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Last month, the flag limits got an increase based on reputation points:

In order to encourage more flagging, we have increased the number of general moderator flags available to 10 per day, plus one per every 1k of reputation, up to a maximum of 100. So if you have 15k reputation, you now have 25 moderator flags to use each day as you see fit. The existing spam and offensive flag allocation of 5 per day has not changed.

As an experiment, for the past few days I've been going to the review page and browsing for a short while. I found that I can invariably find more posts that need attention than I can flag. Mostly these are non-answers found in the "late answers" tab.

My guess is that any user can reach the flag limit in roughly 2 * n minutes or (much) less, where n = number of flags available. I think this is unfortunate, given that our moderators seem to be doing a great job taking care of flags.

Note that I'm lacking some insight as to how important flags are to the moderation process. If there are any statistics on the volume of valid flags requiring moderator action vs. the volume of moderator actions without flags, it would help answer this question. I'm trying to get an idea of how much flags are helping, and potentially how much more they could be helping.

I like an idea in another question which addressed flag limits. I understand that the newly-implemented flag limits are already merit-based. However, I ask:

  1. How many users actually use all their flags?
  2. Is reputation alone really a good metric by which flag limits should be set? (See item 1.)

My point with these questions is: Given that flags are useful to moderators, users with 10 flags per day who regularly flag 10 posts which legitimately require attention are helping the moderation process much more than users with 25 or even 50 flags who only flag every once in a while (however rare these users may, in reality, be-- I'm not trying to say that the additional flags go unused).

Furthermore, one moderator has expressed in a comment that:

We'd rather have too many flags than not enough.

Especially considering that point, I think it would be a good idea to supplement the new flagging limits with a multiplier based on the "flagging reliability" metric (which was also mentioned in the announcement about the new limits). I understand that this is now already used in weighting flags in the moderator queue, but would it be appropriate to apply flag reliability to the flagging limits as well?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 62 down vote accepted

Until a few days ago, the calculation was:

  • default 10 per day
  • one bonus flag per 1000 reputation
  • maximum 100

But we have now tweaked this to consider previous flagging history: flags by people who flag well are OK


  • default 10 per day
  • one bonus flag per 2000 reputation
  • one bonus flag per 20 "flag weight" above the default
  • maximum 100

Which then demands the question: what is flag weight?

Simply: it is the way we order flagged posts. Flags by known-good flaggers get seen first. This information is shown on your own profile if it is interesting (not too close the the default, i.e. you've done something worth showing), but basically:

  • start at 100
  • +10 for a flagged post (+5 for a comment) that we did something about (or was basically valid)
  • -10 for a flagged post (-5 for a comment) that we suppressed as invalid
  • min 0, max 750 (but non-linear above 500)
  • IMPORTANT CHANGE - if you flag so consistently badly that you reach 0 weight, flags will be suppressed

If your flag weight is getting low you can quickly recover it simply by flagging sensibly. "I disagree with this" is a bad reason to flag, as is adding a moderator-message to say "plz answer post is urgent mail me".

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Hm... so I have 37 flags. 10 default, plus 10-11 for the new 2k limit (depending on whether it updates my flags for my rep throughout the day, I imagine not though). That leaves around 16-17 points for the flag weight. Looks like we now have a method for people to determine their flag weight. ♪ (Huh... have I really cast so many mod flags here?) –  Grace Note Feb 21 '11 at 21:09
Thanks for the update on this. I noticed the numbers had changed a few days ago; figured some info was coming soon. Good stuff. –  Jason Plank Feb 21 '11 at 21:17
I totally agree with this. @Marc is my hero – Pekka 37 mins ago Next time leave a comment @Pekka they're there for a reason –  Ivo Flipse Feb 21 '11 at 21:47
@Grace or easier... Wait for the next build –  Marc Gravell Feb 21 '11 at 22:11
I was wondering why my flags jumped up 5. I guess I'm flagging OK. –  John Feb 22 '11 at 5:09
Will the flag weight be visible on all sites eventually? Is there a minimum rep? So far I can only see it on SO. –  Jeff Mercado Feb 22 '11 at 7:31
@JeffM at the moment we only show it if it outside a middle band –  Marc Gravell Feb 22 '11 at 7:40
An enthusiastic +1, since this solves two of my problems: frequently running out of flags and worrying about whether my flags were considered welcome. It's too bad that displaying flag weight pretty much kills my Vexillolophile badge suggestion, though. –  Pops Feb 22 '11 at 18:48
@Ivo I was joking. And testing the flag weight feature of course. (to no avail, seeing as one bad flag isn't enough for the weight to show up in the profile) :) –  Pëkka Feb 22 '11 at 19:11
@George: I think he meant the other way around, as in if you flag your own question asking for a quick answer from the moderators via email. –  ho1 Feb 22 '11 at 21:24
Is my maths failing me or should the MAX be = 10 (default) + 50 (rep) + 20 (weight) = 80? –  RichardTheKiwi Feb 23 '11 at 20:11
Since bad flags cause work for Mods and should only be used when the user is pretty certain it's correct to flag, I'd say adjust the weight by +2/-10 for good/bad flagging. Right now, you won't lose any flag weight even if half of your flags are bad. Isn't that the kind of flagging behavior this was trying to suppress? –  yhw42 Feb 25 '11 at 14:22
@Marc, can the Community user be made exempt from the 0 flag weight suppression? It's getting perilously close to 0 on SO. I think some of its flagging algorithms need to be tweaked as well. :) –  Bill the Lizard Mar 12 '11 at 18:08
@Bill actually, when Community flags something it uses an inbuilt constant weight. Still worth doing though. –  Marc Gravell Mar 12 '11 at 18:35
This looks like it needs updating, since flag weight is now gone. –  jrg Mar 5 '12 at 14:54

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