.” message.


that’s not how a community forum works, I can have my say and be Flagged if other members deem my reply inappropriate…

I flagged you in an effort to ‘stay out of the discussion’ as I did not wish to further divert the topic…

BTW: The changes do affect me…


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The mere fact that you, or anyone else, deems something to be “inappropriate” does not make it inappropriate. There are objective measures that can be applied to make that determination. For example, did someone use foul language? Did someone make a personal attack on another person’s character or motive? Did someone make a false accusation about another person?

On the other hand, pointing out that Trimble has breached its contract with some of its users is not inappropriate if in fact Trimble has breached its contract with those users. As I have pointed out the specific conduct on Trimble’s part that constitutes such a breach of contract, and that specific conduct is in fact admitted by Trimble, my remarks are not inappropriate. More specifically, it simply cannot be denied that many SketchUp users paid what was described as a one time charge for the right to use Sketchup. They did so when SketchUp included high quality usable imagery. After accepting their customer’s money, Trimble changed the Add Location feature from one that delivered high quality, usable imagery to one that delivered low quality, unusable imagery. It is completely appropriate to point that out to members of the forum. And it is completely appropriate to demand that Trimble remedy the situation by entering into an agreement with Google, or some other provider, of imagery that is of the quality reasonably expected by the people who bought a license to use it.

Frank McIntyre

In @john_drivenupthewall’s defense, he was only one of a half dozen forum users who have flagged one or more of your posts as being inappropriate. By forum design, if any post is deemed inappropriate by enough members, it is hidden. This way, the forum as a whole gets to decide what is appropriate.



Can you identify the specific post and the words in the post that were deemed “inappropriate”. I will be happy to take a second look at what I have written and correct anything that could be deemed inappropriate by some objective standard. And in the alternative I will be happy to explain why I don’t consider something I have written to be inappropriate. So far all I have seen is the wholesale flagging of posts that point out inappropriate behavior on Trimble’s part.

Frank McIntyre

Unfortunately, I can’t. The way that Discourse (our forum provider) works is to allow any forum member the opportunity to flag any post as being inappropriate, without needing to specify why or what part of the post is inappropriate. If three users flag the same post as inappropriate, it is removed.

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I wouldn’t agree. Language differ between age groups, cultural groups etc. Even though most people can somewhat agree on what is foul language it is still in my view subjective and depends on context.

To quote your introduction in the topic:

Some people might say pissed is a bad word but to me it’s not. However I consider writing in caps very rude. It comes off as shouting loudly into the face of however reads it. It also decreases readability for people with bad eye sight or dyslexia. You probably don’t think it’s that bad to write in all caps (if you did I don’t think you’d do it) which proves how subjective this is. Saying someone should get fired could definitely be called a personal attack.

Again, I haven’t myself flagged the posts so I don’t know why they were flagged, just bringing up possible explanations.


I would agree that post was borderline in that I used all caps. Yes, it is shouting. But I think the shouting was justified under the circumstances. In the first place,Trimble’s act of degrading their product to the point of being unusable for the key purpose many people have paid for is outrageous conduct that deserves to be called out in no uncertain terms. But what really angers me is Trimble falsely blaming the problem on Google. Google sells their imagery. Trimble has told me, and this user community, the data is not available. That is false. The data is available to Trimble if they are willing to pay for it. And the price isn’t even that high. But Trimble has made a business decision to not pay that price to save a few pennies. So yes, I was provoked into shouting.

Frank McIntyre

I can, here is one I just flagged for flamming (ie, not contributing positively to the discussion and only serving to exacerbate bad feelings toward Trimble in an inflammatory manner.):

… which was pointing at several of the posts by projectmanager that were hidden (not by Trimble,) but by the community members (including myself as I flagged all his posts except the first,) for flooding the thread.

Flooding is against the rules in any online forum.

We discussed flooding (and this particular case) in the following Meta topic thread:

I (myself and others) had no problem allowing him to make his initial statement (although I did disagree with part of what he said in a later post.) Others let his 2nd repetitive post squeak by. But all his posts after that, were just too much and obvious flooding.

The rules of decorum are not suspended just because participants in the discussion are angry.

