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When a message is flagged for moderator attention, it gets highlighted in the top menu which is awesome. I have seen cases though where the post in particular was deleted by the original poster, but the alert still stays? Should it not be the case that the highlight/alert only shows for active posts?

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After more consideration, I think we now agree with you here; the default behaviour now is for the flags to evaporate. You were ahead of us here ;p – Marc Gravell Apr 13 '11 at 6:44
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As noted (comments), we've changed our outlook here; if a post is deleted (via any mechanism) the moderator flags are dismissed - there isn't generally anything left to do. If a deleted post is later flagged, however, that is preserved.

Original answer:

This only applies to moderator flags (spam/offensive flags evaporate with deletion). This serves uses: since moderator flags are typically things beyond the norm, it is not reliable to assume that they no longer apply just because the post is deleted.

When the new moderator dashboard ships, this should be improved:

  • we now explicitly track the fact that you have visited a troubled post, and visited posts appear differently in the UI (so you can quickly skim)
  • we show the moderation history of individual posts directly in the dashboard, so you can see that it was intentionally deleted by a moderator (as opposed to deleted by the angry horde, in which case the mod-flag might be "deleted inappropriately")
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I think that there is a lot of utility in keeping flags on deleted posts. Primarily for tracking purposes. That said, people are also allowed to flag deleted posts directly. It rarely happens but isn't something I think is necessary to prune.

Flags on deleted content are primarily useful for trend analysis. Namely, you can spot if a particular post earned a lot of flags, or you might recognize that a certain user has been flagged for the umpteenth time. The presence of moderator flags can sometimes help identify what may have been particularly egregious cases of content amidst a sea of things that were deleted for smaller reasons.

Basically, it does what the flag is supposed to do: place the post on your radar to note that something was reported. It sometimes indicates that action needs to be done by the moderator, but sometimes it serves the purpose of just bringing attention to the event. And for that, I find it is useful to keep flags on posts that were deleted. It's a lot faster to see it through that console (complete with flag comments on what the problem was) than to sift the "recently deleted" list when I first log in every morning.

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I'm not saying to remove flags on deleted posts -- quite the opposite (I'd rather keep it flagged in case it was self deleted/undeleted) - I only want be alerted about flags on live posts. I suspect it'd turn into an additional join clause in the SQL to determine the count. I'd suggest that flags on both live and deleted posts should both show on the dashboard – Rowland Shaw Nov 12 '10 at 14:01
@Rowland I think that because people can flag deleted posts, and because I'm not always on the dashboard, that being alerted of flags on deleted posts remains useful. I like the immediacy of knowledge, personally. Even without flags, I can still sift the "recently deleted" list. But flags lets me know what people thought was important to note, and that's something I prefer to be alerted of at all times. – Grace Note Nov 12 '10 at 14:06
Normally I manually delete a flag after I dealt with it, so in that sense, it doesn't serve a purpose as a tracking tool. So I see no reason to keep it around – Ivo Flipse Nov 13 '10 at 9:49

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