Yesterday I was contacted by @trostparadox to clarify how muting works in regards to tribes. He asked if I could answer in a post, I provided an answer privately but I will explain it here as well. I asked if it was ok if I could share his questions to which he agreed.
Tribes use the blockchain level muting feature to add some level of moderation to tribes.
If the issuing account for a H-E token mutes an account, that account no longer receives author or curation awards and that author's posts are 'hidden' via the tribe's front-end but remain fully visible on other front-ends (e.g. PeakD.com)?
First, muting is controlled by the muting account (if there is one) assigned by the tribe owner. You can see who this is by using Hive Engine Tools Tribe Config tool. Some tribes have not assigned a muting account and so that feature is not available.
To answer this question, muting will forfeit all rewards for an account upon payout. This is an important distinction as you can unmute an account prior to post payout and nothing would have changed. What muting does is signal to Scotbot to treat a user as if all posts and comments are decline rewards effectively ignoring the account when it comes time to payout a post. Muting technically does not remove rewards immediately but as a tribe owner muting is enough to effectively remove all pending rewards from an account without having to flag them as well.
Muting also prevents new content from being index into a tribe. This means the Scotbot engine that monitors the blockchain posts will not include posts from muted users into the tribe database that stores posts for each tribe. This is only when content is created, all previous content will still be indexed just hidden by the front end.
Let me take a moment to explain indexing a little better. Scotbot monitors the blockchain for all new posts and comments. If it sees a post uses a tag associated with a tribe, it will take that post and put it in database managed by Hive Engine team. It will do the same for any comment that belongs to a post in this database. If at this time it sees a post by a user who has been muted by the muting account, it will not enter this post into the database. When you visit a tribe website it will show posts stored in this centralized database and not what is on the Hive blockchain. This is an important distinction, tribes are similar to a word press site where the content is pulled from a database and not the blockchain. Scotbot sits in the background and handles what should be stored in this database.
How does this affect curation rewards for accounts that voted for one of that author's posts prior to the mute action? Do their curation rewards get wiped out the same way a DV would wipe them out?
Yes, the end result is the same as if the author declined rewards. No author rewards, no curation rewards to give.
If a 'moderator' for a Hive community mutes an account (at the community level), that account can no longer post using that community's Hive-Community tag (e.g. 'hive-150329')?
Technically they can still post using the tag, it just will not be visible in the tribe, but the post still exists otherwise.
Can they still use alternative tags (e.g. 'pob', 'proofofbrain')?
No one can restrict what tags a user can create posts with. What can be controlled is what tribe/community will index/show.
This mute action does nothing to the token-specific (i.e. H-E token) rewards for that tribe?
Community mutes only affect communities, it will not affect tribe rewards.
As you can see here, a mute in a community is a unique action and is not a standard blockchain mute.
How does this mute action affect the user's generic Hive posts? (mineopoly recently got muted from leovoter (I think) and his comments ended up being hidden on PeakD, until he convinced the muter to unmute him).
Ok, I think something else is happening here you may not be familiar with.
PeakD has a feature that you can honor mutes by the author of a post, immediately collapsing all comments by that author.
This feature means if I mute a user and you view one of my posts on PeakD, any comment by this author will be hidden by default.
You can still view the comment by clicking Display Comment. You can turn this feature off in the PeakD settings and is controlled by the viewer if they want this behavior not the author of posts.
I believe this is the behavior you may have been seeing.
I want to bring up one more thing in regards to muting, tribes have the ability to mute individual posts in addition to users. This functionality was recently added to the UI to make it easier to use.
This allows a tribe owner to instantly mute off topic posts without the use of flags and without muting the author. I use this a lot on STEMGeeks where someone posts something with one of our tags and it does not belong in STEMGeeks (typically Crypto price discussions) but the author did nothing wrong, it just doesn't belong.
Hopefully this helps clarify things, feel free to leave a comment if you want more details on anything.