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I realize both flag types mean something completely different, but do we really need to have a separate flag type for them?

Both seem to have the precise same effect (effects of spam flag effects of offensive), in both cases the flagged posts need to be removed from the site as soon as possible, and I'm sure all high-rep users / moderators that check one type also check the other type.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'll quote myself regarding Jeff's explanation for two separate types.

[...] Jeff's plan according to a blog post was that in the future posts that are highlighted as spam will be used to help construct better measures to protect against spam.

How far along this has come is unknown. What we do have is that there are records of what is flagged as spam versus what is flagged as offensive, which are possible for trend analysis. This is basically the primary reason why there are two types.

This is the Jeff quote I referred to. It's technically a comment on a blog post moreso than a blog post, but I made a mistake in the original statement. In any case, humorously it was posted specifically to respond to a question just like this one.

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+1 That's what I was looking for and couldn't find. – Jon Seigel Dec 27 '10 at 18:26

I realize both flag types mean something completely different, but do we really need to have a separate flag type for them?

I think this kind of answers your own question.

Having distinct options is a really simple/lightweight way for a human to give feedback to the system as to why the post needs attention.

While there currently isn't a different net result from an end user perspective, it's becoming valuable information for upcoming data mining activities. Of course, there is a certain amount of noise in the system, which should be reduced as much as possible, including encouraging users to think and pick the closest option as opposed to simply always picking one or the other.

By the way, spam and offensive flags appear in the same list in the mod tools, while the "moderator attention" flags appear in a separate area.

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