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For those not familiar with moderator messages, see http://meta.stackexchange.com/a/119106/147015:

Sending a mod message (whether suspension is included or not) puts a permanent mark / annotation on the user's account as well as notifies the other moderators on the site and several Stack Exchange employees. Do not use it to respond to the user's flags or for other non-serious issues.

However, there are cases where you really want to inform a user about something but he's not reading e.g. the flag rejection reason or a comment on a post. An example for such a case would be continuous flagging posts in an incorrect but most likely well-meant way.

Right now the possibilities in such a case are limited:

  • private email - almost always considered inappropriate
  • private message - taints the user's account with a big red "this user has been contacted by a moderator" icon
  • chat super-ping - not everyone uses the chat, besides there might be users who don't check their notifications
  • public comment - as mentioned above, he might not read it; besides that, responses to flags on a completely unrelated post are kind of off-topic and confusing other people
  • declining all their (wrong) flags with the same message - user won't see that unless he checks his flags page

My suggestion is to add a checkbox "Not a serious infraction" when contacting a user via mod message which would not cause the big red icon but a different one. The messages should still be shown in all moderator's notification windows and also be somehow shown when viewing the user's profile as a moderator - just not in the "this user did something bad" way.

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Maybe add it to the flag count? That count's already there but not urgent –  Ben Brocka Jun 29 '12 at 13:49
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Or you know, just notify the user through the inbox that their flags are being declined so they'll shut up with their flags. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 29 '12 at 13:49
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Sounds like if they're ignoring you via chat pings, declined flags and comments, then they're up to point of needing a taint –  random Jun 29 '12 at 14:12
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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'd rather we not contact a user via Mod message unless it's really necessary.

Contacting a user in a manual way is always going to take more time, and the benefit is not more than simply automating something to alert them when They're Doing Something Wrong™.

We have reasons to decline, and if there are more reasons to be added, then we should have the ability to add them (as drop downs). Keeping in mind, of course, that we don't want a giant list of reasons to decline a flag.

I don't care if a user doesn't check their flags, personally: With the system the way it is, the more they flag badly, the less likely the system is to trust them. If it's not already that way (though I believe it is), then it should be.

In short, with a few tweaks to the flag decline reasons, it's a self correcting problem.

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Plus we want moderator messages to stand out. If users are routinely messages by mods, messages for actual infractions don't have as much impact and may be ignored. –  Anna Lear Jun 29 '12 at 14:04
    
It still is that way. Flag weight is very much alive, just hiding from us. –  Manishearth Jun 29 '12 at 15:07
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The description of messaging in the mod menu is:

Contact this user directly via private message to address serious behavior problems

Having a "this isn't serious" checkbox seems rather contradictory. SE really only wants it used for big problems; Jeff used to savage people who used it for minor matters. If you want to message a user privately, you can contact them through chat (a pain-free process!)

Edit: I just realized you mentioned that case. They get the notification even if they've never used chat before; I don't think users ignoring their notifications is a common problem

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I tend to agree with Michael and George here - if the user's ignoring comment notifications, chat pings, and declined flags... Well, either the matter isn't serious enough to bother them further, or it's serious enough to warrant a mod message.

Which they'll then also ignore.

Some men you just can't reach...

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