You can now report content on Ghacks

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 24, 2018
Updated • Feb 24, 2018

I don't write a lot about things that go on behind the scenes here on Ghacks. We work on the site constantly to improve it and make tweaks to it, but most of those happen in the background and are not exposed to the user interface.

For some time now, I wanted to add a "report" option to posts on the site. Ghacks has nearly 20,000 articles published which landed on the site over the course of 13 years and it is clear that some of these require updating.

I also try to update at least five posts per day but I'd spend 4000 days updating all articles on the site or nearly 11 years not even counting the new articles that get published in that time.

I do update posts when I stumble upon them or when a user leaves a comment or sends an email to inform me about broken links or outdated posts. I estimate, however, that many users don't report posts because it is not overly comfortable to do so (using contact or commenting).

Report Content

Report Content is a new feature of Ghacks that you may use to report issues of particular posts. You can report broken links, request that a post is updated, or report other issues.

You find the new option under any post on this site. It is a yellow "report content" button that you may click on to display a form directly on the page.

Only the issue and details field are mandatory to fill out. Please be as precise as possible in the details fields as it helps me understand why a post needs updating.

For instance, if you noticed a broken link, list the link, to make it easier for me. Also, if you know of an alternative or new destination, post it as well. I will still verify this but it makes things a lot easier.

You can select the following issues currently:

  • Update Request -- A general update request, e.g. content is out of date. An example is a tutorial for Firefox 3 that does not work anymore.
  • Broken Links -- If the article contains one or multiple broken links, select this option to report them. If you have the correct link, post it as well.
  • Other -- Any other request that does not fall into the two other categories. Report content that overlaps to the sidebar, display issues, grammar or spelling errors, or anything else that caught your eye.

I run the plugin as a test to see how well it is received and how well it does on the site. I may pull it again if the response is low or if it causes server load or other issues on the server.

Without further ado: happy reporting.

Article Name
You can now report content on Ghacks
Report Content is a new feature of Ghacks that you may use to report issues of particular posts. You can report broken links, request that a post is updated, or report other issues.
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  1. Clairvaux said on February 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Great idea. Reminds me of some English-speaking news sites, usually from central Europe or Russia, where there is a widget to report a spelling error. Not that Ghacks needs that…

    Would agree with above suggestion that the Report Content wording might be somewhat misleading. Usually, when sites with user input offer a Report link, it’s meant to flag illegal, offensive or otherwise objectionable user content. Here, it’s meant to enhance the quality of the author’s output, which is completely different and so unusual, and welcome, that it ought to be advertised differently.

    Also, I think that people would tend to disregard a Report link in that usual sense, because reporting a commenter’s contribution is an aggressive move and would be considered as an extreme measure by most people. So it would be an extra reason not to try and understand what this new feature is really about.

  2. Paul said on February 25, 2018 at 11:20 am

    When will print layout finally be repaired resp. offered?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 25, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Still working on it. It is only broken in Firefox and select browsers which makes it difficult to find out why it is happening.

  3. gh said on February 25, 2018 at 6:06 am

    wish: For all articles which have never been updated since originally published (i.e. “by” date equals “Last Update”), suppress display of the “Last Update” element.

    suggest: replace “in ghacks” with something (anything) so that the “category” of the article is more obvious. Could be “General”, or “Misc”, or “News” ~~ just anything other than the current seemingly-reduntant (or “unscoped”) textlabel.

    suggest: mainpage sidebar, labled “Last Updated” ~~ retitle as “Recently Updated” (sounds more “dynamic”) and add a link titled “More” as a footer.
    related wish: Clicking “More” would lead to a paginated view of “articles in all categories, which have received at least one update, sorted by “date Last Updated, descending”.

    suggest: “20,000+ original articles…spanning 13yrs” could be made more prominent (add to boilerplate page footer “ABOUT GHACKS” blurb?)(add into the “We need your help” blurb?)


    Please consider changing “Report Content” to a “less severe sounding”, more welcoming, button text. Maybe it even begs a long-winded label along the lines of “Found a broken link, or a typo? Click here to let us know!”

    The formbox is another fine place to mention “ site contains 20,000 articles…spanning 13 years”. Again, toward positivity, consider what word might replace “Issue” selectbox label. The default selectbox “reason” should (IMO) be something other than “Request Update”, which sounds like the submitter is at risk ot being subscribed to yet-another-mailinglist. Similarly, yes there are asterisks, but “Your Email (optional)” would be less daunting.