After making my first post on this subject my subsequent posts were replies to comments made about it. At this point I have lost track just how many there have been and it is possible that my replies were not properly connected to the comment or reply the various people from Trimble made to them. I have not gratuitously flooded the discussion thread.

I did not say you did, I said projectmanager did, which was why his posts were hidden, not because of the content as your inflammatory post said.

Most of them are fine (in this respect) as you clicked the reply button for specific posts by other people. This is shown in your posts, and readers can even click the “replied to” avatar to jump back up to that specific post that you replied to.

Occasionally you just replied to the previous post, so no harm there.

Once however, you actually replied to yourself, which might not make much sense to new users, but you were actually pointing at one of your posts that was hidden. So it does make sense, in that you were speaking of what the “replied to” was pointing at.

It all looks like this is not a problem. Ie, it looks like it is clear who you are replying to, when you are replying.
Sometimes you had just made posts that were to the general audience, and this is fine as well.

You might learn to leverage the hilighted quote reply. (Instructions are given in the Welcome to SketchUp Community thread, Replying section.)

You repeatedly make mention of not knowing how to use Discourse forums well yet, or being new here.

Each new user receives a private message from the system on how to do the basics. It should still be in your PMs. (Access via the envelope icon on your avatar menu, top right of screen.) Here is a tip topic that gives a link:

Checking your badges,

it shows that you have not received the “Read Guidelines” badge as yet.

(I find this ironic that an attorney would not have read the rules.) :wink:


Appreciate the clarification. And having been on this bulletin board for a few days I think I have figured out how to reply to specific posts, or replies to posts, by others.


It only reaffirms that you still don’t “get” how things work here in a Discourse forum.

I explained why the post you reference was flagged by me (ie flamming) in the post above:

Secondly, I am now flagging that response for 2 reasons:

(1) It continues to be inflammatory and make FALSE accusations against Trimble, Inc. (They are not hiding your posts. Readers are flagging them, and the Discourse forum engine is collapsing them. But they can still be read, if readers desire by clicking the “View hidden content” link.)

(2) It is off-topic for the “Add Location” thread (which is why I created THIS thread in the Meta category,) for us to discuss flagging to everyone’s heart’s content.
Basically you’re creating “poor lil’ ol’ me” posts that do not have anything to do with the thread’s topic.

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As to your first point, since the Discourse mechanism does not allow me to see who flagged the post I may have incorrectly assumed it was someone from Trimble. And since, as you point out, it takes three flags to hide a post I have no reason to doubt that one or more of the flags came from a Trimble employee.

As to your second point, all of my posts have been squarely on the topic of the Add Location feature. I have consistently pointed out in every post how the degradation in the feature is the result of Trimble’s business decision to switch to a lower quality source of the geo location imagery. I have consistently pointed out that the remedy for the problem is completely under Trimble’s control. And I have consistently pointed out that anyone who paid for Trimble’s services and has been damaged by Trimble’s decision to degrade it have a cause of action against Trimble. It would benefit everyone affected if some of those people took legal action against Trimble if Trimble does not voluntarily fix the problem by going back to Google, or some other provider of high quality imagery.

[quote=“FrankMcIntyre1951, post:8, topic:45697”]
But what really angers me is Trimble falsely blaming the problem on Google. Google sells their imagery. Trimble has told me, and this user community, the data is not available. That is false. The data is available to Trimble if they are willing to pay for it.[/quote]

Frank - you’re a lawyer, right? As a lawyer, isn’t doing your research and getting your facts straight before asserting your argument — especially one that impugns the motives of one of the parties — a basic requirement of good lawyering?

Your argument fails to make the critical distinction by incorrectly interpreting the implications for SU of the IP Restrictions Clauses of the API Terms of Service as explained by Bryce in this post:

Google’s terms of service narrowly define how their geo apis can be used. Everyone needs to understand that Google’s APIs DISPLAY data. Google does not give away their data for modification which is what the Add Location feature requires.

SketchUp’s Add Location requires that the imagery and other data be imported into and stored inside the skp file. Geo modeling requires that people have the right to make derivative works from that imagery. All of these actions are expressly prohibited Google Maps API Terms of service1. see section 10.5 Intellectual Property.

So yes, the imagery is available for a price to outside parties, but the data is no longer available in the way that SU requires to enable the Add Location function.

