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Moderators have a floating div at the bottom of every question page:

collider (note this comment is not flagged, the screenshot is from dev)

Today, I discovered the left and right buttons (navigate to next flag and previous flag) are utterly broken. The intention was for them to quickly take you to the next flagged post, however ... caching problem (which we are fixing)

This leads me to believe that this function is not being used that much by mods, cause there would have been a bug reported with lots of votes if it was.

Why is this functionality not used that much? What can we do to improve it?

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On a personal level, the transparency drives me mad ... so mad that I avoid using it. But I assume I am alone on that ... and just a bit, how do you say it... strange –  waffles Jun 10 '11 at 3:08
    
Not a mod, but I don't actually see any left/right buttons—unless they're not in the screenshot, maybe mods can't find the buttons? –  waiwai933 Jun 10 '11 at 3:10
    
@waiwai933 yeah you have to hover on the area for the transparency to go away and the left/right buttons to appear. –  waffles Jun 10 '11 at 3:11
    
s'pose I'd better fix them buttons... –  Marc Gravell Jun 10 '11 at 5:30
    
I'd write my own answer, but really, I'm with the Michael M.s. Like the one, I do a lot of my work straight from the dashboard and am also a bit biased from early experiences of it redirecting you oddly (which I did report a particular issue with it to Marc Gravell and that one did function), and I also am picky about only visiting flags when I'm comfortable that I can actually lend some insight onto it. –  Grace Note Jun 10 '11 at 11:51

7 Answers 7

I used it maybe once or twice when it was first pushed. Don't even remember whether it worked or not.

The main reason I didn't want to use it is that I only want to visit flags that I think I'll be able to resolve (some require more time or more familiarity with the situation).

I don't want to just visit every flag because if in fact I do not or cannot resolve it, my avatar appears on the list of moderators who visited. I can't speak for the other mods, but when I see a flag with a long list of mod avatars, I usually ignore it, assuming one of the others is taking care of it. Either that or it's going to require more than the two minutes I was going to give it.

So I never got in the habit of using the floaty thingy, and since that time I don't think I've even given it a thought.

I'll try it out again and see how it feels; those were only minor complaints, so a smoother experience would be enough to make me switch.

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+1 for the "only look at flags I can reasonably deal with". When I have more time, I tend to check questions already reviewed by other mods. If there were no recent mod views, I assume I'm free to either clear the flag or nobody has any idea what to do with the question and it's time to ping people in chat. –  Anna Lear Jun 10 '11 at 5:16

Had no idea if it was going to the previous/next flagged post or if it was a post that may not even have a flag at all.

Don't care for such blind and wild navigation. For jumping to posts with flags, the dashboard was good enough.

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Pretty much sums up why I don't use it either. –  Sathya Jun 10 '11 at 4:32
    
Yep, this is pretty much why I don't use as well. –  Kev Jun 10 '11 at 7:58

Why is this functionality not used that much?

It had a habit of taking me back to the same post I was just on. I suppose in hindsight that was obviously a , but at the time I thought it was intentional in an annoying way, so I just stopped using it and stuck with jumping to each post from the flag list. I get the impression mods on sites like SO that have spectacular volumes of flags just do everything from the flag list; Will in particular has a number of s to add features to the flag list so he never needs to go to the post directly

What can we do to improve it?

Make it not do that anymore

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in general do you use the function ... are you happy with the way it works –  waffles Jun 10 '11 at 3:23
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@waffles We don't get enough flags for it to really matter; the most I've ever seen simultaneously is 4, so I usually just open all four posts in four separate tabs. I would think sites with a higher flag volume would love it, but (I just edited it into my answer) they seem to prefer doing everything from the flag list directly. I do like that the flag is visible on the post page directly, but navigating to the next flag isn't a big concern –  Michael Mrozek Jun 10 '11 at 3:25
    
My workflow is the same as @Michael's - I just open up all the flags in separate tabs, then go through and deal with each flag and close its tab when I'm done. Much simpler conceptually than navigating between each one using the arrows. –  Kyle Cronin Jun 10 '11 at 3:42

Personally, the Moderator Floaty Question Flag Collider-Actionator™ is a nuisance: my memory might be bad, but it's good enough to remember what the flag was about in the half a second it took me to go from the mod dashboard to the question.

On top of that, most mod actions clear the flag when we take an action, and we can perform many mod actions directly from the dashboard, obviating the need for the quick access functions in the Moderator Floaty Question Flag Collider-Actionator™.

