Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 153 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

At the moment, we currently do not provide moderators any visibility into who casts spam and offensive flags. The official reasoning for this is explained in this answer from Shog9. This is kind of hard-rooted at the moment. They do have the ability to see the spam/offensive flag history of a user, but this is only shown when already looking at the user. Thus it would be for confirming suspicions and not finding someone.

Let us take the quote from Jeff Atwood there - we get the names for moderator attention flags so that, if necessary, a dialogue can be established. This is really the root of when we ever attach names to things - when it's usable to do stuff.

I'd like to suggest that in cases where a user is submitting a large number of declined spam and offensive flags, that the moderators have some ability to be told of this information and who is behind it. Example trigger conditions could be a significant number of spam/offensive flags declined within a 30 day period. This kind of aggregation of bad flags is exactly the kind of thing which would spur contact between moderator and user to correct the behavior (much like how we presented flag weight back before it came public), but at the moment there's no way for the moderators to be informed who would be behind it. They'd just have to deal with mountains of bad flags, which is a major hindrance to sites with such large flag volume that spam flags can't always be left to timeout.

share|improve this question
Have we hit this with the science hammer yet? Anecdotally, the number of spam flags that I see in the flag queue is a tiny percentage of the overall number of flags, although the proportion of misuses is probably a higher percentage than it should be. – Robert Harvey Dec 17 '12 at 16:47
@Robert Part of this is to actually science this. Reports from some moderators indicate that there has been a problematic number of bad spam flags for an extended period of time. My hope is that by analyzing this kind of statistic (which we'd do before designing and implementing it anyway), we'd be able to determine if there is anyone that's being particularly abusive enough. It's totally the motto of my previous employ, but "The Proof is in the Process". – Grace Note Dec 17 '12 at 16:51
You could probably decrease the percentage of bad spam flags by adding the words "Unsolicited Commercial Advertisement" to the Spam option in the flagging dialog. Most misuses are caused by people who think "Spam" and "Noise" mean the same thing. Also, some people don't get their erroneous spam flag declined because there's a legitimate flag also attached to the post, and you can't decline the spam flag individually. – Robert Harvey Dec 17 '12 at 16:53
@RobertHarvey I think you're trying to technology a people problem. We know that can't be done. – jcolebrand Dec 17 '12 at 17:07
@jcolebrand Robert Harvey's not incorrect on this. The amount of times we've had to have the "What is considered spam?" discussion on this network is larger than I'd like. – Grace Note Dec 17 '12 at 17:12
Trivia: there've been 2095 spam flags on Stack Overflow in the past month, out of which 2003 are currently attached to deleted posts. (not all of these were moderator-handled, and not all of the deleted posts were spam-deleted) – Shog9 Dec 17 '12 at 17:13
@Shog9 Is that including multiple flags on singular posts? – Grace Note Dec 17 '12 at 17:13
@GraceNote: yes. Looks like 1419 distinct posts involved. – Shog9 Dec 17 '12 at 17:14
I just think that there are a lot of folks who will always flag it as X without bothering to read X. I see it often enough to be a curiousity on dba. – jcolebrand Dec 17 '12 at 17:17

I think that there should be a list with users that

  • At least 10 Rejected Flags
  • Over 60% of their flags are rejected

This would be helpful to allow moderators to see problematic users. It might also be a good idea to add a special note to flags that are proposed by a user with a recent history of bad flags. Then further investigation could be prompted.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .