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Would a flag be useful for discreet questions?

Say you wanted to highlight bad behavior that can't be flagged (say serial anonymous down voting), you can either email the team or post a public question here.

However, you'll have to mention a user name. What if you're wrong? Or you're correct but the user takes offense and decides to have some revenge?

Would it make sense to have a flag so allow sensitive questions? It may also reduce email flowing to the, and would allow moderators to share information.

Edit: to clarify: "flag" not "tag"

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you are discussing a specific event / user, then don't post on MSO; use the flag for moderator, or e-mail the team.

If you are having general discussion about user-interaction, then MSO with the discussion tag should be fine.

It is interesting... and indeed "we" have recently been discussing (off-forum) how we handle moderator collaboration. Thinking aloud, the problem with just a flag or tag (with an access check) is that even if it is impossible to get it wrong there would be a lot of places to check that the data isn't being exposed... which could be painful

  • search
  • rss
  • data dump
  • "new post" outputs
    • home page
    • IRC bot?
  • user stats page
  • auto-suggest when asking questions
  • "related" panel
  • ?does the captcha use text from the site?
  • 10k rep "tools" pages
  • etc

So I'm not sure that a regular question (with a flag) is the safest option if privacy is important. I'm not convinced that we see enough of this to make it really necessary to do much extra to secure it (against the above). In most cases a moderator flag will get our attention, with the e-mail as backup (and for longer questions).

Or another way: is there a specific scenario you want to "fix", that doesn't work (well) with the existing processes?

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I do mean "flag" not "tag": as an actual boolean column in a table – gbn Jul 12 '09 at 10:11
OK; clarified wording - but I don't think the difference between a flag and a tag changes much in terms of the places that might need revision. – Marc Gravell Jul 12 '09 at 10:15
I never expected it to be simple... and it was my earlier email that inspired my question. – gbn Jul 12 '09 at 12:30
If you set up (it already exists, Jeff has an account and can create them for you) to monitor the email address that people email when they "send stuff to the team" then you'd know who was currently working on the case. If one of the mods couldn't deal with it, it could be assigned to Jeff and you could track the history so you'd know what was going on. – Michael Pryor Jul 12 '09 at 18:33

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