So banner blindness kicks in and it's something to avoid looking at when I'm dealing with flags. I can just click on mod in the toolbar if I want to see what other flags need dealing with.

So my suggestion for improvement would be to make it so I can turn it off. :)

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"it's good enough to remember what the flag was about in the half a second it took me to go from the mod dashboard to the question." -- see, I like it for exactly the opposite reason :). I open all the flags at once and then start going through each tab, so it's nice that each post has the flag message printed along the bottom –  Michael Mrozek Jun 10 '11 at 3:27
    
@Michael ah, yeah: I prefer to deal with one flag at a time, and in most cases, it's pretty obvious as to why the question is flagged when I get there, so I don't need something taking up the bottom portion of the screen to tell me "Why does scrum suck?" is not constructive. –  user149432 Jun 10 '11 at 3:31
    
The MFQFCA is very useful for comment flags and exact duplicates. Useful for answer flags, as well. Not that useful for other question flags, but hardly harmful either. –  Gilles Jun 10 '11 at 7:23
    
@Gilles Nobody said it was harmful. We were asked why we're not using it. You should leave an answer explaining how you use it if you think it's important. –  user149432 Jun 10 '11 at 8:00
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We often get multiple flags on a page, for example when multiple "answers" get flagged for being "thanks" or "me too" responses. The floaty is nice in those cases because it allows us to deal with all the flags without leaving the page. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 10 '11 at 11:17

Consider replacing the floating actionator with the flag and some new mod links placed directly on the post page, like this:

enter image description here

Clicking the No Action Needed would open the usual "Dismiss Flags" box. Clicking the previous and next links would navigate between posts in the mod queue.

This works because I've been using the existing links forever; they have stood the test of time and the pounding of countless users. And I don't have to learn a new skill to make it work.

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I way prefer this approach ... however there are a few caveats ... comment flags are a big problem and the ability to see the flag message –  waffles Jun 10 '11 at 4:56
    
Ah, yes. Would need an additional space to display those things. The entire flag (exactly as it is shown in the mod queue) can go between the top line of links and the new links. The remaining part of the page can simply push down. –  Robert Harvey Jun 10 '11 at 5:03
    
I would be willing to live without the comment flags in this mode, if it is too difficult to do. Jumping from post to post like this has the highest usefulness when navigating question flags. The answer flags and the comment flags can be handled much more easily in the mod queue than can question flags (although with the newest mod queue improvements, handling questions within the queue has gotten much better). –  Robert Harvey Jun 10 '11 at 5:25

Here's a closer view of what I'm seeing in Firefox.

Next Question

The narrow white bar (normally dark gray) to the right of the close button is the "Next Question" bar. I got the tooltip because I hovered my mouse over it, which I had never done before just a moment ago. These blank navigation bars appear all the way at the bottom edges of my browser window, so I never noticed them before.

Left and right arrow icons indicating that these were controls of some kind might have caught my attention. I'd definitely use these now that I know about them. I do normally work the queue from top down, so just hitting Next would be easier than scrolling back to the top and reloading the queue.

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I just tested firefox 4 and the arrow is visible, which ff are you using on which os? also thoughts on the transparency am I being a drama queen complaining about it? –  waffles Jun 10 '11 at 4:05
    
@waffles: I'm on Firefox 4 on Windows Vista Home Premium, but I use XP at work and never noticed any arrows there either. This is with or without hovering over the div. The transparency doesn't really bother me much, but I do get annoyed occasionally when the div blocks the footer links. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 10 '11 at 4:12
    
@waffles I'd never noticed that previous/next feature. I think I remember seeing the white bar that Bill shows (and not knowing clicking on it was meaningful), but we rarely have multiple flags on my site, so I wouldn't rarely see it, and it could be my memory playing tricks. –  Gilles Jun 10 '11 at 7:22
    
@waffles: On a different computer now, I do see the arrows in FF on XP. I don't know if you changed something, or if I'm just not very observant. –  Bill the Lizard Jun 10 '11 at 14:28

The flag queue is much faster and easier to use.

The only time I ever see the floaty is when I click open the post from the flag queue. I usually ignore the floaty, because I know I'll have to return to the queue in order to act, so that the flag is removed from the queue. If I act using the floaty, I still have to clear the flag from the queue to get it out of the way.

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