As a moderator, I had expected that deleting the post would validate the flag, and carry out the reputation penalty — just like deleting the post would dismiss other flags such as “not an answer” or “very low quality” as valid.
As it turns out¹, deleting the answer does not dismiss any pending spam/offensive flag. The flag is merely hidden (and reappears if the post is undeleted). To validate the spam/offensive flag, I need to cast one myself, instead of deleting the post.
I find this behavior surprising: I wouldn't have guessed that deleting the post didn't validate the flag until I was explicitly told so. I would prefer for this behavior to be changed, so that deleting a post flagged as spam/offensive does validate the flag.
However, this does raise the issue of posts that have both a not-an-answer or very-low-quality and a spam or offensive flag, when the post is deletion-worthy but not spam or offensive (it's just a nonsensical, off-topic or should-have-been-a-comment post). There should be a way to invalidate the spam/offensive flags while not invalidating the not-an-answer/very-low-quality flags.
My request is twofold:
- I would prefer for deletion to validate the spam/offensive flag, with a way to specifically invalidate the flags if they are not warranted. If it doesn't, then please permit casting a spam/offensive flag from the moderator dashboard.
- In any case, the guidance that appears to moderators should clearly document how to handle the three scenarios:
- the post is spam/offensive → currently: the moderator must flag the post as spam/offensive (this can't be done from the dashboard)
- the post should be deleted but is not spam/offensive → currently: just delete the post
- the post shouldn't be deleted → dismiss the flags
For reference, this is the guidance that currently appears next to spam/offensive flags:
Posts flagged as offensive or spam do not necessarily require action!
If any post reaches 6 flags, it is automatically removed from the system.
Flags will automatically and harmlessly age away after 2 days if they fail to reach the threshold in that time.
¹ TL ref (♦ only)
(Note that I completely rewrote this post, because it turns out that my expectations as to what would happen were wildly off the mark.)