    Among the selectable “reasons”, if broken links is the expected most-common usage, that (it) should be the default item. Please consider splitting/replacing the generic “Request update” with multiple, more granular items: “outdated info, begs updating” + “apparent omission” + “suggest an additional reference/citation” + “typographical error”, and…. “SPONSOR this article (ad placement)”.

    If the formbox layout cannot be juggled to handle the longer, more verbose, selectbox labeltext, fire the designer. If handling per-article ad sponsorship seems like a too labor-intensive chore, investigate protips usage of openX (opensource, self-hosted ad mgmt platform).

    Maybe form submission already leads to a page which states (or pops up an element) what the form submitter can expect. Still a statement in displayed within the form box, as footer text, could (IMO should) provide the submitter with an expectation of what will ensue. All submissions are read, but not replied unless requested by submitter? In cases of requested reply, what timeframe to expect?

  4. ShintoPlasm said on February 25, 2018 at 1:28 am

    It is probably a good time to acknowledge how, in my view, Ghacks is one of the best computing-related websites on the internet today. A rare combination of useful information, generalist coverage, and a vibrant community of commenters with personality. Excellent work, Martin & co, and here’s to the next 13 years and more.

  5. Paul(us) said on February 24, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Really great idea Martin another sign on the wall of the near sheer perfection of the website.
    Keep on coming up with really great ideas like this one and will not only stay on the top of the mountain but also find, a new level of greatness.
    This because the easy to read articles are making it easy to involve yourself because of the beauty – and meaning of the well chosen (well-written) words that are about a subject we love, who you want to become immortal.
    In any case, that is true in my particular case and I am quite sure that I am not the only one who think so. :-)

  6. Sebas said on February 24, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Great idea Martin. How about my proposal I sent to you by mail?:-)

  7. dmacleo said on February 24, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    grr forgot to click follow second post to follow

    1. gh said on February 25, 2018 at 4:54 am

      I’m not logged in. Clickable “follow” is apparently available only for logged-in users. Seems obvious, but led me to wonder: No “follow” button is displayed alongside any comment placed by a non-logged-in commenter, right?

      1. dmacleo said on February 25, 2018 at 3:24 pm

        i believe that is the case, but not 100% sure. I was logged in anyways just forgot to hit the button

  8. dmacleo said on February 24, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    cool deal. if needed I am willing to help out with fixing broken link stuff, etc.

  9. Panamapatrick said on February 24, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Hola Martin: Wonderful Idea!!!

  10. Tom Hawack said on February 24, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    “Ghacks has nearly 20,000 articles published […] over the course of 13 years”
    When you hit those 20,000, Martin, we’ll have a Magnum ready to party :=)

    Wow. Roughly 30 articles a week. How do you say in English, industrious, prolific?

    Quantity and quality coexist on Ghacks. Thirteen years already. I was “Transcontinental” then, jumped on the train perhaps before 2007, not sure. We were young, hansom but less wise!

    “Report Content” feature : acknowledged.

  11. BM said on February 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    “I also try to update at least five posts per day but I’d spend 4000 days updating all articles on the site or nearly 11 years”

    @Martin – That is a tremendous amount of time. Your “Report Content” button is a start.

    Would you consider having some members of your community here provide content updates for posts of your choosing, including ones that are flagged by the button?

    There are some great, and knowledgeable commenters here and they might help bridge that gap in time with a little review and editing by you.

    Just an idea.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 25, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      BM, I thought about this before and think that this is the only way going forward besides paying someone which this site cannot afford. I’m not entirely sure how to go about it though.

      1. ams said on February 26, 2018 at 9:15 am

        BuddyPress maybe? Tools certainly are available to provide a signoff workflow, revision control and side-by-side diffs, and hold the revised version for review by you (or someone you’ve added to “editor” usergroup) a leave the old version displayed until the revised version is approved.

      2. leanon said on February 25, 2018 at 3:41 pm

        Are just talking about crossing the I’s and doting the T’s right? Would require approval before published?

      3. BM said on February 26, 2018 at 6:54 am

        @leanon – partly true for the very backend of the process, but it is not as simple as that.

        It still takes significant time organizing up front, and in ensuring a quality end product for publishing (completeness of research / coverage, consistent editorial “voice”, etc.).

  12. Tony said on February 24, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Great idea Martin!

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