Perhaps one of the reasons then for your hidden posts, is not only your overly-aggressive tone (SHOUTING), … but more importantly, that you got your basic facts wrong, then used that as a basis for essentially a ‘bad-faith’ claim against Trimble. That can tend to upset people, (in this case, the other community members who hid your comments — not Trimble employees, as you incorrectly asserted)

I do have sympathy for people whose livelihood has been negatively affected by this change, and for the fact that the advance notice underplayed (or ignored) the degradation of functionality and quality that would attend the change. So I understand how upset people are.

And I appreciate Bryce’s active and frank participation in the discussion — even if I am also disappointed by the current state of things, and the opaqueness of Trimble decision-making vis-a-vis the SU development roadmap.

But shouting, asserting false facts, impugning intent and threatening legal action doesn’t seem to me to be an effective way to correct the situation.



You are completely correct that lawyers have a duty to research and assure their statements are true before they make them. Actually everyone has that duty. And in this case both Trimble and I have the duty to assure that statements we make about the source of the degradation problem is accurate.

So here is why I believe my statement that the source of the degradation problem is Trimble rather than Google. First, when I say Trimble, I mean people who appear to be employees of Trimble as I am under the impression Bryce is. Bryce’s original statement included the statement that “Google does not give away their data for modification.” By qualifying his subsequent statements with that statement Bryce rendered the entirety of his claim to be misleading. I assume he is correct that Google does not “give away” its data for modification. But I have researched Google’s terms and conditions for “selling” their data. Based on my research it appears that Trimble can buy the data and resell it to us under a license to do so granted by Google. I have asked Bryce and a couple of other Trimble employees to directly address this point on more than one occasion. They have so far failed to do so. Since they have had ample notice of my allegation that their statements regarding the availability of licensing are false and misleading, and they have not directly refuted the allegation, it is entirely reasonable for me to assume my allegations are true.


I am not a lawyer, but does Bryce’s original response not address that, directly?


I didn’t flag any of your posts and read all your hidden content.

However it bothers me that you mix valid arguments with others that do not seem so valid, use a tone that isn’t in my opinion fit and, in the end, your call to action looks like that it could be profitable to you as an attourney.

An opportunity? Or an act of altruism?

This makes me question what drives you but I haven’t flagged you once. In my opinion I don’t believe it helps, but you are free to make this kind of “Discourse”.

Overall your intervention did have the merit of bringing some further clarification from Trimble employees and openning this secondary post.



Let me first assure you that, although I was an attorney for many years, I have left the practice of law to focus on bringing renewable solar energy on line in western Colorado as rapidly as possible before we pollute ourselves off the planet or destroy the world in wars over the dwindling supplies of fossil fuels.

Having said that, my shrill tone in this discussion was kicked off by the sudden and unexpected loss of a functional SketchUp facility that was instrumental in both my design and presentation of roof top PV systems. My displeasure has been aggravated by what I believe to be false representations made by SketchUp employees to this forum to the effect that the degradation in geolocation imagery is all Google’s fault because Google will no longer allow SketchUp to buy Google’s image data. I have directly asked several people who appear to be SketchUp employees, including Jody, James, Bryce and Aarron to clearly, directly, and unambiguously answer the question of whether the unavailability of the Google imagery is due to Google’s unwillingness to sell it or SketchUp’s unwillingness to buy it. Jody, James, Bryce, and Aaron have refused to provide the clear, direct, and unambiguous answer I requested. In light of their refusal to answer I can only assume my assertion is true that the current unavailability of quality imagery is due to SketchUp’s business decision not to enter into an arrangement with Google to buy data that Google is willing to sell.

I have no intention of backing off this issue until the truth comes out. If it turns out that I am wrong I will apologize to everyone. If it turns out I am right then I hope to force SketchUp to restore the functionality to SketchUp that many of us need.

Thank you for taking the time to chip in your two cent.


Thanks for this clarification. The issue affects us all to different extents. You’ve been very active on defending a certain position, with right reason, but I wasn’t really sure on your intentions. They are clearer now and sound legitimate to me which is enough. The form you use doesn’t affect me much though it wouldn’t be my option.

Let me just state that I have, for a lot of reasons, a feeling towards Trimble and specifically the Sketchup team, that doesn’t fit at all with the way you see them regarding this question. Basically, I trust they are doing the best they can.