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The Stack Overflow moderator queue works really well when there's only one moderator clearing flags. Once you get two or more moderators clearing flags at the same time, things get jumbled. Here's what I mean:

  • When closing questions, you get a dialog that says, "This question has already been closed, please refresh status."

  • When you clear comment flags, there's no indication the flag has already been handled. If I click 'dismiss' or 'delete' on a comment flag, it goes away, regardless as to whether I handled it or someone else handled while it was still showing in my queue.

  • When clearing 'not an answer' flag, either by marking as helpful and trying to delete them, or trying to decline them, there's no indication in my queue when someone else handles them before I have a chance to.

All these problems center around the same issue: Two moderators could be clearing the same posts at the same time and wouldn't realize it until they took specific actions (closing a question, for example).

I literally had a few instances recently where I thought I was clearing flags, only to realize another moderator was handling those flags at the same time and 'got the credit' (hey, you do measure us on how many flags we handle). It's led to... frustration.

Please make the moderator queue on Stack Overflow more useful for multiple moderators.

  • automatically clear posts from the queue when they've been handled, using the same push notifications in use for the rest of the site

  • If the system notes that multiple moderators are handling flags, perhaps splitting up the flags between the moderators?

  • Put a box in the right side of the moderator queue page showing which moderators are actively handling/clearing flags. Right now we have to go to the main moderator page to see that.

  • Make the moderator queue page faster. It takes a good amount of time to load compared to the rest of the site, and I've had it happen that by the time it's loaded, another moderator has already cleared 10-15 flags that show up at the top of the queue.

I recognize that we're a small demographic, and when you count that it's probably only the Trilogy that gets this many flags in a day (and none as many as SO gets), it gets even smaller; but these problems I list are daily frustrations for moderators.

It's gotten to the point where sometimes I'll just jump a few pages and hope another moderator doesn't do the same.

Please include your suggestions for how the moderator queue page can be improved.

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6  
THIS. Especially the push notifications. –  ThiefMaster May 8 '13 at 12:59
    
Consider posting this in The Teachers Lounge (and any other mod-only rooms) to get some more suggestions (if you haven't already). –  tombull89 May 8 '13 at 13:04
    
Please note, I'm not asking for modal notifications, for deletions or dismissals to say, "This flag has already been cleared", that just slows us down because we have to click another box to proceed. I'm really interested in features that speed us up, like push notification style features being added to the queue. –  George Stocker May 8 '13 at 13:07
    
It just happened again. Gordon went to delete an answer that I cleared the flag on (to comment on it, instead of deletion), and when I visited the page after clearing the flag, it showed that he had already deleted the post. And this was with only 2 flags in the queue. –  George Stocker May 8 '13 at 13:10
    
@ThiefMaster: Push notifications? –  BoltClock's a Unicorn May 8 '13 at 13:24
    
@tombull89: TL has a feedbot for [moderator-tools] questions. –  Manishearth May 8 '13 at 13:27
    
I've tended to back off a bit if someone else is obviously on a run. One point about push notifications: how do you avoid the problem where the posts under the mouse changes just before you hit delete causing the wrong one to get whacked? –  Flexo May 8 '13 at 15:37
    
@Flexo I imagine the animation logic would be for it to go 'grey' for a second (and the button become un-clickable), and then another half second it would fade away (or collapse). That way it wouldn't disappear immediately, giving you a chance to realize someone else just cleared it. –  George Stocker May 8 '13 at 16:20
    
To be honest, not even on SU this is a problem—we rarely get more than 8 or 10 unhandled flags. –  slhck May 9 '13 at 9:57

1 Answer 1

Another not completely new idea is to change the order of flags for each moderator. So that if several moderators work the queue simultaneously and start from the top of the queue, they'll act on different flags.

The idea of flag weight is vastly overrated anyway and doesn't really help to put the most urgent flags on top. So a completely random, but stable sorting (maybe with an optional way to only show flags of a specific type) would not be a step backwards in my opinion.

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3  
I would approve of this only if the order was kept between pages. I clear a page of flags, the order of the next page has to be consistent with the order of the previous page. –  casperOne May 8 '13 at 13:09
    
So just seed a random number generator with the mod's ID or something along those lines. –  Servy May 8 '13 at 14:08
3  
Wouldn't this work counter to the flag weight of users that we currently rely on to order flags? It seems like you'd have to have one or the other in terms of ordering. –  Brad Larson May 8 '13 at 14:23

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