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There seems to be an issue with helpful flags. I have read several posts in the past couple weeks regarding why a flag was disputed. The response is always the same: even if a post should be flagged, that doesn't mean you used the right one.

I propose a badge to incentivize helpful flagging. My idea is this: if a user has 94% helpful flags of more than 200 flags, award a gold (silver?) badge.

The percentage varies based off my yet-unanswered question regarding flag statistics. This number should isolate at least the top 0.5 or 1%. The minimum number of flags should be large enough to keep this value statistically significant. (Note: this means my numbers are just a guess.)

This promotes helpful flags in several ways:

  • Users whose flags are rejected have reason to consider why in more detail
  • Users have a goal to strive towards in terms of flag effectiveness
  • It encourages users to actually flag bad posts, instead of ignoring them
  • It sets up an implicit penalty for bad flags: the badge being harder to attain
  • It encourages quality in quantity; new users flag more, and aim to flag helpfully
  • Even badge hunters would still have to pay attention to the way they flag
  • It encourages users to consider why, in particular, they are flagging a post

This is different from the Marshall badge in a couple key ways:

  • New users can more easily strive for this badge over the Marshall badge, further encouraging good flagging
  • There is no penalty for bad flags in Marshall; thus, it solely encourages quantity, not quality

Ultimately, we want to encourage proper use of flagging. By creating this badge, users would be further driven to consider what, exactly, they are flagging for, and whether or not it is truly needed. It would also encourage newcomers to learn what good posts are, so they will strive to identify them, ultimately leading to both better post and flag quality.

As pointed out by Lance Roberts, incentivizing needs feedback. I would suggest - though this I am more unsure about, putting a private flag acceptance ratio on the user profile page. Thoughts?

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So you basically want the flag weight to be shown again? – Mysticial Jan 17 '13 at 0:22
No, since flag weight doesn't need to be displayed for this badge to take effect. I think flag weight is best hidden. – Emrakul Jan 17 '13 at 0:24
Well, we haven't seen any mods complaining about crappy flaggers. So is it really a problem to begin with? – Mysticial Jan 17 '13 at 0:27
@Mysticial: Oh, we complain about it all the time. Just not out in the open, as we are bound to an agreement to not reveal stuff we see that the normal user (with full privileges) can't see. Users who routinely abuse flags get messaged, and even suspended for it. – Won't Jan 17 '13 at 16:02
up vote 4 down vote accepted

How about we create a number that would take into account helpful vs unhelpful flags, and display it to the users so they can really strive for the badge?

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Humor aside, incentivization takes feedback. – Lance Roberts Jan 17 '13 at 0:27
What about a private link next to helpful flags showing flag ratio? Private, but it would draw peoples' attention to it. – Emrakul Jan 17 '13 at 0:31
I think the problem people had with flag weight wasn't others seeing it, but by them seeing it they (meaning me also) got really bummed out when one turned down flag caused a huge amount of loss. Personally, I think the problem was the flag weight algorithm, but most people ended up hating the concept, which is why they just went to helpful flag count for badges. – Lance Roberts Jan 17 '13 at 0:35
A fair point. I suppose I would too. Instead, what about a badge progress bar on the side of the flags page? – Emrakul Jan 17 '13 at 0:38
Personally, I think a percentage would be fine, with no decimal places. Which would be equivalent to a progress bar. – Lance Roberts Jan 17 '13 at 1:31

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