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There are times when users flag a question/answer with a non-standard reason. Sometimes it is not clear to me that such a flag is valid; though I don't feel comfortable making that decision myself. But I feel that it is bad form to just let it be and dump it on the next moderator who looks at the list of flags.

Sometimes I also see flags that have been viewed by all other mods on the site, and yet no action (either on doing something to the post or dismissing the flag) is taken. And at those times I often wonder why that is the case.

Question Can we support something in the moderator tools to allow mods who have viewed a flagged question to (optionally) leave a comment about why they have chosen to not take any action (by taking action I include dismissing the flag as helpful/noise with no further action on the post)? I think this can help with the efficiency and ease of moderation (so I don't have to dig up the e-mail of all the moderators if I wanted to see what they think about a situation and why they haven't done anything about it), and can help lead to more uniform moderation policies.

(I have in mind something like how users with sufficiently high rep can view flags and help handle them by deeming flags invalid, but with a bit more freedom in making comments.)

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While I understand minus votes on meta for unnecessary feature-requests, I'd still like to see some comment/answer like Fabian's on what other options there are that is available within the system... – Willie Wong Oct 19 '11 at 13:57
up vote 10 down vote accepted

You can add an explanation by raising another flag on that post, though that is something of misuse of the flagging system.

The way we're doing this on Skeptics is by having a moderator-only chat room to discuss stuff that shouldn't be public. As flags are private this is one of the main uses of that room to discuss flags where we're not sure on how to proceed.

If it is time-sensitive you can always @notify the other mods and they'll get it in their inbox. Chat also preserves the discussion, so any mod can easily see what the others have said about the topic earlier.

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It's not just Skeptics, many sites have a private chatroom for moderators. If there's been no action in the room for a long time, use the @@ notification to make sure the other mods get pinged. – Gilles Oct 16 '11 at 13:28
There's also the general SE mod chatroom if your site's mods are into that sort of thing. – Adam Oct 16 '11 at 15:35
This works fine, except there's nothing to stop another mod from clearing the flag and then checking their inbox and realizing it was under discussion – Michael Mrozek Oct 17 '11 at 0:53
@Anna: the problem with the general SE mod chatroom is that it has too much traffic for this purpose. The Math mods tend not to be online at the same time. In the mean time, I've taken Fabian's suggestion; whether it works well still has to be seen. – Willie Wong Oct 19 '11 at 13:55
@WillieWong Yeah, definitely. Programmers mods tend to be online a lot around the same time, so it works for us, but if you have time differences a separate room is definitely better. – Adam Oct 19 '11 at 14:12

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